The following article was published in Stylight, the world’s leading online search platform for fashion, beauty and design.

What are a supermodel’s secrets to slowing down aging? According to Dr. Joseph Hkeik, an Australian skincare aesthetic physician who just so happens to be Elle Macpherson’s celebrity facialist, it involves sunscreen, lot’s of sunscreen.

“It’s never too early to start using sunscreen daily,” says Dr. Hkeik, Elle Macpherson’s beloved skincare expert. “Sunscreen helps protect against the visible signs of premature aging, it reduces the risk of skin cancer and helps keep your complexion even.”

Well known in Australia for his celebrity-endorsed facials and media appearances, Dr. Hkeik runs the country’s leading skincare clinic for celebrities, influencers, and of course, supermodels. His natural approach to skincare has lauded him as one of Australia’s most sought-after cosmetic physicians and anti-aging experts.

We asked Dr. Hkeik to give us a rundown on everything anti-aging. From wrinkle-prevention in your 20s to damage reversal in your 40s, this is everything you need to know about anti-aging skincare.

When should you start incorporating anti-aging products into your beauty routine?

“Prevention is better than cure. Because of this, you should start [using anti-aging products] as early as your 20s depending on your skin type,” according to Dr. Hkeik. “Drier skin starts to show aging faster due to the lack of moisture in the skin.

[For dry skin], products containing antioxidants that are rich in lipid oils are a great start. Whereas oily complexions may find anti-aging products too rich and cause breakouts, clogged pores, and increase blackheads.”

What products should be included in your anti-aging beauty arsenal?

  • Sunscreen: “sunlight is accountable for the highest proportion of skin damage,” says Dr. Hkeik. “Sunscreen reduces collagen-destroying UV rays from reaching the dermal layer of skin.”

Sunscreen, with daily application, can not only protect your skin from signs of aging but also reverse wrinkles and hyperpigmentation. A 2016 study found daily application of SPF 30 sunscreen clinically improved signs of photoaging, the premature aging of the skin caused by exposure to UV rays.

  • Antioxidants: “when skin matures, its own sources of vitamins and antioxidants are used up,” according to Dr. Hkeik. ” Adding niacinamide (Vitamin B) and ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) to your daily routine will help fight free radicals and help rebuild lost collagen.”
  • Retinoids: (vitamin A) are proven to reverse the formation of lines and wrinkles. “[Vitamin A is] the only vitamin that may change the way your DNA cells form.”
  • AHAs: such as lactic acid and glycolic acid. “As your skin ages, cell turnover slows down. Acid-based exfoliants will help lift off dead skin cells and keep skin looking fresh and healthy.”
  • Gentle cleanser: to remove impurities. Harsh products may do more harm than good by stripping your skin of its natural oils and impairing its acid mantle (the protective barrier).

How should your skincare regime change from your 20s, 30s, 40s, and beyond?

20s: “it’s all about prevention – which includes SPF daily! “Be careful not to strip your skin in your 20s with over-using acne products. Oily skin still needs hydration. Start using antioxidants like Vitamin C and hyaluronic acids to reduce free radicals.”

30s: “once you hit 30, your hormonal acne should mostly be gone and you’ll start to see the first signs of aging,” says Dr. Hkeik. “Start to introduce Vitamin A into your nightly routine to help cell turnover.”

40s: “any previous damage you’ve done to your skin will really start to show [in your 40s].” Years of compounding stress and not wearing sunscreen can really age our skin. “However, using active ingredients such as Vitamin A, Vitamin B, Vitamin C, plus AHAs, can reverse the damage and replenish collagen.”

Beyond: “around perimenopause, our skin suffers more due to a decrease in estrogen.” Estrogen controls the moisture levels in our skin and a decrease leads to drier skin. A decrease in collagen results in more wrinkles and loss of volume. “Hydration is important, so continue with antioxidants, plus added Vitamin E and hyaluronic acid. A moisturizer rich in lipids will also help.”

Is your mom or dad’s skin a good indication of what your skin will eventually look like? Or are lifestyle choices a huge driving factor in skin health? 

“While genetics play a large role in your skin health, they don’t mean you’re destined to inherit skin cancer, prematurely wrinkle, or experience adult acne,” says Dr. Hkeik. “Research shows that 40% of aging factors are non-genetic, meaning you can take action to improve your skin health. On average, 80% of skin aging is due to solar damage.

“I believe 80% of skin health is what you do at home. The other 20% is having skin treatments to correct concerns and maintain skin health. Wearing sunscreen daily is a must for everyone. It’s non-negotiable.”