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Skincare habits busy women should cultivate to age gracefully

Whether you are in your 20s, 30s or 40s, these tips on maintaining your skin will be useful

When you are in your 20s, anti-ageing skincare might seem like a foreign concept. After all, you are still battling breakouts and experimenting with products for a sound skincare routine.

Yet, beneath your skin surface, the process of ageing might have already begun for many of us. At about age 25, the rate at which the support matrix of your skin regenerates itself starts to slow down, and the level and quality of collagen and elastin begins to drop.

For many 20-somethings, a chronic lack of sleep and inadequate care might only result in dull and tired-looking skin - nothing that a dab of concealer cannot hide.

However, they can accelerate the process of skin ageing over time and take a toll later on. Here are the five skincare habits you should be cultivating as early as in your 20s to ensure that you age gracefully.

CLEANSE THOROUGHLY

When you have spent an entire day in an urban environment like ours, it is inevitable that your skin is laced with a layer of sebum, dirt, pollutants, dead skin cells and sweat. Factor in that layer of make-up you applied in the morning and you have got a great breeding ground for bacteria.

It might be tempting to just hit the sack at the end of a very long day, but when you go to bed with your make-up on, it prevents your skin from regenerating itself. It is at its most porous and receptive of skincare ingredients while you sleep.

Even if you are not wearing any make-up, the build-up can accumulate and clog pores, not to mention seal off your skin surface so skincare products do not get absorbed.

It is key to gently yet thoroughly clean your skin surface, and opt for a mild cleanser which does it without stripping skin of its barrier layer.

EXFOLIATE REGULARLY

Dead skin cells tend to accumulate on the skin's surface and within pores, leading to congested pores, an irregular skin texture, rough and dry skin surface and dullness.

To keep skin in tip-top condition, try exfoliating once or twice a week, depending on how oily your skin is. Not only will it help with breakouts and large pores, it can also improve skin texture and luminosity.

HYDRATION IS KEY

When your skin is adequately moisturised, it remains smooth and plump. Fine lines and wrinkles are less likely to deepen.

In addition, it also keeps your sebum glands in check so they do not go into overdrive and produce excessive sebum.

NEVER SKIP SUNSCREEN

The thing about sunscreen is that you probably won't see the beneficial results within months. Yet, signs of photo-damage are gradual and accumulative. So instead of spending large sums of money on lasers to stimulate collagen synthesis and eliminate age spots, start early and delay the onset with daily consistent sunscreen use.

Also, sunscreen isn't just a must on hot and sunny days as it is estimated that 80 per cent of UV rays still penetrate the clouds and reach us even on cloudy or rainy days.

LOAD UP ON ANTIOXIDANTS

It is also important to choose skincare products that are enriched with antioxidants, because they are essential in fending off free radical assaults to keep skin healthy skin.

Some common antioxidants to look out for are vitamin C, vitamin E, polyphenols, resveratrol, coenzyme Q10 and niacinamide. You should also incorporate a mix of different antioxidants as they each neutralise specific groups of free radicals.

This article first appeared on Her World Online (www.HerWorld.com)

WELLNESS & BEAUTY