12 Reasons Why You Look Old in Your 20s and 30s [Updated]


Are you in your late 20’s or early 30’s but are looking beyond your actual age? You know – the sagging skin, fine lines and wrinkles on your face and skin pigmentation.

You wonder what you are doing wrong that is making you look older than you actually are. And it certainly leaves you worrisome because you know that all of these skin problems should not be happening to someone of your age. If you are one of the people who sulk about your ageing skin, this post is a must-read. You might be committing these skincare mistakes that make you look older than you really are.

1. Not Enough Cleansing

The culprit behind ageing your young skin could very well be the very basic skincare regimen you should be doing. Your skin is exposed daily to harmful irritants, like pollution, dirt and make-up. This is why a regular skin cleanse is a must. This basic good skin care step gets rid of impurities, dead skin cells and excess oil.

Moreover, a good cleanse in the morning refreshes the skin and removes toxins eliminated by the skin at night. Make it a point to wash your face twice a day – once in the morning and once before going to sleep. Use a non-comedogenic and hypoallergenic facial cleanser, or choose a product with scrubbing beads so that you cleanse and exfoliate your skin all at once.

Not Enough Cleansing

2. Skipping the Moisturiser

It doesn’t matter if you have dry skin or oily skin, it is no excuse not to use a good moisturiser. There is a wrong notion that moisturizer makes your skin oily and can aggravate acne problems. What a moisturizer actually does is that it keeps moisture and water in your skin, which makes it smooth, supple and healthy. It contains emollients that fills in the gaps of skin cells in your skin and humectants that keep moisture in. Not only that, moisturizing helps maintain the elasticity of your skin.

Skipping the Moisturiser

3. No Sunscreen

You might have been told that getting some sun is good for your health. Once it hits the skin, it creates vitamin D from cholesterol. Now dubbed as the “sunshine vitamin”, Vitamin D helps manage cell development and also improve your immune system. On the flip side, too much sun exposure can also age the skin—especially without protection. It causes skin pigmentation and fine lines, among a host of many others.

So, what should you do?

Strike a good balance. You only need a good 15 to 20 minutes of sun exposure to get the Vitamin D that you need. Before you head out, make sure to apply sunscreen especially in exposed areas of the body. Also pay close attention around the eye area and lips, as these are thinner and are easily prone to skin diseases. Use a stick for the eyes and lip balm for the lips.

You should use a sunscreen that is SPF 30 or greater. Make sure that it provides broad-spectrum protection to shield you from the harmful UVA and UVB rays. It can go a long way too if you choose a sunscreen that is water resistant. 

No Sunscreen

4. Make-up Blunders

Women, and men sometimes, wear make-up to conceal blemishes and to make themselves look presentable. But, using the wrong products or techniques in applying can actually be the reason why you are looking older than you actually are. For one thing, you might be one of those people who puts too much foundation on the face like icing on a cake. Always remember that when it comes to make-up, less is better. To hide those blemishes, use a concealer first then apply a light layer of foundation to even out your skin tone.

After your base coat of foundation, use a cream blush instead of a powder to set your make-up. Powders tend to settle on your fine lines and wrinkles, making them more obvious. As for the eye area, avoid putting black eyeliner below the eye and keep mascara on the top lashes only. Wrong eyeliner use  will draw attention to your crow’s feet, if any.

Make-Up Blunders

5. Not Getting Enough Sleep

There is indeed truth to the name “Sleeping Beauty”. It is because a good seven to nine hours of sleep can actually do wonders for your skin. It promotes collagen growth, boosts skin hydration, and improves skin texture. The reason behind that is your skin goes into repair mode when you sleep. 

Melatonin,  which is known for its antioxidant and anti-aging properties, is produced at night. The levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, also falls while you sleep which helps the skin repair daytime damage. It’s also a time when the body generates more collagen, which can minimise fine lines.

In addition, chronic poor sleep quality is also linked to increased signs of intrinsic ageing, diminished skin barrier function and lower satisfaction with appearance.

Not Getting Enough Sleep

6. Ageing Food

People often say that, “you are what you eat.” This is true because what you consume affects your body, and in this case, it can reflect on your skin.  

One of the main culprits is sugar. Food with high glycemic index, such as sugar, white bread, and white rice, are rapidly absorbed, leading to higher blood glucose levels which triggers a process where the skin increases oil production and the release of certain hormones which can be contributing factors to acne formation. Furthermore, sugar also contributes to the formation of collagen-damaging AGE’s

Those who rely on coffee to fuel the day should also take caution because caffeinated drinks can have an adverse effect on your skin. O dehydrate your body, which makes you look tired and old.

It is recommended to load up your meal with skin foods that are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, like nuts, fish and olive oil. Also, eat up on fruits and vegetables that are high in skin food vitamins and minerals, like Vitamin A, C and E, selenium and zinc. These essential vitamins will help the body produce more collagen and help fight against free radicals. And lastly, do not forget about protein. This will help minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Ageing Food

READ ALSO: Sygmalift Singapore: V-Shape Face Slimming Procedure

7. Puffing and Smoking

Research published in the Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, showed that smoking does indeed make a huge difference in making the skin look aged. The study rounded up 79 pairs of identical twins during the Twins Day Festival in the town of Twinsburg, Ohio. The study revealed that the smoking twin has more visible fine lines and wrinkles around the lip area and much damaged skin as compared to the non-smoking twin or the twin who has smoked lesser.

