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Ask Jean: What Can I Do To Prevent Aging?

We want to answer your most pressing questions—or, you know, just the things that you’re curious about. Please keep them coming to: feedback [at] goop [dot] com, or tweet us @goop. Below, a q for our new beauty director, Jean Godfrey-June.

Dear Jean,
What should I be doing in my twenties to prevent aging? —Claire B.

Not smoking, wearing sunblock and enjoying…looking young! One of the very best things about growing older is it slowly dawns on you that you’re actually attractive, and that your flaws are things no one notices, particularly, It’s a cruel trick of nature that it’s hard to appreciate how great your skin is when it is, in fact great. Even young skin with breakouts is glowy and fresh in a way that you’ll look back and marvel at later. Marketers of all ilks will tell you to start eye-creaming it up at 23, but they are generally…marketing. If you feel or look dry, moisturize—but piling on moisturizer just because you hope to not look old in 20 years…pile on the sunblock instead.

Sunblock—a non-chemical one. like John Masters SPF 30 for face ($32, goop.com)—is the key, truly. Chemical sunscreens degrade in sunlight (so the SPF you put on in the morning might not be there by lunch), contain many known irritants (hence the breakout-causing reputation), are terrible for the environment (they damage coral reefs, for one), and most also contain the usual paraben/phthlate/roster that most conventional beauty products do. I especially love the John Masters because it’s a (nice looking) pump you can leave on the counter, so you remember to throw it on before…anything except sleeping. And it smooths in much easier than many daily SPFs.

I once took a continuing-ed writing class at the University of New Mexico; the age range was huge. It was definitely a living ad for sunscreen—Albuquerque is super dry, 5,000 feet above sea level, and super-sunny—but the even more glaringly obvious thing was they way you could clearly tell who smoked. Everyone had that tough-sun-whipped, Something About Mary-esque skin, but the people who smoked seriously looked like shrunken apple-head dolls. So…really, don’t smoke.

Treat acne, as inflammation is a big cause of aging; salicylic acid, as in Juice Beauty’s Blemish Clearing Serum ($29, goop.com) is the ingredient to start with, as it both soothes inflammation and gently exfoliates. For the same reason, an anti-inflammatory (low sugar, low meat) diet is great aging prevention. Exercise—there’s nothing like it for increasing circulation (a.k.a., keeping your skin glowy).

Sunblock bonus: If you are coming late to the party on sun or smoking, know that wearing sunblock gives your skin a break, so it can spend its time repairing, rather than defending itself from the sun. In a similar vein, antioxidants help to repair damage from sun, pollution, etc. Vitamin C, in my experience, is especially helpful (it’s even been shown in studies to prevent sun damage and even sun burn); a great clean-skincare option is Drunk Elephant’s C-Firma Serum ($80, goop.com).

A brilliant combination of non-chemical SPF 15, antioxidants, and moisturizer, the Green Apple Brightening Moisturizer from Juice Beauty ($38, goop.com) is a fantastic way to check every box in a single product; it also has brightening ingredients.

Pick a daily sunblock, sit back, and really appreciate being young—it comes around exactly once.

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