• The Quarter-Life Skin Crisis: Are We Aging Faster?

    Selfies have become part of life, documenting every single moment with close-ups that prove we were there. But all those reverse-angle phone cameras are unveiling a startling revelation to many, even twenty-somethings, their skin isn’t as young as they thought it was.

    Julie E. Russak , M.D. FAAD., board-certified dermatologist and Fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology, is seeing younger and younger patients in her office. “Women around 25-27 are noticing dullness, sunspots, and conditions like acne and eczema, no matter what they put on their faces. They’re surprised to see signs of aging this soon.”

    The biggest cause is the environment. “We’re aging faster than ever, and the biggest factors that have changed is pollution and radiation from the sun. Women are more aware of sun damage and are using SPF , but environmental pollution is something they don’t consider as much.”

    It’s more noticeable in young women in urban areas. “I have a lot of women who come to my office who say, “Before I came to New York, I never had these problems with acne, eczema, etc. They come from smaller markets from all over the country, and the second they move to New York, they have issues.”

    The skincare market has taken note, creating products to address the concerns of younger skin, since traditional anti-aging creams for mature skin can aggravate acne. Russak, a consulting dermatologist for SkinCeuticals, points to the company’s new Metacell Renewal B3 ($110,) a serum designed to address the concerns of photoaging. “For a long time, we didn’t have products to help the early signs of aging. This is a light — almost water-like —serum created for younger skin that addresses the signs of aging, such as dry patches, dullness, and redness , without aggravating acne.” The corrective moisturizer contains niacinimide, which calms inflammation in the skin.

    Other companies are also addressing these concerns too. Origins is releasing Original Skin Renewal Serum with Willowherb ($39), a serum that combines natural extracts to help skin heal from environmental stressors and correct overall texture. It’s not unlikely that other companies will follow in short order: the market is wide open and receptive to new entries.

    In addition to pollutants and radiation damage, Dr. Russak says there’s another dangerous practice affecting women in this age group: heavy, poreless makeup. “Women are obsessed with taking selfies and having porcelain skin, which is obtained by primers which contain silicones. Silicones, no matter how small, block the pores of the skin. So, by layering makeup on top of these products, the skin is suffocated. Forgetting to take your makeup off when you get home late makes it even worse. The caked layers with pollutants remain on the skin, and the cumulative effect starts all over again the next morning.”

    Removing makeup at night is the best practice of all, regardless of age. “Washing everything off at night is key. Our skin regenerates at night, so allowing your skin to breathe and heal itself is one of the best things you can do for your skin.”

    Other than the serums and face washing, Dr. Russak advises the usual. “Diet, exercise, getting more sleep – they’re all important,” she advises. “Antioxidants are incredibly important for the skin, not just topically but internally as well through diet. You also want to make sure to constantly boost your metabolism by increasing antioxidants. This helps battle wrinkles and damage from the inside as well as the outside.”

    Dermatologists have plenty of procedures that can help with the penetration of these products for quick results, like the Clear & Brilliant laser and microneedling, both of which Dr. Russak says helps the products penetrate even more. “Also, the Tria is great for at-home maintenance, which helps creams and serums penetrate more deeply,” she says.

    Regardless of what method you use to correct any quarter-life skin concerns, be patient and be kind to your skin. “A lot of women overdo it,” cautions Dr. Russak. “They try all the peels and services, and they throw too much at the skin at once, which can cause irritation and damage. Your skin has to last you a lifetime, so be gentle with it. There are a lot of harsh chemicals that work well on certain conditions sparingly, but using too much will do more harm than good.”

    Originally featured on Yahoo Beauty by Kristin Booker