I’m only 21. Why do I look older?

I’m only 21. Why do I look older?

Youthful skin needs proactive care, too.

You may think only women in their 40s or 50s need to give their skin special care to keep it from showing its age. But wrinkles and other signs of aging can start to appear even in your 20s. That’s because the skin damage often begins in childhood and continues through the years.

Even when you’re young, you can start to ward off signs of aging with a skin care regimen that nourishes the skin – and by doing proper preventive care.

Natural aging

As we mature, some physical skin changes occur naturally:

  • Collagen production slows down – so skin loses its firmness.
  • Elastin production decreases – and skin becomes less elastic.
  • Fat cells start to disappear – and skin starts to sag.
  • Skin loses the ability to retain moisture.
  • Small facial muscle contractions create frown lines and crow’s feet.
  • Sloughing off of dead skin cells slows.
  • New skin cells are generated less often.

As nature takes its course over the years, skin can sag and become wrinkled, dry, thin and discolored by age spots. Your genes can influence how quickly your skin ages, too.

Preventable aging

We can’t prevent the march of time. But lifestyle and environment play a big part in aging skin, and with a few simple preventive measures, we can limit their effects. Here are a few:

Don’t smoke

Whether you smoke or are exposed to cigarette smoke second-hand, you will experience increased wrinkling and dryness of your skin – causing “smoker’s face.” Some scientists believe cigarette smoke is as bad for your skin as the ultraviolet rays of the sun.

Limit sun exposure

Sun worshippers can experience wrinkling, premature aging, and even cancer of the skin. Too much sun exposure also can cause brown sunspots and dry, leathery skin. Limited sun exposure is OK, but you still should take measures to protect your face from those damaging UV rays:

  • Wear sunscreen year-round – SPF 30 or higher and waterproof.
  • Don’t expose your face to the sun from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., when it’s shining most intensely.
  • When you’ll be in the sun for more than a few minutes, wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses.
  • Don’t sunbathe or use a tanning booth. These both expose you to harmful UV rays. Apply a self-tanner instead.
  • Wear a facial moisturizer every day.

Cleanse your skin gently

Don’t scrub your skin, which can cause irritation and speed aging. Gently wash your skin twice a day to remove pollution, makeup and other substances – especially after wearing a hat or helmet. Wash your skin as soon as possible after you’ve been sweating.

Avoid skin care products that sting

When your skin burns or stings, it means your skin is irritated. Irritating your skin can make it look older.

Eat a healthy diet

Your body can’t provide what it needs to keep your face looking firm, moist and blemish-free without a healthy diet. Cut out junk food. Get plenty of antioxidants to protect your skin and your health with a diet that’s rich in fruits and vegetables, especially colorful ones.

Drink water

Drinking water keeps your skin moist, helps your cells take in nutrients and gets rid of toxins. As it helps with blood flow, your skin glows. The common amount recommended is eight glasses of water each day, but the water in fruits, vegetables, juice and milk counts toward that total.

Get exercising!

When you walk, run or work out, your blood flows faster, and the exercise tones your muscles. We all could use more time away from the computer or the TV, and 20 to 30 minutes of strenuous exercise each day can boost your health and your feeling of well-being.


When someone has been doing through a stressful time, you can see the signs: dark circles under the eyes, new wrinkles and dull skin. To de-stress, get enough sleep and manage your stress – whether it’s by meditating, taking a walk when you feel tension building, or seeing a therapist if the stress is long-term.

Protect your face from cold

Cold temperatures, wind and dry air can rob your skin of moisture and cause dry, irritated patches. Use a facial moisturizer and protect your face with a scarf when you are outside.

Drink moderately

Too much alcohol over time can damage blood vessels in your skin, giving you a flushed experience. Broken blood vessels may show up near your skin’s surface. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) define heavy drinking as more than one drink a day for women and more than two drinks a day for men.

All of this is a lot to remember, but once you get into a routine, it’ll be a snap!

Keeping your skin looking youthful and healthy is more than worth it.

If you have any questions about keeping your skin looking young or addressing skin damage issues, feel free to call us any time at (913) 451-3722.