If you’ve worn a cap and gown before, it’s time to think about anti-aging. “Almost as soon as you graduate high school, your skin’s natural repair mechanism comes to screeching halt," says L.A. dermatologist Harold Lancer. If you’re panicking—don’t. Just follow these four guidelines instead.
Assemble Your Skin Squad
No matter the state of your current complexion, it’s important to identify a board-certified dermatologist now who can advise you in the years to come, says Dr. Lancer. “The sooner you can build a relationship with a dermatologist, the better,” he says. “He or she will get to know your skin, which will ultimately make for the best recommendations down the road."
Shun the Sun
Are we telling you to walk around in a wide-brim hat? No. But is the sun the number-one culprit when it comes to aging? Yes. That said, applying SPF 15 (or higher) is a daily must, says N.Y.C. dermatologist Paul Jarrod Frank. While moisturizers and foundations with built-in SPF can do the job for everyday, if you're going to be spending extended time outside, opt for a dedicated sunscreen. (Check out Neutrogena's Ultra Sheer, below, which layers smoothly under makeup.)
Get Serious About Exfoliation
According to both doctors, exfoliation—the sloughing off of dead cells—is the best way to maintain the natural glow associated with youth. Get started by using a gentle, glycolic-based product once a day, upping to twice daily as long as you’re not experiencing redness or irritation, says Dr. Lancer.
Buy a Good Eye Cream
Don’t think it’s necessary? Think again: Crows' feet and dark undereyes are the top age-related complaints Dr. Frank receives in his practice. That’s why he tells his 20-something patients to integrate an eye cream with vitamin C, a brightening antioxidant that combats both.