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Premature Aging: How to Prevent Wrinkles, Fine Lines, & Discoloration in Your 20s

Young woman showing the visible signs of premature aging of the skin

Aging is beautiful and you have no obligation to shy away from it. Looking older than our age, however, is something many of us may look to avoid. When the signs of aging show up at an early age, think your 20s, that’s what’s known as premature aging or premature skin aging — it refers to the accelerated aging of skin that occurs earlier or at a faster rate than expected. This helpful guide covers everything you need to know about premature aging: what are the signs, what causes premature aging, and how to prevent the visible signs of aging from forming too soon.

What Are the Signs of Premature Aging?

Almost all signs of premature aging show up as changes on our skin. The most pronounced is perhaps hyper-pigmentation, a form of skin discoloration often seen on the face, neck, and chest, but that can appear anywhere on the body. In its lesser forms, hyper-pigmentation is often referred to as age or liver spots. Other skin signs include the early onset of fine lines and pronounced wrinkles (generally before the age of twenty-five) and dry or itchy skin. Gauntness and thinning skin on the face or hands may also be a sign. All are normal processes of aging — but if you’ve been caught off guard by them sooner than expected what you might be experiencing is premature aging.

What Causes Premature Skin Aging?

The main root cause of premature aging is sun exposure leading to sun damage. Premature aging of the skin is most often caused by sun damage, also lifestyle choices that are largely within our control. Ultraviolet rays cause the skin to create melanin which can accumulate unevenly causing hyper-pigmentation and age spots. It also speeds up the aging process by breaking down skin’s collagen and elastin, making way for wrinkles, sagging, and dull skin. Smoking has the same effect on skin, but for different reasons. Smoking releases toxins that expose skin to oxidative stress that leads to dryness and unwanted wrinkles. Other lifestyle factors, such as lack of sleep, excess alcohol consumption, and stress also contribute to premature aging.

How Do I Prevent Premature Aging?

Aging is the most wonderful experience. But when the signs of aging like wrinkles, dark spots, and uneven skin tone pop up too early, you may look for solutions to prevent them from sticking around – and we've got you covered. To prevent premature aging of the skin, it is so, so important – can't emphasize the importance enough – to protect your skin from harmful sun rays that cause sun damage. Apply a broad-spectrum UVA/UVB sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher daily, rain or shine, as your primary defense to prevent premature aging of the skin. Additionally, minimize your exposure to environmental pollutants and be gentle with your skin. Get enough sleep, manage stress, limit alcohol consumption, avoid smoking, and establish a consistent anti-aging skincare routine. By following these steps, you can help slow the visible signs of premature aging from forming and maintain your youthful-looking skin.

Skincare for Premature Aging

Establishing a consistent anti-aging skincare routine is essential to maintain your youthful looking complexion. A good skincare routine for premature aging typically involves a combination of cleansing, treating, moisturizing, and protecting skin with SPF. Incorporating products with beneficial ingredients such as retinol, niacinamide, vitamin C, and hyaluronic acid can further enhance the appearance of your skin.

To help, follow the skincare routine outlined below to help address the visible signs of premature aging of the skin:

Cleanse: Start your routine by cleansing your face with a gentle cleanser that effectively removes dirt and excess oil, and dissolves impurities without stripping the skin of its natural moisture. For a thorough clean, try an invigorating double cleanse using the Bi-Facil Double Action Eye Makeup Remover as the first cleanse, and follow with Crème Mousse Confort Comforting Creamy Foaming Cleanser for perfectly fresh, prepped, and hydrated skin.

Treat: Next, apply your targeted treatments to address premature aging concerns. When selecting a targeted treatment, such as an anti-aging serum, it's essential to consider your specific skin concerns and preferences. Look for a treatment that will work hard for you. Select a serum made with gentle yet effective actives and can provide multiple skin benefits, specifically targeting visible fine lines, wrinkles, dark spots, and discoloration. Our Rénergie H.C.F. Triple Serum does just that, formulated with niacinamide, vitamin C, and hyaluronic acid to deliver optimal anti-aging benefits in one triple dose.

Renergie H.C.F. Triple Serum

Rénergie H.C.F. Triple Serum

Plumping & Dark-Spot Reducing

One size only for Rénergie H.C.F. Triple Serum
1.7 fl. oz.
Old price $145.00 New price $101.50

Eye Care: Don't forget to give special attention to the delicate skin around your eyes. This area is more prone to showing signs of aging, such as fine lines and crow’s feet, deepening wrinkles, puffiness, and dark circles. Therefore, incorporating an effective eye cream or serum into your skincare routine is important to prevent the visible signs of premature aging from forming around the eye contour. Lancôme offers a range of eye care specifically formulated to address these concerns, like our Rénergie Lift Multi-Action Ultra Eye Cream that provides lasting hydration, visibly reduces dark circles, and de-puffs eye bags for a youthful appearance.


Lifting & Dark Circle-Reducing

0.5 fl. oz.
Old price $85.00 New price $59.50

Moisturize: Moisturizing is a crucial step in any skincare routine, especially when it comes to addressing premature aging concerns. A well-chosen anti-aging moisturizer, like our Rénergie H.P.N. 300-Peptide Cream SPF 25 formulated with hyaluronic acid and SPF, can help hydrate and protect the skin, improve elasticity, and visibly reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. When selecting a moisturizer, consider your skin type and specific concerns. If you have oily or combination skin, opt for a lightweight, oil-free formula. For dry skin, choose a richer and more nourishing texture. Apply moisturizer to clean skin, both in the morning and evening. Gently massage it into the face and neck using upward motions, allowing the product to fully absorb. Consistency is key, so make sure to incorporate moisturizing into your routine day and night for optimal results.

Renergie H.P.N. 300-Peptide Cream SPF 25

Rénergie H.P.N. 300-Peptide Cream SPF 25

Reduce Sagging & Wrinkles

Old price $145.00 New price $101.50

Sun Protection: Applying a broad-spectrum UVA/UVB sunscreen is critical to protect your skin from further sun damage leading to the visible signs of premature aging. Daily SPF protection is important for all skin tones to reduce the risk of sun damage. Our UV Expert Defense SPF 50+ Primer & Moisturizer is a lightweight, 3-in-1 facial sunscreen, makeup primer, and moisturizer that hydrates, preps skin for makeup, and helps protect skin from sun damage in one easy step. The hydrating formula is suitable for all skin tones and types, helping comfort the skin while providing a radiant glow.

UV Expert Defense SPF 50+ Primer & Moisturizer

UV Expert Defense SPF 50+ Primer & Moisturizer

Protecting & Hydrating

Old price $48.00 New price $33.60

Remember, consistency is key when it comes to addressing the signs of premature aging. Follow your skincare routine morning and night, and don't forget to adjust it based on your specific skin type, skin concerns, and seasonal needs. And apply SPF sunscreen daily - always!

If you’re stuck and don’t know where to start, we get it. Our Lancôme expert Beauty Advisors are available to help you. Schedule a virtual 1-on-1 appointment for personalized guidance and recommendations or, explore our menu of Beauty Services.

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