Skincare as You Age

A Decade-by-Decade Guide to Refining Your Routine

It should come as no surprise that your skin changes as you age, and so should your skincare routine. While certain practices are encouraged all your life – hello, sunscreen! – others will vary from decade to decade. Here, we’re breaking down how to build your best skincare routine from your 20s to your 50s and beyond.

Your 20s

Caring for your skin might not be very high on your priority list at this age, but there’s no better time to start establishing good habits than your 20s. One of the best things you can do for your skin is get enough sleep – most adults need between seven and nine hours per night. In addition to a healthy lifestyle, your skincare routine will revolve around preserving your youthful glow.

The Routine

Your daily routine should consist of cleansing, toning, and moisturizing. If you’re prone to breakouts, you could benefit from a cleanser with salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. 

Try to cleanse in the morning and at night, but if you can only manage once, choose the evening – you should never sleep in your makeup! Incorporating an SPF moisturizer into your routine will protect your skin against UV damage without the extra step of applying sunscreen.

Your 30s

Many women start to get serious about skincare in their 30s, particularly when it comes to anti-aging treatments. At this age, your production of collagen is already in decline, which leads to thinner skin. Your skin might also start to appear drier and more dull. Fortunately, just a few changes in your routine will make a big difference for your skin.  

The Routine

You should be using a gentle cleanser morning and evening daily. A few times a week, trade your nightly cleanse for a product containing alpha hydroxy acids, which will help encourage skin cell turnover. 

In addition to toner and a lightweight moisturizer, you may also consider adding an antioxidant serum and a prescription retinol to your routine; retinol is going to be your best bet when it comes to preventing wrinkles.

Your 40s

Once you hit your 40s, you’ve probably established a solid skincare routine…but it’s time to take things up a notch. Wrinkles and fine lines are likely making an appearance, especially around the eyes and mouth, and fluctuating hormones can cause everything from acne to premenopausal dryness.

The Routine

Swap out your cleanser for a milk-based cleanser for an extra boost of hydration; similarly, you need to be using a thick cream or lotion for moisturizing. Serums rich in antioxidants like vitamin C should be a part of your daytime routine, while a stronger retinol is best reserved for nighttime. 

If you haven’t already, start applying eye cream immediately after your nightly moisturizer – look for ingredients like retinol and hyaluronic acid to speed cell turnover while plumping and moisturizing the skin.

Your 50s

In your 50s and beyond, moisturizer will be your best friend. These are the years when skin dryness becomes most women’s biggest skin woe. You’ll also notice increased evidence of sun damage along with deeper lines, thinner skin, and diminished elasticity. While your 50s bring about some changes, there are just as many solutions, so don’t fret!

The Routine

Opt for a cream or oil-based cleanser that won’t strip your skin of moisture. In regards to your moisturizer and serums, a key ingredient to look for is hyaluronic acid – essential for locking in moisture. 

Make a habit of working this ingredient into your routine daily. A prescription retinol is still a great option for skin repair, although retinoids could start to dry out your skin; if this happens, decrease your prescription strength accordingly. To deliver some extra therapeutics, apply a face mask once or twice weekly – your skin will instantly look refreshed and radiant.

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