Must Haves for Preventative Skin Care

By Dr. Natalie Ledbetter

Do you want to maintain hydrated wrinkle-free skin that’s youthful for as long as possible? It’s doable if you use a preventative skincare protocol. Most skin care experts agree on certain preventative skincare musts and recommend starting a high-quality skincare routine in your 20s to slow the hands of time.

Around age 20 to 25, your collagen production decreases by about one percent per year, skin cells turnover slows, too. These changes plus environmental damage compromise the skin. The skin continually ages and evolves so what is considered preventative at one time may be corrective later on, so adapting your regimen to what you skin needs helps it maintain its health and vitality.

What is Preventative Skincare?

Preventative skincare is a proactive approach to preventing lines and wrinkles from developing. It is easier to prevent lines than to get rid of them once they are already there.

It’s normal to see changes such as the formation of fine lines and wrinkles and even skin laxity due to decreased collagen production. Age spots and dark patches may also start to crop up, and like other age-related changes, these benefit from proactive skin care. You can’t completely reverse fine lines and wrinkles once they have formed, but anti-aging skincare products and procedures can reduce them. Cleansers and moisturizers help keep skin clean and moisturized, but there’s more to a preventative skincare routine than just these basics. Preventative skin care musts like Vitamin C, retinol, sun protection, growth factors, and regular exfoliation are equally important.

prevention skincare musts
Prevent skin aging

Preventative Skincare Musts You Need to Know About

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is one of the best antioxidant ingredients and is necessary in any preventative skincare routine. It protects against sun damage and helps brighten dark spots. This important vitamin also works wonders at reversing the signs of sun damage and protecting against free radical damage from the sun, environmental pollutants, and unhealthy food. Be sure to choose a product that is stable and will not oxidize when exposed to air and to choose a product without added fragrances.

Our Product Pick:

Our favorite strictly vitamin C product is ZO Skin Health 10% Vitamin C Self Activating. This product is stable in heat and light. It goes on like silk and leaves a matte look, not an oily sheen. Make up goes on over this product so smooth.


Low-strength over-the-counter retinol is an okay starting place for supporting collagen production and maintaining healthy skin in our twenties, but a stronger retinoid will be needed as age increases. Retinol is a must-have product that speeds up the cell turnover process to decrease the fine lines, wrinkles, and dark spots, and improve tone and texture. If acne is an issue, regular retinol use will help with this, as well. Vitamin A-based products can be irritating at first, so choose a formulation and concentration that’s compatible with your skin and speak to your aesthetician or skin care provider to find the strength and frequency that is right for you.

Our Product Pick:

Using Skin Better’s AlphaRet at night helps banish or lessen fine lines and wrinkles with a blend of retinoid, alpha hydroxy acid, and botanical extracts, which soothe skin and limit the unwanted side effects commonly associated with retinols and retinoids like dryness, redness, and flaking. All Skin Better products are paraben, fragrance, dye, and cruelty free.


Sunscreen is a definite preventative skincare must! The sun is a top offender in skin aging. Because of this, it is so important to wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30 every day, no matter what the weather is like. For extra protection, wear a wide-brimmed hat and protective clothing when outside.

Our Product Pick:

Total Defense + Repair is more than a sunscreen; it’s a rejuvenating superscreen, powered by SOL-IR® Advanced Antioxidant Complex. Traditional broad-spectrum sunscreens only protect against UVA and UVB. This trio of potent antioxidants enables Total Defense + Repair to protect against IR-A and help rejuvenate skin. SkinMedica Total Defense and Repair Tinted combines a face cream, sunscreen, and a lovely matte tint so it can serve as a foundation as well.


Often, one of the first age-related changes seen in the skin is a loss of moisture, which happens as the oil glands begin to slow down production and hyaluronic acid (HA) levels decrease in the skin. Using a moisturizer that contains HA morning and night helps hydrate and plump the skin and slow down the appearance of aging.

Our Product Pick:

SkinMedica HA5 Rejuvenating Hydrator goes beyond simply moisturizing. This hyaluronic acid serum helps minimize the appearance of lines and wrinkles. Five forms of hyaluronic acid help immediately smooth skin and provide eight hours of continuous hydration. This  serum is also the only product on the market that helps the skin replenish its own natural production and availability of hyaluronic acid. This results in healthier and more hydrated skin. With regular use, you’ll see an improvement in the appearance of texture, and fine lines and wrinkles.

Eye Cream

 The skin under and around the eyes is the thinnest on the face, which is why the eyes are so quick to show aging. A high-quality eye cream can help thicken the skin of the eyelids and hydrate the skin thus decreasing crepey looking skin. To make the most of your preventative skincare efforts, look for a product that can help decrease puffiness, fine lines, and dark shadows.

Our Product Pick:

EyeMax AlphaRet Overnight Eye Cream from SkinBetter Improves the appearance of dryness, crepiness, puffiness, lines and wrinkles and darkness around the eyes. AlphaRet Technology, a patented combination of a retinoid and an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA), in an optimized formulation to reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles around the delicate eye area. This hydrating complex provides rich, luxurious moisture to support the barrier of the delicate skin around the eyes.

Should You Consider Botox for Prevention?

Regular Botox injections are proven to keep wrinkles and fine lines at bay by relaxing muscles that cause them. It is best to start before you have lines already in place because once lines have set in at rest, skincare products alone will most likely not be enough and it will take longer for Botox treatments to help soften these lines.

So, is preventative Botox a must? People in their mid-to-late 20s and early 30s should consider it to prevent wrinkles from forming. The earlier you start, the fewer injections you probably will need later on to stay wrinkle free or minimize lines and wrinkles. Preventative Botox should be performed conservatively to soften lines without causing the muscles of the face to atrophy (shrink) too much. Choose an experienced injector who practices at a reputable clinic when choosing to get Botox.

Click here for more information about prevention and even correction of skin damage.

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