Aging Starts At 29! Are You Ready? Here's What You Need to Know
There is a magic number that many skincare experts agree upon as the time that a person starts aging. “The aging process starts around 29,” Joanna Czech, the esthetician behind Cate Blanchett, Kate Winslet, and Christy Turlington’s skin told us. That number surprised even us, so we asked a variety of other experts—Renee Rouleau, Dr. Harold Lancer—and, even more shockingly, we got the same answer. “That’s about the age that collagen fibers start losing their elasticity,” Czech says.
It turns out, 29 is the generally-accepted number that marks the beginning of the aging process. Of course, lifestyle and genetics, as well as diet and sun protection, can change everything—and so can a good skincare routine.
If you're worried about aging, but aren’t sure about what you should do, let our slideshow guide you. We’ve outlined the accumulation of our skincare knowledge as editors, with the most important products you need, ingredients to look for, and the steps to combat aging, no matter your proximity to the magic number.
There is a beauty myth that says it’s best to not wash your face in the morning, because skipping cleanser will allegedly help keep your skin hydrated. Numerous experts, including Rouleau, assure us that is not the best practice in an effective routine. You need to cleanse in the morning to remove residue from the products you apply at night, she says. If you’re worried about drying out your skin, try using a cream or oil cleanser in the morning. If not, a basic gel face wash is your best bet.
You already know why a day cream is important: hydration! Smooth on a formula suited for your skin type approximately 10 minutes after applying serum to keep your skin moisturized and soft. We like Clarins' Extra-Firming Day Cream ($84) for dry and normal skin, and Kate Somerville’s Oil Free Moisturizer ($65) for oily complexions.
The most important step in a daytime anti-aging routine is sunscreen. You can apply a day cream with built-in SPF on hurried mornings, but dermatologists—like Dr. Fredric Brandt —recommend using a separate SPF for optimal protection. Make sure you choose a formula that is broad spectrum SPF. Formulas that are not broad spectrum protect against UVB rays (the rays that burn skin), but don’t fully protect against UVA rays (the rays that age skin). We like La Roche Posay’s Anthelios 60 Ultra Light Sunscreen ($30).
The goal of your evening face wash is to thoroughly cleanse your skin, so your products have a chance to be effective. If you remove your makeup with anything oil-based—like an oil cleanser or makeup remover—you’ll want to use a gel cleanser to remove the residue before moving onto your serum. Anti-aging products can’t soak into skin if you have a thin layer of oil on your face, Rouleau says.
The first product you apply should be a potent serum. We suggest one with a retinol or alpha hydroxyl acid. Apply nightly, skipping every third evening to avoid irritation. The former, retinoic acid—an over the counter version of vitamin A, the same active ingredient in Retin-A—is the most powerful anti-aging ingredient available. AHAs, like glycolic acids, help to exfoliate skin, prompting faster cell turnover, which helps to prevent fine lines. (Our favorite retinols here, and the best AHAs here.)
Just like in the morning, at night you should allow your serum to fully soak into your skin for approximately 10 minutes, then apply a night cream. Choose a formula suited for your skintype. (Click here for our favorite formulas.)
The delicate skin around your eyes is the first to show your age, because it’s thinner than the rest of your complexion. Fight back with a hydrating, extract-packed eye cream (retinol is a great ingredient to look for, too!). We like Roc’s Retinol Correxion Eye Cream ($23) or Tarte’s Marcuja C-Brighter Eye Treatment ($38).