The year was 2003 and I was in Boots with my mum.
It was an after school shopping trip – wahoo.
For years I’d used the pink Olay lotion my mum used. I watched her popping it on, caressing it in and I copied.
I was a wee 16-year-old bumping around the shelves of our local pharmacy.
Mum had necessities to buy, I had all the time and more to investigate this candy shop of lotions and potions.
I remember this as clear as day.
I reach over to a shining golden bottle. Magnetised by its promise of 7 total effects, and as I flip the label I discover – nope not for you.
Not recommended for use until your 20s.
It was my first unbeknown glimpse into ‘at what age should you start using anti-aging products?’
And I remember making a mental note (which did not pin strongly enough for the 4-year wait ;)) to come back and start my anti-aging skin journey when the bottle of Olay Total Effects said I could.
It seems crazy to look back at this now, knowing a heck load more than my 16-year-old self. Perhaps this is a question you’ve been wondering about too? Thinking, is it ever too early to start using anti-aging skincare? Hint – yes it is. Or wondering if it’s bad to use anti-wrinkle cream in your 20’s? Hint – yes it could be. Or pondering if anti-aging creams can actually age you? I’ve got some inside info on this I think you’re going to find exceptionally interesting.
Want to know at what age should you start using anti-aging products? Come find out my friend…
Is It Ever Too Early To Start Using Anti-Aging?
Preventing something from happening’s better right? So why not start using anti-aging skincare now. Like eating chocolate cake before chocolate cravings come. Makes perfect sense 😉
I’m getting onto why you don’t ever want to start using anti-aging skincare too early, soon. For now, let’s deep dive into a very important fact you need to know.
Your skin’s collagen health has a huge impact on your skin.
We’re talking a massive impact on the visual changes you see.
Psst – collagen is a ‘structural skin protein’. It’s basically like skin scaffolding.
And so understanding when your skin’s collagen levels start to decline can help us to understand when you should start using anti-aging skincare.
This fact took an age to hunt down – pun completely intended.
Here’s the deal – most people when they look for answers to questions like at what age should you start using anti-aging products? Search the Google bot. Which is awesome right. Thing is most of the 1st-page results give answers without proof. It’s like gossip vs. fact. The gossip could be 100% truth but you don’t know unless the gossipee has stated their source.
No source, no proof.
Psst; Did you know it’s now law that all chocolate cakes must from here on out be orange coloured, not brown? 😉
No source. No proof. No truth.
And here’s the proof. The scientific answer to when does my skin start aging?
1975 was the year this paper was published. In the Journal of British Dermatology. And it took skin biopsy samples from men and women all the way from a wee 15 years old up to a super experienced 93.
I think you’re going to find it interesting what they found;
“So far as skin collagen is concerned the clear relationship to age is apparent, skin collagen decreasing linearly by about 1% per year throughout adult life.”British Journal of Dermatology (1975) 93, 639
And what does adult life mean? Is that your 20s? Your 30s?
Heck, I’m in my 30s and do not yet identify with the word adult 😉
This question is so, so important as it’s going to help us answer the question – at what age should you start using anti-aging products?
Well, here’s the deal, in this paper, there are graphs which show this gradual collagen decline, and they show it from age 20. Well, that’s where these graphs start. They don’t start from age 15. So collagen decline to be fair – could start even earlier.
Makes sense right? One of our skin’s priority jobs is to protect our vital organs from radiation poisoning. Aka sunlight. Aka UV light. And it’s doing this job every day from the day you’re born.
There are no J-Chill days at the beach for your beautiful bod. It’s working it’s socks off for you day in day out.
At What Age Should You Start Using Anti Aging Products?
Now here’s what a more recent 2003 science study tells us;
“Collagen production in sun-protected skin of old (80+ years) individuals is decreased by approximately 75% relative to production in corresponding skin of young (18 to 29 years) adults.”Journal of Investigative Dermatology 2003 May;120(5):842-848
In fact, this study goes on to say;
“Sun-protected skin from young individuals (18–29 y of age) demonstrated little damage.”Journal of Investigative Dermatology 2003 May;120(5):842-848
What can you take away from this? If you’re reading along with me now and are in your 20s most of your anti-aging skincare should not be traditionally active anti-aging skincare.
In my opinion, it should be almost 100% preventative. Making the best anti-aging products for your 20s a fantastic daily SPF paired up with a powerful (but not too powerful – more about this soon) antioxidant serum – don’t worry if this sounds techy and overwhelming, I’m here for you if you’re wanting to make sure you’re getting this bit right.
