How to maintain your skin at every age
Do you ever wish that taking care of your skin was as simple as lather, rinse, and repeat? Unfortunately, the needs of your skin change about as frequently as your favorite shade of lipstick — and, if you want to maintain your radiant glow, so must your game plan.
Knowing what to expect as you age is the first step to identifying your skin fitness goals. Here’s a decade-by-decade beauty routine for luminous skin at every age.
In your 20s, prevention is key. If you’re staying up late partying or working, start on an aging regimen that can fend off wrinkles and lines. Get enough sleep, wash your face regularly, and begin a skincare routine. Also, try to prevent exposure to pollution, especially smog and particulates. Environmental damage can take a toll on your skin even if you’re young, causing redness and ruddiness from poor circulation and a network of broken capillaries. You should:
Reach for retinol
Choose a gentle retinol formulation and use it two or three times a week to prevent breakouts, undo sun damage, and boost collagen production. Apply in the evenings. Use a moisturizer with an SPF of 30 or higher daily, and reapply regularly if you’ll be in the sun for extended periods of time. Your skin will continue to look young, healthy, and vibrant.
Start the day with a gentle cleanser
Cleansers should remove dirt and oil on the skin, but they shouldn’t be abrasive. A fragrance-free, moisturizing facial wash is ideal for refreshed skin and balanced makeup canvas.
Invest in a potent eye cream
Eyes tend to show signs of aging first. You can head them off by using an eye cream with caffeine and antioxidants to reduce morning puffiness. Use your ring finger to apply, gently dabbing, or choose an eye cream with a cooling metal applicator tip.
Exfoliate a few times a week
Exfoliation is key to a fresh, even-textured complexion. Doing so will slough off any dead skin cells leaving you with healthy, dewy skin.
Try Clear + Brilliant
Visit an aesthetic dermatologist to supplement your regular routine with professional skincare treatments. Laser facials like Clear + Brilliant can improve skin tone and texture, reverse early signs of aging, shrink pores and reverse the appearance of previous sun damage and acne scars.
In your 30s, stress can manifest itself on skin in various ways. Lack of energy and pressure from daily activities can also cause skin issues. Imperfections may start cropping up, too. Choose products that address the effects of environmental damage and pollution as these are major contributors to skin’s aging. To make your skin routine less stressful, consider high-performance, all-in-one products with multiple benefits like hydration, sun protection and repair or protection from past damage. You should also:
Exfoliate in the evenings rather than the daytime
Evenings are the perfect time to exfoliate because the skin renews as we sleep. By exfoliating and removing the dead skin from the surface, you make way for optimal product absorption and a nourishing renewal process.
Keep your skin well moisturized
Showers should be less than five minutes and water temperature lukewarm. Using a moisturizing body wash is important as well to preserve the protective moisture barrier of the skin. And don’t forget to slather on a rich body cream twice daily for healthy, hydrated skin.
Drink plenty of water
Add lemon or lime juice for an extra boost. And eat well. A healthy, colorful high-fiber diet that increases internal alkalinity (think a Mediterranean-style diet) works wonders.
Consider preventative Botox if you haven’t already started
Using a neuromodulator early on can help prevent deep lines and wrinkles from forming later. If you want to be proactive about your skin, a little Botox can go a long way at this point.
If you want to skip the needles, Thermage radiofrequency treatments may be just the ticket to tightening skin, smoothing wrinkles, and producing meaningful, long-lasting results in a preventative way and helps you bank collagen for later.
Once you’re in your 40s, you’re starting to deal with actual wrinkles: lines around your lips, nose, mouth, and lines between your eyebrows. A good diet, daily moisturizing, and more advanced skincare products to repair environmental damage all can make a difference at this age. Consistency is key: If you take care of your skin, your skin will take care of you. You should:
Use a lifter to improve your skin’s elasticity
Over time, skin loses elasticity and can begin to sag. Anti-aging cosmetics that contain peptides help increase firmness and improve elasticity.
Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize
As we age, skin tends to become drier because oil-producing glands become less active. You should choose an oil-based moisturizer that contains petrolatum as the base, along with antioxidants or alpha hydroxy acids to combat wrinkles.
