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How to start your anti-aging routine at 20

Twenty-somethings are so busy finishing school, establishing a career and maybe even thinking about starting a family that their days usually aren't filled with worries about wrinkles.

Here's how they can keep it that way.

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1. Form good skin habits now

If you were lax in taking care of your skin — smoking, bathing in UV rays — in your teens, there's a good chance you've done a bit of damage. "By far and away the most important ways to prevent the signs of aging are to stay out of the sun and stop smoking," says Dr. Jessica Howard, MD, CCFP, a family physician in Ilderton, Ont. "Fine lines and wrinkles become issues during this time in women who've had high amounts of sun exposure in their childhood and teenage years."

Edmonton dermatologist Dr. Janice Liao, FRCPC, echoes Dr. Howard —she tells her young patients to get enough vitamin D (either in supplements or by getting 15 minutes of sunshine each day) and reminds them to avoid tanning beds and booths at all costs. "If you want to glow, get spray tanned or go for a cosmetic-counter glow," she says. "If you overdo it now, by the time you're in your forties you'll have large pores and leathery skin."

If you've already been worshipping the sun too much you can try Photorejuvenation, known as IPL (intense pulsed light) and BBL (broadband light), which can treat sun-damaged skin using super bright, controlled light that absorbs discoloured patches. "It can improve the colour, texture and tone of the skin by fading brown spots, reducing redness and blood vessels, and tightening the skin and reducing pore size," says Toronto dermatologist Dr. Anatoli Freiman, MD, FRCPC. The treatment usually takes 30 minutes, and the light pulses feel like mildly uncomfortable stings. (Cold gel is applied before the treatment to keep the skin temperature low.) Most people need five or six treatments (a few weeks apart). Side-effects can include red, blotchy skin, which is temporary. You can likely go straight back to work or play after an IPL or BBL treatment. Each session costs about $150 to $300.

TRY IT AT HOME
No matter how exhausted you are from partying til dawn, you should always remove your makeup before bed to avoid waking up to an unwelcome breakout. Take the easy way out with Yes to Blueberries Facial Towelettes ($9.99, at Shoppers Drug Mart) or Biore Makeup Removing Towelettes ($9.99, at grocery, pharmacy and massmarket retailers).