Is It Bad To Use Anti-Wrinkle Cream In Your 20’s?
Ever eaten chocolate cake when you don’t have chocolate cake craving and then immediately started craving more?
Once you start, your body wants more and more and MORE.
Give me the whole damn cake. I want it now.
Then all of a sudden there’s chocolate cake side effects.
You even contemplate saying out loud – I never want to eat chocolate cake ever again 😉
Keep this chocolate cake analogy in mind when you decide at what age you should start using anti-aging products.
Because if you’ve been googling – can anti-aging cream age you? You are barking up exactly the right tree.
Yes, my friend, there is evidence to support using anti-aging creams too young, can age you.
This is because of a lesser-known fact – have too much of an anti-oxidant and it can go rogue on you aka become PRO-oxidant.
The good goes bad.
Batman becomes The Joker.
Harry Potter becomes Voldemort.
Katniss becomes President Coriolanus Snow.
Can Anti-Aging Creams Age You?
I remember this day in the lab like it was yesterday. Lab coat on, goggles in place, I was geeked up and ready to go.
I was testing out different levels of vitamin E into creams.
And I was testing them for stability.
When we do this in a lab we pop samples into different temperature ovens. We turn the lights out, tuck them in and say goodnight. Then 1, 3, 6, 12 weeks later come back and check-in. See how they’re doing.
Psst – temperature speeds stuff up so we get to see it quicker.
I’d set up this experiment with 5 different levels of vitamin E;
Cream 1 had no vitamin E – this dudette is our control.
Cream 2 had 0.1%.
Cream 3 had 0.5%.
Cream 4 had 1%.
And cream 5 had 2% vitamin E.
If the antioxidant was working awesomely you’d expect the control with 0% to go brown and none of the samples with vitamin E to change colour.
Or you could expect the lower dose to go a bit brown – that’s if there wasn’t enough antioxidant to get the job done.
Actually here’s what you see;
Almost all the samples stay white as a cream but the 0% vitamin E and the 2% vitamin E which both go brown.
0.1% is effective, 0.5% is effective. 1% is effective, 2% becomes PRO-oxidant.
This kind of finding is not uncommon for antioxidants.
And is even suspected to be the reason why studies following people taking vitamin E supplements have sometimes shown negative health outcomes. It’s crazy right?
Bear in mind what I’m about to chat you though now is not proven. However, if we follow the science I’ve just talked you through, you can see how anti-aging creams used too early could have potential to age you.
See, when your skin is young in your early 20s, your skin has high levels of antioxidants.
Vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin A and more.
Now imagine adding even more vitamin E to young, already antioxidant full skin.
Can you see how this might end up pushing your skin’s antioxidant levels into the pro-oxidant territory?
Use an anti-aging cream too early and yes there is potential you could proactively be aging your skin. But what age should you start using anti-aging products at?
At What Age Should You Start Using Anti Aging Products?
What do you think my friend? Based on the science I’ve just explained to you – at what age would you say?
Go on, take an educated guess.
And remember – to some extent this will be personal to you – bearing in mind factors like – do you smoke? What does your diet look like? Do you use sun protection every day? How has your family’s skin aged historically? Time to get out your dusty family photo albums.
What’s your number? Be sure to let me know in the comments below this blog.
And you know I wouldn’t leave you hanging eh.
In my personal and science-based opinion, you shouldn’t usually start using true active ingredient anti-aging skincare products until your 30s and at the very, very earliest your late, late 20s.
That’s because of those chocolate cake binge side effects. When your skin’s not craving chocolate, don’t feed it chocolate.
Be sure to download my free 1-page guide to 5 of THE best anti-aging skincare actives for making sure your anti-ageing skincare works. Click here to get your copy now.
Now tell me, my friend, don’t be shy 😉 at what age do you think you should/or did you start using anti-aging skincare? Come chat in the comments below. And if you have a friend you love dearly, please, please do share them this blog with a quick click of that green button below on the right. You are the best.
Cheryl Woodman is a scientist & award winning skincare formulator who’s more friend next door than bow tie wearing professor. As creator of Honesty For Your Skin her aim is to help you care for your skin in the best ways possible. She’s founder of the natural & fragrance free skincare brand Honesty while also hosting 1 to 1 skincare coaching to help you get your best skin yet. Find out more here.