Just as we change throughout the years, our skin does too. It requires different care and attention according to all sorts of factors; from lifestyle to weather, pollution, and more.
When it comes to skincare, no matter what age you are, there are a few golden rules that will give you a head start to healthy, glowing, radiant skin: hydration (drink 2-3L of water per day – more if you're exercising or in a warm climate), eating a healthy balanced diet, getting enough sleep (7-10 hours per night), reducing stress levels and wearing SPF every day (no matter the weather).
Kristina Shepherd, beauty expert and founder of 2726 Beauty says, “Wearing a good quality SPF every single day of the year is key, even on the most overcast cloudy days. UVA rays are present every single day of the year and these are the rays which can penetrate deep within your epidermis causing lines, wrinkles, and uneven skin tone.”
There's no underestimating that these golden rules, if consistent over several years, will pay off in improving the appearance and health of your skin, and reduce the physical effects of aging, but finding the right skincare routine for your specific skin type can be overwhelming – we're all unique after all, with varying ages, skin types, lifestyles, and complexion concerns. To help you filter out the fluff and get you on the right track, we asked the experts for the secret to healthy skin at every age, and they delivered. Keep reading to start building your ultimate skincare routine, no matter what stage of life you're at.
In your twenties, it's time to start learning about your skin type and developing healthy habits – it starts with a good skincare routine as your foundation, to tackle breakouts and focus on prevention.
Dr. Nichola Cosgrave, natural beauty expert, says, "In our early 20s our skin is smooth, bright, and plump thanks to our formidable levels of collagen, however, this is the time where our collagen production levels start to decrease, approximately 1% less every year."
This is why it's important, Deborah Mitchell, Founder of Heaven Health & Beauty, says, to start looking after your skin early. "The younger you start taking care of your skin, the better it will look as you get older. If you can get into the habit of an effective daily routine in your teens your 50-year-old self will be very thankful."
Hollie Simpson, skin health guru and founder of Our Skin Academy, suggests what we should focus on in our twenties. "The main thing is to maintain and prevent the aging process and prevent breakouts if you get them."
Preeti Patel, natural beauty expert and founder at Pure & Cimple, advises introducing an eye cream in your mid-twenties too. "Our eye skin is thin and delicate; it's essential to keep it hydrated. As we age, it becomes even more vulnerable to sun and environmental damage. It's imperative to start adding eye care to your regime before dark circles make their way or just to prevent wrinkles."
What You Should Be Using
In your 20’s you should be using SPF, salicylic acid, retinol, eye creams & Vitamin A.
"Antioxidants are vital to look out for in skincare. Good SPF is great for prevention to ensure we aren't aging the skin. If we are getting breakouts, look to purchase salicylic acid to dislodge any blocked pores – very good for inflamed acne and retinol. For oiliness, Vitamin A is good at regulating sebaceous secretions," suggests Simpson.
Cleanse, tone, and moisturize every night to remove any dirt and oils that have built up over the course of the day. Even without make-up, your face can harbor dust and pollution you can't see which could turn into blemishes and breakouts if they're left overnight.
Retinols are a preventative measure. They help to boost collagen production to reduce premature aging like fine lines and age spots. Mitchell shares its benefits: "You can start to introduce more "grown-up" preventative essentials such as eye cream and products containing retinol and Vitamin C, although do ask for advice on when and how often to apply. These are designed to help boost skin renewal and collagen which, in the long-term, means you'll look more radiant."
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In your thirties, you will start to become aware of the aging process so it’s all about leveling up your hydration and developing a night-time routine.
"Now you've hit your thirties, the early signs of aging start to show from those pesky wrinkles to discoloration and sagging. This can be due to several factors including sun damage, pollution and lifestyle factors, as well as decreasing levels of elastin and collagen," says Mitchell. "Up your skincare routine with products that lighten and even out skin tone, while helping to plump fine lines."
Patel encourages us not to forget the rest of our body when it comes to skincare too. Our hands, feet, and necks age at the same rate. "Gone are the days when we focused solely on our faces. With age, it becomes important to give some care to the neck and hands as well. The good thing is that you don't need to invest in special neck care products, just use swift upward strokes to apply the same products to your neck to keep it supple."
What You Should Be Using
In your 30’s you should be using Hyaluronic acid, night creams, face serums & oils, plus collagen, as your body begins to lose collagen when you turn 30.
"It's important to maintain the water balance for the fully functioning lipid barrier. It's vital to introduce hyaluronic acid at this point as you may have been exposed to the sun during your twenties," advises Simpson.
Mitchell reveals that face serums can be much more effective than moisturizers in some cases. "While cleansers and moisturizers contain between 5-10% of active ingredients, serums can boast up to 70%."
Patel advises introducing night serums, oils, and creams in your late twenties and early thirties. "While you're resting, your skin is at its most active. This is when your skincare routine should focus on reparative products and treatments, so as to get maximum nourishment. Face oils and serums penetrate specialist ingredients deeply to restore all the nutrients needed to repair daily damage caused by our environment, calms stressed skin, and reduces the effects of aging."
