In your 20s, your skin cell turnover is naturally high, giving you a radiant complexion and youthful glow. Collagen and elastin production is still going strong, so you are more easily able to heal and bounce back from damage caused by excessive alcohol, partying, stress and sunbaking. But be careful not to take that youthful glow for granted. There are a few complexion-proof habits you should make now that will help your skin age as gracefully as you do.
Key Focus for 20-something skin:
Protecting and preserving. This means taking a good look at your skincare cabinet and evaluating whether you really need that chemical-laden fake that you bought when you were 16, or if you’ll ever wear that glitter eye shadow that was out of fashion as quickly as you could say underage disco. A great place to start is with your cleanser (which you should be using morning and night). Instead of hanging on to the same products you’ve been using since your early teens, figure out what you
actually need for your skin type. Oily skin? Opt for water-based, soap-free foaming cleansers to remove excess sebum and leave skin feeling refreshed and clean. Dry or sensitive skin? Go for something cream based, fragrance and alcohol free and hypoallergenic. This will ensure skin is clean but without stripping it of natural oils – which can over-dry, causing skin to produce more oil and therefore contributing to irritation and breakouts. If you feel a tingling/slight burning sensation, this is a sign that your skincare product is probably a little too astringent for your skin type. There is a difference between clean and irritated.
Must-have skincare product:
Sunscreen is a must at any age, but particularly in your 20s. Recent scientific studies have shown that up to 90 per cent of the visible signs of ageing are a result of UV exposure. Look for something lightweight and natural, with an SPF of at least 30.
Pssssst. When it comes to moisturisers and serums, you can avoid the anti-ageing stuff. Most of it contains retinol-based ingredients (pro vitamin A) that signal skin cells to produce collagen…which it is already doing. But what about dark under-eye circles and fine lines, you ask? Fine lines, dark circles and dry skin are usually a sign of dehydration, not ageing, during your 20s. More helpful are products containing rose hip to help promote the skin’s natural regenerative process, and geranium to help support healthy circulation.
Eyes are the first place to show visible signs of ageing, so perhaps invest in a good-quality natural eye cream. When applying, use your ring finger to gently tap – rather than rub – the cream into your skin, which will boost circulation to the area.
Partying too hard, not getting enough sleep and not drinking enough water – which are crucial in allowing the skin to flush, restore and rejuvenate.
If you’ve been diligent in applying daily sunscreen, your skin should be in good shape heading into your 30s. This is the age when skin cell turnover starts to slow, which means you may begin to notice fine lines, damage – such as dark spots, pigmentation and loss of elasticity – dullness, dark circles and sagging. But don’t get in a wrinkle about it; this is the perfect time to start adding some potent beauty products to your bathroom cabinet.
Key focus for 30-something skin:
Regular exfoliation (one or two times a week) should be your top priority during these years to counteract sluggish skin cell renewal. It removes dead, dull cells and promotes generation of new skin, giving you a brighter and more even skin tone. If you have oily skin, a scrub is probably your best bet as it will help to remove oil, dirt, makeup and other pore-clogging debris. But make sure to go for something with gentle microbeads as harsh scrubs can serve to further irritate skin. Dry skin? Perhaps try a chemical exfoliator, such as a glycolic acid peel, which will penetrate deeper and help to firm and tighten skin, as well as reduce appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Try a chemical exfoliator, which helps firm and tighten skin and minimises fine lines and wrinkles. If you’re the sensitive type, an enzyme exfoliator is the one for you. These help to dissolve dead skin cells without scrubbing – so you’ll look fresh faced without the side serve of redness and irritation. Always follow with a hydrating moisturiser. As with your 20s, day and night cleansing is crucial. Look for a gentle cleanser, perhaps with hydroxyl acid to enhance luminosity.
Must-have skin-care product:
If you splurge on one thing in your 30s, let it be serum. Look for something that is lightweight for daily use, and that is packed with skinfirming, toning, lifting, plumping and brightening ingredients, such as retinol, vitamins C and E, coffeeberry (which has been shown to help prevent DNA damage
that can lead to skin cancer), antioxidant-rich extracts from olive leaf, pomegranate, liquorice, green tea or chamomile, and glycolic acid to help minimise discolouration.
Add a retinoid to your skincare routine to help improve the overall texture and tone of your skin. The highest-strength retinoids are prescription only, but over-the-counter retinol is still effective. Sunlight deactivates retinol, so always apply before bed rather than in the morning, and avoid the delicate upper eyelids as retinoids can cause irritation. Another ingredient to look out for is reservatatrol – a phytonutrient found in red grapes – that studies are now showing may be effective in boosting moisture.
If your skin is looking a bit lacklustre after a big week, use a high-quality facial oil to fake a natural glow. Simply rub a couple of drops between your fingers and gently dab them over clean skin – focusing in particular on the cheekbones. This will give you a dewy (not greasy) look as natural oils have a similar composition to skin’s own, which means they are absorbed quickly.
Biggest beauty blunder:
Overtreatment – using too many products can cause irritation and clogging, so be careful not to over-do it.
One of the biggest differenecs when it comes to skin in your 40s is that it no longer bounces back as quickly. That extra glass of wine, afternoon chocolate binge or late night at the office shows up straight away on your face. This is when those fine lines start developing into wrinkles, and you might start noticing dark spots and hyperpigmentation, and redness or blotchiness as a result of hormonal changes. You might also start to notice some sagging around your neck and décolletage.
Key focus for 40-something skin:
Moisture, moisture, moisture. Oestrogen levels start dropping off at this age, so you’ll notice your skin becoming a lot drier. Hydrating and collagen-boosting ingredients such as retinol and peptides will become your skin’s best friends. A moisturiser with peptides will help promote surface skin cell turnover and reduce the appearance of fine lines. They also help boost hydration and brighten your overall complexion. Keeping a hydrating mist at the office or in your handbag is also a good idea. A light spritz once or twice a day will boost moisture and give you a fresh glow.
Must-have skincare product:
An anti-ageing moisturiser specifically formulated for the neck and décolletage that includes phytoestrogens, retinols and antioxidants to help smooth and plump skin, and reduce discolouration. Look for a product with high levels of glycerin or hyaluronic acid to promote moisture retention and skin rejuvenation, as well as extracts such as liquorice or rose to improve overall tone.
Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) can reverse the visible signs of ageing, which is why you’ll want to include them as part of your daily routine. For a double dose of anti-ageing prevention, look for a product that is also rich in antioxidants, as these may help repair and prevent further damage.
Get a facial massage. Not only are they relaxing (see: reduced stress, which equals brighter skin), they also help to stimulate the muscles and lymphatic system, and boost circulation. There are 300 pressure points on the face, so by getting a regular facial massage you are benefiting every organ. It makes the face glow and takes the tiredness and sluggishness away.
Biggest beauty blunder:
Not updating your skincare routine. Much like our taste in music and men, as we age, our skin type tends to change, too. Not only does it experience a loss of collagen and firmness, the reduced levels of oestrogen and progesterone also leave us high and dry. This means that oil-stripping cleanser you’ve been using since your 20s is probably doing more damage than good. Make the switch by looking for gently hydrating crème cleansers, and swap lightweight lotions for potent serums. *Tianna Nadalin – Australian Natural Health Magazine*