Products and habits to promote skin health while you prevent aging skin

Hello Dr. Irwin! I'm glad I found your website! I am 22 years old right now and the only thing I really do to my face is wash it and wear sunblock. Recently, I noticed that from a genetic standpoint, my family is prone to facial skin aging rather fast, even at the age of 30. I want to prevent that as much as possible (even though I know I cannot since its part of my genetics), but I do not know how to start. Do you have an advice? Best!

Thanks for asking this! I love working with all ages, but I have a special affection for those at the beginning, and toward the end of life. That’s our patients in their 80s and up, and those of you in your teens and 20s. The goal to prevent aging is really more about being proactive about skin health, which is the real important thing. It’s so great that you’re starting to think about this, because you CAN prevent much of the skin damage that causes signs of aging with great skin health habits.

If you look at those in your family who seem to age early, and you ask them, I’m going to guess that some of them had a lot of sun exposure. Maybe some have had some tough breaks in life, like cancer or another chronic disease. Some have had a hard time with the addictive genes, like alcoholism or drugs? Or maybe smoking also? Health is tied to aging. So what can be done about it?

Skin care products that actually prevent aging skin

1. Wear the right sunscreen

Start wearing a UVA/UVB protective sun screen every day on exposed areas, especially the face, neck, chest and backs of hands. This will save you a lot of wrinkles and sagging in the future! When selecting a sunscreen that will prevent aging, look for zinc. If you are in a northern climate, for winter, look for one with about 8-10% zinc. If in a sunnier climate, or it’s summer, think 10-20% zinc. These sunscreens are more expensive, but just use a thin layer. And be consistent. 🙂  Here is a good one by Elta MD that I recommend to my patients, but there are others. See all my sunscreen recommendations here. Your body needs protection too if it’s not covered by clothing. This one by Replenix is easy to apply.

2. See an aesthetician a few times a year

Start now to try to find a good aesthetician in your area to see about once every three months. They don’t have to be expensive, just experienced.She/he can help keep you on track with your skin health. They can help advise on product choices that suit your skin type and goals. Just don’t feel pressured to buy skin care products from them.

3. Don’t over peel your skin

If you start going to an aesthetician, be careful to not “over peel.”  It can cause pigment problems and irritation. Microdermabrasion is great if you have acne, oily skin, or large pores. See more about light peels and microdermabrasion, how it works, and what results you can expect here.

4. Use the right daily skin care routine

Start now with a good basic cleanser, a moisturizer, an eye cream, and antioxidant. After you’ve found just the right ones for you, you can later add a Vitamin A cream (retinoid).  An inexpensive antioxidant (these tend to be expensive) would be a Vitamin C serum (not cream) that is 10%.  This is a good way to start. All the products I have tested, and recommend to patients who have great success, are on my shop here. I have all the items you’ll need for a good, aging prevention routine. You can read my reviews there to see if any might suit you.

How to prevent aging skin from the inside!

Healthy skin that not only looks good, but is good, is the result of so many factors. Products are great, but there’s a lot we can do aside from skin care to keep our skin glowing and happy. Here are some suggestions:

  1. Food: Your skin is your largest organ! Avoid sugar, and things made with flour. Focus on whole grains, lean protein, lots of veggies, and some fruit. Try to stay balanced.
  2. Vitamin D:  Our bodies make Vitamin D in our skin in response to sunlight on skin. Vitamin D is critical for bone strength and now, from a recent study, seems to help prevent several different types of cancer. If you use sunscreen regularly, find out if you have enough Vitamin D with a simple blood test. Ask your doctor to add a 25-OH vitamin D test at your next appointment. You need between 400 and 1,000 IU of vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol), depending on your age and level of nutrition. In the meantime, take 1,000-2,000 in a day.
  3. Alcohol: Keep your alcohol intake low. Alcohol dehydrates you and is a “cheap carb,” like sugar.
  4. Water: This really does help. Drink 6 to 8 glasses a day minimum. It keeps your kidneys flushing things through.
  5. Your Gut:  There is a connection between the biome in the gut and your skin that we don’t understand very well, but is obviously there. Take a probiotic and plenty of fiber. Some raw foods helps, too.
  6. Smoking:  Smoking damages the small blood vessels that supply the skin to keep it healthy. It accelerates wrinkles and sagging. Just look at smokers in their 40s or 50s, if you don’t believe me.
  7. Sleep: Do any of us get enough? Probably not. But it’s crucial! It’s when our body repairs itself.  Need I say more. 🙂
  8. Exercise:  Blood vessels supply the skin with nutrients. Try to get your heart rate up for 20 mins at least 3 times a week. More is better. If you’re in your 20s, and healthy, try for 120 beats per minute or above.

Closing Encouragement

Is anyone perfect on all this? Of course not, but we can try SLOWLY to break habits that don’t serve us anymore, and develop ones that do instead. Just take one day at time, and do a little. Pretty soon, in few years, you’ll be there. And, you’ll look back and know that you made great choices.

Hope this helps, Dr. I


Dr. Brandith Irwin, MD

Ask me your skincare question!

Hi, I’m Dr. Irwin. I believe that consumers deserve a medically trained and unbiased skin care advocate.

  • All our content is written and researched by myself.
  • My medical office in Seattle has treated thousands of patients for 15+ years.
  • This site is not affiliated or financially tied to any product, treatment or device.
Ask Me Something
SkinTour Skincare
One of the best investments in your skin is your daily skincare. Why? Because you can prevent many problems with blotchy skin color, lack of glow, texture, some types of acne, and fine lines with good skincare products. You can also correct some of these problems with effective skincare products. Great skincare is often more expensive because quality ingredients are expensive. Some companies spend on research/development which benefits all of us and adds to the cost. Are they worth it? In general - yes! I have handpicked some of what I consider to be the best skin care products, and offer them for sale on SkinTour's shop. This is based on my team and I's testing and research at our clinic. Many of the products are in my own regimen. What could be better than using skin care products a dermatologist uses?!