Continue to protect your skin from the sun
Sunscreen is still a very important part of your routine because continuous exposure to the sun over years can cause damage to your skin. You should use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 (but ideally 50!).
Consider corrective Botox and fillers
As lines begin to settle into the face, corrective Botox and hyaluronic acid fillers like Juvéderm can assist in reversing the signs of aging, helping to smooth skin and restore volume.
In addition to fractional lasers, photo facials like Intense Pulsed Light can be used to treat brown spots, broken capillaries, spider veins, uneven pigmentation, and redness. You can use these speedy and convenient professional treatments to address pigmentation challenges and other dermatological issues that chemical peels can’t.
Moisture is your main concern once you reach your 50s. Sagging, jowling, and hollowing will likely have begun no matter how well you’ve taken care of your skin. Cell turnover is slow; the most significant change you’ll notice in your complexion is dryness and loss of elasticity, and pores are more visible, especially on the nose and cheeks. You’re likely to have developed spider veins and hyperpigmentation (age spots), and possibly precancerous spots from sun damage. But don’t get discouraged. Remember the basics: cleanse and hydrate, and think about using petroleum jelly to seal in that moisture after applying your creams or serums. You should:
Wash your face twice daily
Use a non-soap cleanser or a creamy, foaming wash.
Use a moisturizer that contains an antioxidant like vitamin C while your face is still damp
Serums in general are more easily absorbed than creams and lotions. Then apply a broad-spectrum moisturizer containing SPF of at least 15 (but ideally 50!) with UVA and UVB protection.
Sagging skin may be more prominent in your 60s. But a combination of good skincare and intense beauty treatments, such as deep-laser surfacing for wrinkles or a facelift, can help. What’s more, you’ll tend to have loose, sagging skin somewhere – it comes with the territory. Skin cells have 30 percent less natural moisture now than when you were younger, so skin’s noticeably drier, thinner, tighter, and flakier. Plus, inconsistent sun protection means age spots are showing up. You should:
Use a gentle non-drying cleanser on your face and neck
Follow this with a daily moisturizer with SPF and a advanced night cream. Look for ingredients like soy isoflavones, which nourish and firm skin.
Consider deeper professional treatments
While it’s important to embrace the changes in your skin and recognize that some are just the unavoidable signs of getting older, this is where more intense professional treatments come into play. If you’d prefer to remove wrinkles entirely at this age, you may consider a facelift.
Your 70s … and beyond
Once you are past age 70, you’ll notice the dryness and sensitivity you’ve been experiencing over the past few decades is now your predominant concern. Skin will look more translucent and feel crepey, scaly, and sometimes rough. There will also be more pronounced signs of photoaging in the form of sunspots and liver spots. Skin cancer lesions are still a concern, as is loose skin (especially around your neck and jowls), diminishing volume, and deep wrinkles. You should:
Cleanse, moisturize, and hydrate
Use a gentle cleanser and follow it with facial oil and an ultra-hydrating moisturizer. And wear an SPF during the day.
Look for skincare products that contain these ingredients:
- Ceramides (moisturizes)
- Low-dose alpha-hydroxy acids
- Retin-A (promotes skin cell turnover)
- Physical and chemical sunscreens to protect extra delicate skin
Avoid harsh treatments
At this stage in life, your skin is beyond fragile, so all of those potent treatments you used in the past are going to damage your complexion. This includes peels, scrubs, high-dose retinols, and fruit acids. Also, be gentle with how you touch your face and neck. Since your skin is more fragile, your epidermis is thinner. In other words, you have less strength and elasticity, which means your skin can be damaged much easier.
Beauty for life
As you age, your skin begins to lose its elasticity, wrinkles appear, and lines begin to form around the eyes and mouth. That’s not to say that these hallmarks of natural aging don’t contain their own beauty — a certain appeal that only comes with maturity attends them — but older skin is different from younger skin and has its own needs.
For more personalized skincare and professional treatment recommendations, book a free, no-obligation consultation with LaserAway, the nation’s leader in aesthetic dermatology. From dermatologist-developed products and youth-boosting laser facials to injectables and energy-based treatments, LaserAway helps patients of every age achieve their skin fitness goals.