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How to Transition Anti-Aging Products Into Your Daily Routine

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at NYU chapter.

We’ve gotten to that point in our lives when it takes quite a bit of effort to blow out all of the candles on our birthday cakes. With our teenage years an almost-distant memory, we must face reality: the fountain of youth is slowly starting to dry up. Luckily, there is something we can do to prevent a drought: step up our skincare routine with some serious anti-aging superstars.

The secret to aging gracefully is to fight those pesky fine lines and dark spots before they appear, and infusing anti-aging products into our daily regimens while we are still waking up for 8:00am lectures is one of the best ways to start throwing some punches.

Let’s start with the eyes, one of the first facial features to show signs of aging. Apply an eye cream in the morning and at night, and be sure to pat it in gently using your ring finger to avoid tugging. Not only will this help prevent your concealer from creasing throughout the day, but it will also shoo away crow’s feet. If dryness and flakiness are also an issue, look for hyaluronic acid in the ingredient listing and opt for a rich gel or cream formula. Our pick? Estée Lauder’s Advanced Night Repair Eye Cream Synchronized Complex II. It will leave the delicate skin around your eyes smooth and soft, plumping up any areas that are starting to crinkle.

Exfoliation is essential, as it renews the skin’s surface, but remember that it’s a balancing act. Over-exfoliating can compromise the skin’s protective barrier, leading to redness and irritation, which accelerates the aging process. A few nights per week, after removing makeup and cleansing your skin, add an exfoliating product to your routine prior to moisturizing. There are two categories of exfoliators: physical (think grainy products that contain jojoba beads) and chemical (a.k.a. acids). It’s best to do a patch test of each type of exfoliator to determine which one is suitable for your skin type. But if you are struggling with acne, stick to the chemical form and use products that contain salicylic acid.

Salicylic acid is both antibacterial and anti-inflammatory, and it works by breaking up cells that stick together in pores to unclog blackheads and whiteheads. If past exfoliation endeavors have left you red as a tomato, the Clarisonic or Foreo Luna physical exfoliation devices are perfect for those with delicate skin.

A few times a week, rotate out your normal serum for one that contains retinol. Retinol is an anti-aging powerhouse, and it’s almost always the first ingredient dermatologists recommend to patients wishing to radiate a youthful glow. By speeding up cell turnover at a molecular level, retinol smoothes skin texture, reduces dark spots, minimizes pores and stimulates new collagen production. Retinol products should only be used daily, once at night as the last step in your regime. Because retinol is so potent, you should slowly work it into your routine. Start by applying less than a pea-sized amount to your entire face two to three times per week. It’s normal to initially experience some redness and flakiness if you have never used this ingredient before. If this occurs, try diluting it with a gentle facial moisturizer that contains ceramides.

While retinol products tend to be on the pricier side, they are definitely worth the investment. Try Peter Thomas Roth Retinol Fusion PM or Exuviance Super Retinol Concentrate, which is oil-free and fragrance-free.

The one non-negotiable component of a stellar anti-aging routine is daily sunscreen. Sun damage is arguably the number one cause of aging. Every morning, after washing your face and moisturizing, but before applying your makeup, add in a lightweight SPF lotion. While BB creams or foundations may contain sunscreen, we usually don’t apply enough of them to get sufficient protection. Instead, opt for physical blockers like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide if you suffer from acne, rosacea, or have reactive skin. Formulas that contain silica help control oil so you stay shine-free while enjoying the sunshine. Be sure that your sunscreen of choice is at least SPF 30 and broad-spectrum. We’re loving Dr. Andrew Weil For Origins™ Mega-Defense Advanced Daily UV Defender SPF 45 because it feels weightless on the skin while fortifying your skin’s moisture barrier against daily damage.

By incorporating these anti-aging products, ingredients and new steps into your routine, you’ll be looking like a college freshman long after receiving your diploma.

Carly Mantay is currently studying Media, Culture, and Communication at NYU.
Erin is a senior and former Campus Correspondent at NYU studying Comparative Literature and Music. On most days, you can find her at local coffee shops or cafés with her nose in a book. When she's not falling in love with fictional characters, she's blogging away on her lifestyle blog. If Erin is "busy", she is either in choir rehearsal or thinking of creative ways to conquer the literary world.