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In your forties, any sun damage you've been exposed to over your twenties and thirties may start to reveal itself and your skin will become drier due to the declining levels of estrogen – to improve the look and feel of your skin, use a richer moisturizer and opt for a higher concentration in your anti-aging products. Uneven skin tone and dark spots can appear, especially on the face and hands (the areas more exposed to the sun).
“The body undergoes profound changes as it prepares for menopause,” says Dr. Aneesha Ahmad, GP & founder of The Skyn Doctor. “As we hit our 40s, our skin experiences significant changes, especially around the eyes and cheeks as our lymphatic system starts to slow down and our ability to eliminate toxins becomes sluggish. As we move through the decade, the production of the hormone estrogen, which once made our skin appear perky, stops being produced. What we see as a result, is that the skin may start to sag, fine lines appear and increased pigmentation.”
Dermatologist and author of Beyond Soap, Dr. Sandy Skotnicki, suggests using a higher concentration of Vitamin C and retinol.
What You Should Be Using
In your 40’s you should be using anti-aging cream, CoQ10, peptides, ceramides & fatty acids
To increase the production of collagen and elastin in your skin, Ahmad says, “Anti-aging skin cream is a great line of defense in protecting your skin – it will help maintain your skin’s elasticity and can keep skin firm, tight and well hydrated.”
"As you enter your late thirties and forties, more specialist ingredients like CoQ10, sea buckthorn, peptides, ceramides should make their way into the skincare regime," says Patel.
Experts at skincare brand PJYRITY agree: "Numerous foods such as onions, sesame oil, nuts, and spinach also contain the substance [coenzyme q10] naturally, but only in smaller quantities. CoQ10 is used as an antioxidant, just like vitamins C or E. It is supposed to fight harmful free radicals and thus contribute to a naturally fresh skin appearance. Coenzyme Q10 not only provides the body with energy but also helps the body maintain natural cell health."
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In your fifties, it’s all about hydration, tightening formulas and getting your all-important beauty sleep.
"Menopause generally hits in the late forties, early fifties, and with it comes a huge fluctuation in hormones and unfortunately the skin can take a big hit. Skin dryness is a big factor in your fifties, which unfortunately makes our pores appear larger, and let us not forget the continued loss of elasticity resulting in well-pronounced sagging skin, deeper lines, and wrinkles," Cosgrave says.
Mitchell agrees: "Once you turn 50, wrinkles become more obvious and your skin is thinner and more sensitive. As you approach menopause, estrogen levels drop and you'll find your face becomes quickly dehydrated so it's essential that you continue with your daily anti-aging routine and introduce a richer, heavier moisturizer to act as a protective barrier."
What You Should Be Using
In your 50’s you should be using collagen, and a deeply hydrating day cream & night cream.
Simpson echoes this, and suggests using regeneration and tightening treatments. "At 50, we've seen the decline over the ages so introducing collagen regenerating treatments can help. IPL, fractional lasers, micro-needling, radiofrequency, and maintaining good skin health such as lipid replenishments will make a world of a difference. Also, be sure to get good quality sleep!" – easier than it sounds with the frequency of hot flushes, we know.
In your sixties and beyond, it’s time to take greater care of yourself with rest and relaxation, and support your health with the important vitamins and nutrients your body needs to work at its best.
"We will now see a good amount of aging on the skin – muscle depletion will be at its highest and you will see lines embedded in the skin," notes Simpson.
Cosgrave explains why our skin becomes parched as we age: "Throughout the years, our skin goes through a number of changes, the outer skin layer (epidermis) thins and the number of pigment cells reduces. Any remaining pigment cells increase in size; this is why aged skin looks thinner and paler, somewhat translucent in appearance. When women hit menopause their sebaceous glands produce less oil, hence the onset of sudden dry skin."
Plus, as we get older, we are more prone to injury. "Blood vessels are more fragile and so bruises are more apparent. Add onto that the fact that your skin takes longer to repair itself and you begin to realize that you need to be taking better care of yourself."
Simpson echoes this: "It's vital to combine as many things together and lifestyle factors such as supplementation with vitamins, hydration, and sleep are imperative in this age bracket."
What You Should Be Using
In your 60’s and onwards you should be using collagen, high-strength vitamins & getting plenty of rest.
Vitamin C, also known as the holy grail of great skin, boosts collagen production (which slows down with age), inhibits melanin production that could lead to a reduction in hyperpigmentation and brown spots. Not only that but it's antioxidant-rich and anti-inflammatory. In other words, it calms and protects skin against oxidative stress from external aggressors like UV rays, blue light, and pollution. Introducing Vitamin C at any age will give your skin a boost for enhanced radiance.
"You could add some ingredients targeted towards decreased collagen or elastin associated with menopause like propylene [glycol]," Dr. Skotnicki suggests.
Ready, set, glow!
Whilst there are lots of products out there, including a myriad promising anti-aging, all the experts seem to agree on particular ingredients that make for healthier, happier skin – collagen-boosting, protective and hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid, Vitamin C, retinol, and importantly, those healthy lifestyles that we can all adopt at any age. Age can be just a number when you know all the best skincare secrets. Healthy, glowing skin awaits!