Healthy Beauty Habits to Start In Your Teens
Signs of aging begin sooner than you think, so adopting healthy beauty habits while you’re young is important.
If your teen years are behind you, that’s okay, too.
Although repairing damage to your skin is more difficult than preventing damage in the first place, it’s never too late to adopt good, healthy habits. As long as you’re alive, you’re never too old and your skin is never too far gone for improvement!
Skin’s Signs of Aging
Aging happens because of a combination of genetics and environmental factors. Most scientists and dermatologists disagree on which of the two has the greatest impact, but it doesn’t really matter; there’s only one you have any control over, anyway.
The signs of aging show up far earlier than you might think.
So, when does aging start?
The way we treat our body and skin in our teens shows in our twenties, and things like sun damage, exposure to pollutants, and poor nutrition can cause damage that we’ll wear on our face for most of our lives.
Here’s a timeline that shows the most common signs of aging by decade:
Aging in your 20s:
From 20 to 29, you’re likely to start seeing:
- Skin dryness
- Fine lines around your eyes and mouth
- Dark circles
- Loss of skin suppleness
- Less radiance in your complexion
Most of these things happen in your mid to late twenties, although if you spend a lot of time in the sun without protecting your skin, you’re likely to start aging even sooner.
Aging in your 30s:
Between ages 30 to 39, your skin starts losing collagen and elastin, and it has more trouble repairing itself. The accumulation of free radicals makes it harder for your cells to recover and replenish, and your skin starts to become thinner.
All of this causes:
- Less plumpness
- A thinner, less plump upper lip
- Increased skin sensitivity
- Age spots
- Sun spots
- Broken capillaries in your cheeks
- Enlarged pores
- Puffy eyes that take longer to rectify
Aging in your 40s:
Your collagen and elastin continue diminishing between 40 and 49 years old.
The aging processes that started in your 20s are much more noticeable now, such as your loss of radiance and the drier texture of your skin.
Now, you’ll also start to notice:
- Deeper lines around your eyes and mouth
- Forehead wrinkles and frown lines
- Less perkiness in your cheeks
- A marked decline in skin’s springiness
If you smoke, spend a lot of time in the sun, or have poor nutrition or circulatory health, you’ll see much more pronounced discoloration and aging of your skin in your 40s.
Aging in your 50s:
Between ages 50 and 59, there’s a saying that you wear the face you’ve earned. This is because your skin’s character begins to set as lines and wrinkles deepen and settle.
You can also expect:
- More frequent age spots and sun spots
- Rougher skin
- Deeper, permanent wrinkles and lines
Aging past 60:
After 60 is when most people start experiencing the drooping jaws, cheeks, and jowls that we associate with age.
All of the damage your skin has sustained and the years of gravity pulling against your body are really affecting you now, and your cells aren’t able to renew themselves as quickly or efficiently as they used to.
Everyone ages differently, of course.
Some people are more or less health conscious, and genetics plays a role, too.
If your parents and grandparents look far younger than their age, for example, you probably will, too.
However, aging is about far more than just the way you look. Sun spots, deep wrinkles, and puffy eyes are all signs that your skin is losing vitality, and if your skin is in less than perfect health, the rest of your body probably is, too.
Start taking care of your skin early, and when you wear the face you’ve earned, you’ll be proud.
Healthy Beauty Habits to Begin Early
Begin a Healthy Skincare Routine with Sun Protection
Washing your face with soap and scrubbing it dry with a towel is not a skincare routine.
Neither is beginning every day with a harsh acne wash.
Whenever you touch your face, be sure to use as little pressure as possible and always push against gravity. It might seem silly when your skin is young and springy, but the cumulative effect of pushing and prodding and tugging on your facial skin is an acceleration of the aging process, which kind of defeats the purpose.
A basic skincare routine has 3 steps:
Cleanse with a product that’s gentle on your skin. You want a cleanser that’s specifically designed to remove excess dirt and oil without stripping your skin – your sebaceous glands produce oil for a reason, and if your hormones are sending your sebum production into overdrive, a harsh product might make the situation worse.
Tone to remove any lingering bits of makeup and prepare your skin to get the most out of your treatments and moisturizer.
