Whether you’re sixty-five, forty-five, or twenty-five, it’s never too late–or too early–to practice good skin care. How do celebrities like Julia Roberts and Catherine Zeta-Jones look so good well into their forties? One of the major factors is excellent skin care.

Even as early as your twenties, significant skin aging occurs. Collagen production in your skin slows down, and the skin begins to lose that youthful elasticity. Environmental factors such as sun damage, pollution, gravity, and even facial expressions inexorably speed the aging process. What are some of the first tell-tale signs of aging? Those fine but gradually deepening lines around your eyes, on your forehead, and around your mouth.

Fortunately, advances in aesthetic skin treatments provide numerous options to reduce and prevent wrinkle formation. Most major beauty brands have “anti-aging” creams and serums. The company Olay has publicly stated that their entire line of products is dedicated to helping people look younger.

But what can you do? Here are some tips that promote good skin health and reduce the ravages of time, preventing your skin from showing your age.

Moisturize! You should keep your skin hydrated at all times. The first step is to drink plenty of water. A night cream coupled with a daytime moisturizer prevents your skin from having that dry, shriveled appearance. More importantly, dry skin is obviously more likely to wrinkle.

Protect your skin. First and foremost, you can make a huge difference simply by using a daily sunscreen. Many moisturizers already have sunscreen, which reduces the number of things one has to remember in the morning rush. Remember that SPF does not define the strength of the sunscreen! It only tells you how long the sunscreen is effective. Each unit of SPF equals 15 minutes of sun protection. So an SPF 32 sunscreen will last 8 hours. If you have an SPF 16 sunscreen, you will need to reapply the sunscreen after 4 hours in order to maintain your protection from ultra-violet radiation.

You can also protect your skin by thoroughly cleansing it every night to get rid of excess oil, make up, and pollutants ( especially Southern California smog!). Unless it’s a facial cleanser such as Shiseido Facial Bar Soap, avoid bar soaps, as they tend to dry out your skin. At night, when you are resting, your body uses the time to regenerate. Give your body, and skin, a fresh start every evening.

Every two to three days, you should also exfoliate your skin. The product you choose should be based on your skin type. I recommend picking a scrub with micro beads such as the Vivite Exfoliating Facial Cleanser. You probably want to stay away from reusable scrubs such as a loofah. These can collect bacteria and may actually do more harm than good to your skin! Exfoliating on a regular basis will eliminate dead skin cells and aid in skin renewal.

Some folks use a regenerative serum, which provides another layer of protection for your skin. One example is the Vivite Daily Antioxidant Facial Serum, which contains antioxidants that help fight premature aging and also help exfoliate your skin. Using an eye cream will also help reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and dark circles in the sensitive areas around the eyes.

Most drug and department stores will have skin care sets available. However, I recommend using a medical grade skin care line if you are truly interested in excellent skin care. Available only in doctors’ offices, these tend to have higher concentrations of active ingredients and are often more effective. At the Chow Center for Facial Plastic Surgery, we have the Vivite Core Vivite Core SystemSystem, which I personally recommend because it is priced comparably to department store brands, yet is medical grade and has really made a difference for my skin. Over the counter products may substitute important ingredients or are diluted with water, muddling their results.

In summary, don’t forget the following:

  • Cleanse
  • Exfoliate
  • Moisturize (with sunscreen in the morning)

Finding the right skin care products can really make a difference in your appearance, and should be used as a part of your daily routine.