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Turning 25 this year was a big deal to me. In my head, that was the age where you’re officially an adult and you should have your life in order. A major part of having your sh*t together is having a healthy daily routine and putting yourself and your body first. 

Since I left college in Arizona, I’ve been trying really hard to undo all the damage that was done while sunbathing between classes, hiking in the desert, and swimming regularly. My skin was in a state of chaos when I moved to Chicago, and I no longer had a nice glow to hide the start of wrinkles and dark spots. It took some serious work, but my skin has finally leveled out, and I’ve started making many changes to prevent wrinkles and sun damage. Here's what I did.

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First, the Basics

Your skin is the largest organ of your body (even though it’s on the outside), and it contains three layers that serve an important purpose. The outermost layer is the epidermis that consists of many tough cells called keratinocytes, made from the protein keratin (also in the hair and nails, hence the idea behind the keratin treatment). This layer continuously grows and allows exterior cells to die and flake off. It takes roughly five weeks to work their way to the surface, so any changes you’re making to regenerate new cells will take this long to start seeing the benefits. 

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The second layer of your skin is called the dermis, which contains collagen and elastin. This layer gives skin its strength and elasticity. The skin’s base layer is the subcutis, which contains a seam of fat as a fuel reserve in case of food shortage, and works as insulations and cushions the skin from bumps and falls.