Moisturize with a product that protects your skin from sun and environmental damage. For oily skin, use a light moisturizer, and for dry skin, you might choose to use a creme that locks in more of your skin’s natural moisture.
These steps should be completed morning and night, just like brushing your teeth.
It doesn’t add much time to your routine at all, and once you’ve built the habit of taking care of your skin, you can easily incorporate treatments to address specific issues like clogged pores and eye circles.
The first thing you should add, though, is this:
Exfoliation is important for healthy, glowing skin and clear pores. Over-exfoliation can cause irritation and excess oil production, though, so don’t exfoliate every day.
The gentlest way to exfoliate is to use an enzyme-based exfoliant rather than an abrasive scrub.
After cleansing, but before toning, gently apply your exfoliating mask to your skin and allow it to sit as long as the directions recommend.
Then, gently wipe or wash away the mask and follow up with your regular toner and moisturizer.
The first time you do this, you’ll be hooked. Your glowing, soft skin speaks for itself.
Start Upping Your Antioxidant Intake
Antioxidants help your cells function, and one of the main reason your skin ages is because your skin cells don’t function as effectively as you get older.
By choosing skincare products with antioxidants, you’re helping fight the slowing of your cell processes in your skin.
By eating antioxidants, you’re helping the cells in your entire body function correctly.
While you don’t need to jump on every trendy diet bandwagon each time a new “superfood” is in vogue, be sure that your regular diet includes foods high in antioxidants.
Notice that this isn’t about going on a diet. Your diet is just what you eat every day, and temporary changes only yield temporary results. Using and consuming more antioxidants is part of your healthy and beautiful lifestyle, not a quick fix.
Dry skin is one of the earliest signs of aging, and when your skin is dry, it shows more fine lines, flakes, itches, and looks dull and rough.
It’s also a symptom of chronic dehydration, along with things liked chapped lips, sunken eyes, and poor skin elasticity.
Drinking too little water is a very common problem, and it causes a myriad of health issues in addition to beauty troubles.
Some people argue that our culture, especially for teenagers, teaches us to go through our day dehydrated rather than dealing with the inconvenience of frequent bathroom breaks. In a school system where each trip to the restroom requires special permission, that might even be true.
However, your health is more important than a few extra trips to the restroom.
Start carrying and drinking from a reusable water bottle every day, and make proper hydration a priority. You’ll experience fewer headaches, look better, smell better, and have far fewer health risks than your peers.
Do Aerobics Twice Weekly
Aerobic exercise doesn’t have to be a group fitness class.
Maybe you like jogging, or cycling, or playing tennis with friends. It doesn’t matter what kind of activity you choose as long as you’re getting your heartrate up and breaking a sweat at least a couple of times per week.
Yes, this is a beauty tip. Beauty is part of health – just as all of our body functions support each other, we can’t divide our healthy choices neatly into categories.
Aerobic exercise improves your circulation, keeps your lungs and your heart healthy, jumpstarts cellular activity throughout your body, and helps slow many of those aging processes listed above.
Just be sure to protect yourself from the sun if you’re doing aerobics outside.
Think About Nutrition
Eating nutritious food isn’t about weight – it’s about health. Just because you can eat junk foods without gaining weight in your teens, that doesn’t mean you’re not causing damage to your body.
There’s evidence that consumption of sugar damages the collagen and elastin in your skin and causes wrinkles to form early, while a nutritious diet full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants can slow signs of aging in your skin and in your brain.
It’s true that eating a balanced diet can be difficult while you’re trying to balance responsibilities, too.
High quality supplements can help fill some of those nutrition gaps, but vitamin pills aren’t a substitute for whole food nutrition.
As a teenager, you’re probably not the one making the grocery list in your household.
However, you do have choices.
Opt for the healthier meal at a restaurant instead of the chicken finger and french fry platter.
When the side dishes at dinner are steamed broccoli and macaroni & cheese, go heavy on the vegetables and only nibble the cheesey mac.
You might even invite (or challenge) your family to focus on health with you.
Healthy choices aren’t always easy choices.
That’s one of the reasons to start early – once you’ve already damaged your health, it’s much more difficult to change your habits, and the consequences are more pronounced.
By forming your healthy beauty habits early, you’ll look great and feel great longer.