As we age, our skin changes. What worked in our 20s won’t do us any favors in our 30s or 40s. If the goal is to maintain a youthful, dewy glow well into our golden years, and look just as radiant every decade in between, we need to tailor our skin care regimen to the number of candles on our birthday cake.
We have the lowdown on the products we should be using in our 20s, 30s, 40s, and beyond. Here, how to put your best face forward at every age!
In Your 20s
Your goal is to preserve and protect. In your 20s, many of the skin issues you see come from carefree living (and neglect): partying on weekends, drinking too much, pulling all-nighters and basking in the sun without sunscreen.
There may be lingering acne from the teen years as well. Hard living comes at a cost, though: fine lines can start to creep up in the second half of your 20s. To stave them off and counteract your skin sins, it’s important to start a consistent skin care routine that involves SPF.
The Ideal Skincare Routine
Step 1: Use a gentle cleanser that will remove makeup and excess oil, but won’t dry out your skin, Philosophy Purity Made Simple is ideal.
Step 2: During the day, use a light moisturiser with sunscreen with UVA and UVB protection of at least SPF 30 (experts say this is something you cannot skip EVER. Look for a product that contains either zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, avobenzone or Mexoryl). We recommend La Roche-Posay Anthelios 50 Ultra Light Sunscreen Fluid.
Step 3: If you get mild breakouts (not serious acne, you should see a dermatologist for that), use a spot treatment containing salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. And whatever you do, don’t pick, it can lead to long-lasting scars. Origins Spot Remover Anti Blemish Treatment Gel
Step 4: If you are one to stay up all hours of the night, use an antioxidant to counteract the damage from your partying ways! Apply a serum at night that contains pomegranate extract (ellagic acid), vitamin C or grape seed extract, Murad Essential-C Night Moisture. Antioxidants,”fight damaging free radicals responsible for most of what we perceive as skin aging, including fine lines, pigment changes and textural irregularity,” says Dr. Howard Murad, founder of Murad Skincare.
Step 5: At night, cleanse and spot treat any breakouts (again with a treatment containing salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide), follow with a basic light moisturiser like, Bare Escentuals Smart Combination Smoothing Lightweight Emulsion .
Step 6: Introduce eye creams and other anti-aging products as long as they are not too harsh. If it doesn’t make your skin look better or if the product is irritating, skip it. Instead, look for hydrating ingredients like ceramides, sodium PCA, amino acids, essential fatty acids, and alpha and beta hydroxy acids. They protect against dryness and fine lines by replenishing naturally occurring skin lipids.
We love, Dr Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Peel – Original Formula .
In Your 30s
Discoloration caused by sun damage or melasma and fine lines are likely two of your biggest skin challenges. At this point, you need to start exfoliating regularly, because your skin only exfoliates itself every 35 days as opposed to every 14 in your 20s.
The Ideal Skincare Routine
Step 1: In your 30s you will need a cleanser that does a little more than the one you used in your 20s. A formula that removes makeup and lightly exfoliates using PHAs (gluconolactone and maltobionic acid), and reduces inflammations with a botanical complex including chamomile and aloes what is needed. Exuviance Age Reverse Bioactive Wash accomplishes both.
Step 2: Use an eye cream both day and night to hydrate the skin around the eyes and increase suppleness. This will help diminish any lines that may be appearing. An eye cream with a broad based SPF works well in the day, La Prairie Anti Aging Eye Cream SPF 15, and a hydrating eye cream is ideal for the evening, Lancome Genifique Yeux Youth Activating Eye Cream
Step 3: For day, before sunscreen, use an antioxidant-rich moisturiser, serum or lotion. There is evidence that antioxidants act synergistically with sunblock to help guard against photo damage, and they may also be able to undo some of the damage that’s already been done. If you were using a quality product in your 20s, keep on using it, but if you need an upgrade, Caudalie Vinexpert Firming Serum, contains a potent form of reservatatrol from grape vines (the “magic ingredient” that keeps popping up in current studies), plus peptides and hyaluronic acid to boost moisture.
Step 4: Add a retinoid to your regimen to help improve the overall texture and tone of your skin. Everyone’s skin is different, so the strength you need will vary on an individual basis. Apply retinoids at night (sunlight deactivates retinol, making it worthless), and avoid putting them on your upper eyelids, as they can be too irritating on your delicate eye area. Skin Ceuticals Retinol 1.0 Maximum Strength Refining Night Cream is ideal.
Step 5: If your skin feels like it needs additional moisture after applying a retinoid, use a basic hydrating cream that doesn’t contain additional retinol. Other acids, such as alpha hydroxyl acids, may improve the hydrating effects of a product, but you want to avoid over treating your skin. Neostrata Bio-Hydrating Cream, does precisely this.
In Your 40s And Over
After your 40s, expression lines between your brows and around your eyes and mouth don’t disappear like they did in your 30s. Your estrogen level is tapering so your skin will become dryer. The neck and décolleté area might start to look crepey as well. Overall you’ll need to add moisture and collagen-building ingredients like peptides.
The Ideal Skincare Routine
Step 1: Cleanse using a basic non-foaming, non-drying cleanser. Because you’ll use retinol (a chemical exfoliant) regularly, you’ll need to get rid of any flaking skin, Dr. Brandt Microdermabrasion Skin Exfoliant.
Step 2: Use SPF daily to prevent further damage and choose a product that contains antioxidants to fight free radicals and help reverse some of the damage you already have, Skin Medica Environmental Defense Sunscreen SPF 50+ is perfect.
Step 3: Retinoids and peptides are two ingredient groups that you should add into your routine if you haven’t already. Peptides can help rebuild collagen, especially when used in combination with skin texture-improving retinoids like retinol. To get both ingredients in one dose (and at one price), opt for a serum like HydroPeptide Power Serum Line Lifting Transformation.
Step 4: Use an anti-aging product specifically formulated for the neck that includes phytoestrogens, retinols and licorice root to help smooth, plump and erase discoloration, such as Dr. Murad’s Rejuvenating Lift for Neck and Decollete.
Step 5: Use a moisturiser that has a high level of glycerin or hyaluronic acid to help skin retain the moisture it needs, Embryolisse Rich Moisturising Cream (For Dry & Dehydrated Skin).
To look flawless and fabulous at every age, it’s time to rethink your skin routine.