Rebecca Treston discusses preventative measures for women in their 20s

I am 25 and am beginning to worry about aging. What preventative steps should I be taking?

Being constantly bombarded on social media, TV and magazines with – for the most part – airbrushed or filtered images means that people, and in particular women, are exposed to flawless skin and what is deemed the perfect body. Celebrity culture has also not helped as modern role models are in many instances either timeless beauties such as supermodels or Instagram stars who are not shy about their use cosmetic hacks to transform their look (think Kylie Jenner) to achieve what appears to be a dream life that others desperately strive to have.

Given all of this, an increasing number of millennials are looking to have treatments and even surgical procedures to try to achieve this beauty ideal, and in turn this edited and unrealistic version of life. The problem is that often they end up consulting with unethical practitioners, which means they receive the wrong advice, which can be detrimental to the long-term healthy appearance of skin. Donʼt get me wrong – I am all for the wonderful advances in both surgical and non-surgical treatments, but such treatments should only be an option at the right time. For instance, I see far too many twenty-somethings opting for fillers and botox as a preventative measure to aging and this, in my opinion, is completely the wrong thing to do.

There are proactive steps, however, that you can take without being destructive or naïve.
Aging starts from the age of 20. We lose around 1-2% of collagen and elastin every year – a number that will double if you are exposed to harmful UV rays. Aging has two main categories: intrinsic, the normal genetic, hormonal natural aging that occurs over time (look at your parents will give you some clues to how you will age intrinsically) and extrinsic, the environmental factors. Extrinsic aging includes exposure to pollutants, UV rays, poor diet, smoking and excessive drinking of alcohol, stress and lack of exercise – all of which can, to a degree, be controlled.

In your 20ʼs it is important to establish good habits, including a healthy diet, exercise, meditation techniques and good skin care. Skincare should include many facets: a good cleansing ritual designed for your skin type, antioxidants to protect the skin from harmful free radical damage, exfoliation to keep the epidermal barrier functioning at its best and a good moisturiser to protect the skin by acting as a humectant and a barrier to stop water loss.

Water is the elixir of life, our bodies naturally lose water over time but it is essential for optimal cellular performance on every level so make sure you drink at least two litres each day, whatever age you are! In our 20ʼs as long as we have no medical illness, we are shiny and new; we may present with some hormonal issues such as acne, pigmentation and excess hair, but with aging in its infancy there really is no wrinkles or loss of volume so there is no need for Botox and filler. Instead, choose to have regular facials – a staple of any good skincare regime. The facial will work on the epidermis, which is key to keeping the underlying tissues healthy. Hydra facial, microdermabrasion and new techniques such as Oxygeno are great facials to look after our skin, especially when combined with a great skincare routine.

In addition, make sure you use SPF daily and follow a healthy lifestyle with plenty of exercise and a good work-life balance to limit stress levels. If you are able to prioritize these key factors in your 20ʼs and establish healthy and happy habits then you are on the right path to being the best version of you and well in control of the fight against aging.