In the realm of preventative skincare, our 20s are somehow simultaneously breezy and tricky—while we don't necessarily have to take an active role in reversing fine lines, wrinkles, and other signs of aging, it's also never a bad idea to start thinking ahead. But that's exactly it—we can't peer into the future, so how do we know if we're doing it right if we can't see that we are? Do we just dutifully apply our products and practice good skin habits, blindly hoping that in 10 years' time, it will have been enough?
It turns out our complexions might offer more warning signals than we initially thought. The editors at Allure consulted a panel of dermatologists to find out exactly how we can figure out if our skin is aging too fast, and the signs are pretty sneaky. But it's not all bad news—at our age, knowledge is power, and it's still early enough to adjust our habits accordingly and reap the benefits.
Keep reading to see the surprising signs of early aging.
Have you noticed an onset of dark spots? "Sun spots in your late 20s or early 30s should be a wake-up call," NYC dermatologist Joshua Zeichner tells Allure. "If you are getting them that early, it means you've had significant amounts of sun exposure. While you can't undo the past, you certainly can minimize the damage and slow down the skin's aging process." That means stocking up on a solid SPF formula and using it every single day—no excuses. Zeichner also recommends using a vitamin C serum to help brighten skin tone and protect against free radicals (which age your complexion even more).
Next up, check your neck—it tends to age more rapidly than your face, and it's often neglected. "Uneven color on the sides of the neck and on the V of the chest is evidence of early photodamage," says L.A.-based derm Annie Chiu. She recommends this serum from SkinCeuticals, which fights UV damage and visibly brightens skin.
Another thing to look out for is skin that's itchy or easily irritated, which can indicate that its protective barriers have broken down. "Healthy skin has a strong skin barrier that resists chronic inflammation," Chiu says, adding that with time, our complexions become more porous—making it harder to retain moisture. Battle it all with a brightening treatment that also deeply hydrates. Sunday Riley's cult-fave Good Genes uses lactic acid to gently turn over and regenerate new skin cells while also plumping and moisturizing.
Head over to Allure to see the three other signs to look out for, and check out our derm-recommended advice for caring for your skin in your 20s.