Coco Chanel once said, “Nature gives you the face you have at twenty. Life shapes the face you have at thirty. But at fifty you get the face you deserve.” In your 20s, there’s a lot you can do to safeguard the skin you have, and ensure that it’s healthy, balanced and primed for when you get older. By the time you’re 25, collagen (which keeps the skin resilient and lifted) and elastin (which gives skin flexibility) decrease. Sounds scary? Here’s what you can do to fight acne, preventatively anti-age and protect your skin when you’re in your 20s.

1. Double cleanse, always

You’re likely wearing a lot of makeup, going out all the time and working long hours in your 20s, so cleansing your face well and keeping that habit on lock as you get older is important. Things such as sleeping with makeup products on or not cleansing after a long day outdoors cause dirt and grime to seep so far in that it can really harm your skin. Dirt that is not cleared thoroughly is dirt that is accumulated! Cleanse first using a double cleanse friendly cleanser or makeup remover, and then rinse again using a cream, gel or foam-based cleanser.

2. Ensure that you’re exfoliating

Old skin cells accumulate on the surface and don’t reflect light as well as new ones, causing the skin to look dry, dull and patchy. This pile-up, when mixed with sweat, oil and makeup, can clog the pores and lead to breakouts. Regular exfoliation 2-3 times a week, with scrubs or acid-based products can help get rid of them, improving turnover and making the skin look fresher and younger.

3. Wear sunscreen – daily!

Studies show that sun damage seems to be responsible for 80-90% of noticeable symptoms of aging in the skin on the face. A lack of sun protection in your 20s will show up as wrinkles, fine lines and dark spots in your 30s. You may be applying sunscreen when you go to the beach or play a sport, but you actually need to slather it on every single day. Even if you’re just working from your bed. It is best to spend your early 20s shopping around to find the perfect sunscreen. It has to be one that you can wear under makeup, reapply and comfortably wear everyday. Then, you can build up that habit until it is second nature.

4. Start using an eye cream

Yes, really. The most common concerns for the skin around your eyes in your 20s, are dark circles. These can be thanks to a lack of sleep, a busy lifestyle, odd work hours and even genetics, for some. Plus, the eye area ages 10 years faster than the rest of the face. You can thank the collagen and elastin in the area constantly being broken down every time you squint, blink or smile. Wearing eye make up like mascara and liner and scrubbing it off can also tug at the delicate area. It is best to smooth on a moisturising peptide-rich eye cream. Look for ingredients like hyaluronic acid, Vitamin K, Vitamin C, caffeine, peptides and glycerin.

5. Try retinoids to boost collagen levels

You might not see the effects of collagen breakdown now, but you’ll want to salvage everything you’ve got. Loss of structural proteins lead to thinned skin, fine lines and poor wound healing, so it is important to stop its loss. To do so, use a topical retinoid, which has been proven to stimulate collagen production in the deep layers of the skin. This ingredient also helps facilitate cell turnover and improves skin tone and texture, making it a must-have to fight all possible signs of future ageing and dullness.

6. Get treatments from a licensed specialist

Since you can still experiment, this is a great time to figure out which in-office treatments work for you from licensed professionals like estheticians or dermatologists. Try chemical peels, resurfacing peels and microneedling, which will all promote collagen formation in the skin. If you have acne, dermatologist intervention is key to prevent further dark marks, scars and irritation.

7. Treat your acne with care

If you’re struggling with bouts of acne, figure out a good way to get it sorted out before it spirals, or leaves dark marks and pigmentation behind. Products with salicylic, glycolic, alpha hydroxy or beta hydroxy acids will help exfoliate and dead skin cells, unclogging pores to prevent future breakouts. Since your skin is still balancing itself out, it is best not to over-dry your skin. Use a targeted treatment with benzoyl peroxide or a pimple patch, which will draw out congestion and soothe the skin without overdoing it on the clear areas.

While sooner is better, it’s never too late to find a cosmetics store near you and get started!