Caring for Your Skin As You Age
There’s a reason we’re creatures of habit. Our inner shortcut-taker is wired to stick with what’s familiar—and naturally, that includes our skincare routine! But unfortunately, like the saying goes, “You’re either in it for the long haul, or you're not!” So no matter how cozy you are with your current regimen, we must treat it like any relationship that’s gone sour: move on! Sure, it’s easier said than done. So to make your transition simple, we created a minimalist guide on how to change your skincare routine as you age.
Riding the hormonal rollercoaster of teenhood leaves you with two main skincare priorities: sun protection and acne-control. With the changes in your body during puberty and everyday social stressors, your routine should include a few basic products that help manage a greasy T-zone, inflammation, and breakouts.
To combat pimples, PA-C dermatologist Dr. Christie Kidd believes that your skincare routine in your teens should be about keeping your pores clear with a gentle cleanser and pH-balancing toner. For acne-prone skin types, opt for an exfoliating cleanser to remove dead skin cells and dissolve away pimple-causing bacteria. Finally, use a mineral SPF lotion everyday as part of your long term anti-aging plan and to protect your skin barrier, essential for fighting breakouts. Wear it as your final skincare layer, ensuring the UV-blocking agents fully form a protective barrier on the skin before facing direct sunlight.
Skincare in your teens is about managing hormonal stressors and establishing healthy skin habits.
When you’re virtually harassed everyday with endless feeds of perfectly poreless and photo-filtered faces, it’s normal to feel overcome by FOMO! But the reality is that there’s nothing overly “special” you should be doing with your skin at this age. You can actually create problems when you overcompensate by using anti-aging products you don’t yet need. In your twenties, your skin is still producing active levels of collagen, so you really don’t need to start messing with a good thing. Otherwise, if you start exposing your skin to intense anti-aging actives too early, you could trick your dermal cells into behaving older than they are, explains board-certified dermatologist Dr. Loretta Ciraldo. "I love using protective products, like daily antioxidants and also using an SPF that includes HEV blue light protection," Dr. Loretta says. "It can also help to start doing weekly or monthly at-home peels like glycolic or physical peels.” You can also start using a brightening eye cream to treat dark circles and puffiness.
Overall, skin care in your twenties is mostly about keeping your skin hydrated and vibrant.
Here’s where things start to change. By your thirties, you may have noticed some minor signs of skin aging like pigmentation, fine lines, and dryness under the eyes. And you’ve probably even started testing out different anti-aging samples from your local beauty boutique—but wait! You still shouldn’t be using wrinkle-smoothing products at this stage.
Your skincare routine in your thirties should focus on addressing the early signs of aging; you don’t yet have deep wrinkles or creases around the eyes. So be careful about using products meant for more mature skin. As mentioned earlier, you need to take an age-appropriate approach, or you risk accelerating collagen loss and other negative changes.
“Most of us will have some evidence of late nights and UV damage by the time we hit thirty,” says Dr. Anita Sturnham, a GP specializing in dermatology. To start treating skin concerns like dark spots, fine lines, and dullness, you should start using a Vitamin C enriched serum, layered under your day cream or night treatment. Serums contain a more concentrated dose of healing antioxidants to help you maintain a radiant, healthy complexion. For your eye cream, stick to formulas that focus mostly on hydration with low level retinols (between 0.01-0.05%) for treating crow’s feet. Anything higher is too intense for your under eyes at thirty.
Forties to fifties
In the forty to fifty zone, you’re starting to move away from prevention skincare and focusing more on addressing specific skin concerns. But there’s one thing that still never changes: your loyalty to SPF!
According to the FDA, 70% of skin aging is due to oxidative stress caused by UV-related damage. So depending on the extent of your sun-baking sins from your earlier years, your treatment plan will vary based on your individual skin needs.
Since cellular turn-over becomes much slower, our skin won’t bounce back as it once did, explains Dr. Sturnham. That’s why your skincare routine in your forties and fifties should include formulas containing active ingredients with a stronger potency, be it a retinol or alpha hydroxy acid (AHA). Our award-winning Revitalizing Night Jelly Treatment contains superfood ingredients like Bilberry and Safflower, which are clinically proven to manage signs of photoaging, pigmentation, skin laxity (sagging or loose skin), and wrinkles.
Ultimately, the goal at this age should be to maintain a bright and well-rested look, while controlling the depth of wrinkles. As Dr. Ciraldo explains, “I take great issue with the goal of anti-aging making you look younger. I think that the best anti-aging goal should be to look like the freshest version of yourself."
Sixty and up
In your sixties and beyond, the mindset is all about embracing the individuality and honesty that’s expressed in our faces, celebrating our best and most natural look.
This mindset brings us to some of the key targets of skincare in your sixties and over: maintaining moisture, smoothing wrinkles, and livening up your complexion. Since skin loses hyaluronic acid, it will get drier and thinner, so it’s important to feed your skin with hydrating nutrients by using a vitamin-concentrated firming cream.
Again, it’s important to avoid getting overly fixated on fighting lines and wrinkles; instead, you should invest your efforts in keeping your skin looking radiant and fresh. That’s why complexion-brightening treatments like eye lifting masks and hydration masks are trending for mature skin.
And finally, don’t fall into the trap of thinking that it is “too late” to start caring about SPF. It’s NEVER too late!
About the author, Naomi Furgiuele
Naomi is the founder of Nuria and a self-professed nerd with a love for all things science and skin care. She’s had a hand in product development for some of the biggest global beauty brands in the business, gets some of her best ideas while out on a run, and loves her exfoliator almost as much as her awesome family.