Dr. Lowel Dale of Mayo Clinic says that smoking speeds up the normal ageing process of the skin. And you could consider this vice a traitor, as the negative effects will show only after 10 years of smoking. What it does is that the nicotine narrows the blood vessels and impairs blood flow, which limits the absorption of oxygen and skin vitamins and nutrients. Chemicals in cigarettes and tobaccos weaken the collagen and elastin of the skin together with the constant pursing of the lips, making fine lines and wrinkles more apparent.

Puffing and Smoking

8. Having Too Much Alcohol

The very reason why alcohol is damaging to the skin is that it is a diuretic. This means that it dehydrates your skin and your body. Without enough hydration, your skin becomes dry and end up looking unhealthy. This means more fine lines and wrinkles. It also increases the likelihood of red spots to appear. The reason behind it is because alcohol increases blood flow and causes blood vessels in the face to dilate and burst. Other than that, it also prevents Vitamin A, which is necessary for skin health, from being absorbed into the body.

Having Too Much Alcohol

9. Not Enough Water for Hydration

There is no better way to keep skin moisturized, smooth, soft, supple and healthy than keeping it is hydrated with enough water from within. If your body does not have enough water, it will reflect on your skin. It will look dry and flaky, which will make it more prone to the occurrence of wrinkles.

Water helps you get rid of toxins that can cause pores to clog up and develop into acne. Also, it keeps your eyes from becoming sunken and prevents you from having dark circles around the eyes. So, it is always advisable to bring with you a bottle of mineral water or opt for water instead of soda during mealtime to keep your skin moist, elastic and younger-looking.

Not Enough Water for Hydration

10. Weight Issues

Did you know that your weight also has an indirect link to the aging process? Being underweight diminishes the natural fats in your facial structure which allows the skin to sag and highlight the appearance of wrinkles.

Women with healthy weight have an advantage  because the fat distribution plumps out the wrinkles masking other age-related changes such as loss of bone mass in the cheek and jaw. If you are looking much older than your actual age in your 20s and 30s, it will only worsen when you hit your 40s.

On the other hand, frequent fluctuations in weight can also cause the skin to lose its elasticity. This accelerates the development of jowls and folds. This issue also touches on a wider spectrum of health concerns. Therefore, asking the help of a gym instructor and a nutritionist can help you keep your weight at healthy levels without sacrificing the well-being of your skin.

Weight Issues

11. Unmanaged Stress

While a certain amount of stress is good for us, you must learn where to draw the line before it becomes a chronic problem. Lugging around the weight of chronic, high stress is a recipe for ageing. It affects the way we carry ourselves, the way we think, and the way we look.

Chronic stress can wear down your skin’s antimicrobial barrier thanks to the stress hormone, cortisol. Produced by your kidneys, this hormone acts like your body’s own alarm system or your fight-or-flight response. When your body gets overwhelmed with high amounts of cortisol, your skin’s natural protective barrier weakens, making it increasingly difficult for your skin to retain moisture. With that barrier down, irritants and environmental stressors can easily penetrate the skin resulting in inflammation.

High cortisol levels can also result in a decrease in collagen production. Therefore, it is safe to say that if you don’t make it a point to manage your stress, you give cortisol the power to speed up premature ageing.

Unmanaged Stress

12. Why Too Much Sugar is Bad for You

A sweet tooth can also wreak havoc on your skin. One of the explanations behind this is the formation of toxic compounds called AGEs (Advanced Glycation End- products). Increased concentrations of AGEs in the skin prevents efficient collagen repair which results in premature skin ageing. AGE not only affects your collagen, but also the elastin fibres resulting in a reduction of skin elasticity. This can be manifested as wrinkles, sagging, and dark circles around the eyes.

Increased blood glucose levels can also trigger premature cellular senescence (loss of a cell’s ability to grow and divide). High amounts of senescent cells can result in premature skin aging and a higher perceived age.

To avoid the damage that high sugar levels may do to your skin, it is recommended that you do the following:

  1. Reduce and ultimately steer clear of processed sugar (cakes, soft drinks, biscuits)
  2. Opt for GI foods. These are foods that have low sugar content and it introduces a chemical balance where the amount of sugar that hits the system is reduced.
  3. If you need to add sugar, a healthier, natural option would be honey or stevia.

Why Too Much Sugar is Bad for You

However, if your 25-year-old skin mirrors that of a 45-year-old already, you might want to go to an aesthetic clinic and explore beauty treatment options to bring back the youthfulness to your skin. If you are experiencing sagging skin at a young age because of these skin care mistakes, you can certainly bring back its glow with treatments like laser treatment for your face or the Thermage Non-Surgical Facelift procedure.


If you have more questions about our skin care treatments, fill out our inquiry form to schedule your consultation, today.

About Dr Tyng Tan

Dr. Tan Tyng Yuan, MBBS completed her graduate and medical education in the United Kingdom over a span of 10 years.

She is also certified by the Aesthetic Practice Oversight Committee (APOC) to operate various laser devices for skin conditions, administer dermal fillers, Botox and chemical peel.

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