They say the best defence is a good offence.  At least that’s the analogy my year 7 netball coach drilled into me at the tender age of 12. But it got me wondering, how early is too early when it comes to anti-ageing skincare? And do I need to be on the offence RN when I’m supposed to be carefree AF at 23?

In your early 20s, there are so many things we’re already worrying about, or at least I am: landing a job, scrolling too much, monthly credit card bills etc. and now, more than ever, I’m being constantly bombarded with this idea that I need to safeguard my skin for the long-term.

And while wearing hand-cream and moisturising are easy enough steps to implement, should anti-wrinkle creams, serums and eye creams be at the top of my skincare agenda? Will adding them now make a big enough difference down the track or will my (somewhat) youthful glow be enough to sustain me through my ‘20s?

There were so many questions I needed answers to, and so I was #blessed enough to consult Dr Natasha Cook on the matter. Not only is she one of Sydney’s best dermatologists, but she’s also a modern day skin-care Ghandi here to put all of our ~baby-faced~ fears at ease.


First things first, please debunk the myth: Are your ‘20s too early to start implementing an anti-ageing skin regime?

“No. The earlier the better. As I say, early intervention is prevention. Your twenties are a great time to start reversing the signs of sun damage that you have accumulated in your teens.”

And what about the chemicals that these produce contain? Can these be potentially damaging to my untouched skin?

“Not if you’re using the right ingredients. If you want to begin implementing anti-ageing products into your skincare routine, opt for an AHA pink lactic as opposed to a glycolic. The switch will be less irritating if you start just a few nights a week. Also, avoid scrubs as these can damage your outer epidermal barrier.”

What are some easy anti-ageing tips that a beginner like me can implement into my everyday skin routine? Sans all the expensive products?

“Sunscreen EVERYDAY! Prevention is better than cure. The best ones contain zinc, and when selecting a brand, choose one made in Australia because our resistance standards are more stringent. Another tip is to apply Vitamin A, however introduce it gradually, a few nights a week at first. Avoid scrubs and use cell exfoliating AHAs instead. My favourite is lactic acid as it’s gentle, does the job, and also doubles up as a moisture binding humectant.”

There are so many skincare companies that release products with these anti-ageing ‘buzzwords’ – how can us mere mortals know what to look out for?

“I agree. There is a lot of confusion out there with companies who love to use ‘pseudo-science’ and ‘pseudo-scientific terms’ to make the product sound more impressive and effective when its potentially not.”

Look for ingredients with a proven history based on real dermatological science. Here are a few:

  • Vitamins: A , Vitamin B3 (niacinamide) vitamin C
  • Fruit acids for cell renewal. AKA AHAs: lactic acid, glycolic, mandelic and tartaric
  • Moisture binders: hyaluronic acid, glycerine, sodium PCA
  • Hydrating agents: shea butter, lanolin, silicones, specialised oils, ceremides
  • Anti-oxidants Vitamin B3
  • Anit-inflammatories: chamomile, bisabolol, green tea etc
  • Cell exfoliation ingredients: Salicylic acid, AHAs, Vitamin A and C


So, my largest take-away? An anti-ageing centric skincare regime is a little like going to the gym – the process feels torturous at the time, but push through and your future self will be ~beaming at you~.

Words, Eliza Sholly.