When it comes to our skincare routines, due to social media and countless articles and product reviews, most of us do have an idea of what we should be doing. Some of us know our hyaluronic acid from our salicylic acid, and by now we’re probably all aware that we should be using an SPF daily. However, the biggest problem is knowing when to use which products to best support our skin. At different stages of our lives, our skin needs different things depending on internal and external factors including lifestyle, ethnicity and life stage. As we age, our skin changes, what worked in our 20s won’t do us any favours in our 30s — or 40s. No matter what stage our skin is in, the end goal is to aim for healthy-looking skin. Here’s what our beauty experts have to say.
Your 20s are the decade in which to maintain and prevent, so hydration and sun protection are two absolute necessities. At this age, your goal is to preserve and protect your skin. In your 20s, many of the skin issues you see come from carefree living and basking in the sun without sunscreen. And we can remedy this with Hyaluronic acid and, best of all, it works for every skin type and tone. SPF is non-negotiable at this stage or any other stage. It’s important to start a consistent skincare routine that involves SPF.
Your ideal routine:
Step 1: Use a gentle foaming cleanser that will remove makeup and excess oil, but will not dry out your skin.
Step 2: For the day, use a light moisturiser that contains sunscreen with UVA and UVB protection (the experts say this is something you cannot skip — EVER.)
Step 3: If you get mild breakouts (not serious acne) use a spot treatment containing salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. And whatever you do, don’t pick as it can lead to long-lasting scars. If you get severe acne then you should consult a dermatologist.
Step 4: At night, cleanse and spot treat any breakouts (again with a treatment containing salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide), and follow with a basic light moisturiser.
Step 5: It is okay to introduce eye creams and other anti-ageing products as long as they are not too harsh.
Between your 30s and 40s, you’ll start to notice considerable differences in your skin, at this stage, it’s time to take corrective as well as preventative steps. The sign of discolouration caused by sun damage or melasma and fine lines are likely to be two of your biggest skin challenges. You will need to exfoliate regularly because skin only exfoliates naturally every 35 days as opposed to every 14 in your 20s.
Your ideal routine:
Step 1: You will need a cleanser that does a little more than the ones you used in your 20s. A cleanser that removes makeup and lightly exfoliates using PHAs (gluconolactone and maltobionic acid)
Step 2: Introduce an eye cream both day and night to hydrate the skin around the eyes and increase suppleness hence reducing fine lines that may appear. An eye cream with a broad-based SPF works well in the day, and hydrating eye cream is perfect for the evening.
Step 3: For the day, before applying sunscreen, use an antioxidant-rich moisturizer, serum or lotion.
In your 40s, the signs of ageing are more definite, skin becomes thinner and less elastic as collagen is systemically broken down, resulting in loss of volume and it also gets thinner and produces less oil and sweat. the skin also becomes dryer and added to the mix are dark circles, enlarged pores, crepiness around eyes and a rougher skin texture, and it means extra hydration. Overall you’ll need to add moisture and collagen-building ingredients like peptides and also find a cleanser that will deeply cleanse your skin, without irritating or stripping it.
Your ideal routine:
Step 1: Cleanse using a basic non-foaming, non-drying cleanser in combination with a gentle face cleansing brush to help remove dead skin cells.
Step 2: More so than ever, use SPF daily to prevent further damage and choose a product that contains antioxidants to fight free radicals and help reverse any damages you already have.
Step 3: Retinoids and peptides are two ingredient groups that you should add to your routine if you haven’t already. Peptides can help rebuild collagen, especially when used in combination with skin texture-improving retinoids like retinol.
Step 4: Use an anti-ageing product specifically formulated for the neck that includes phytoestrogens, retinol and licorice root to help smooth, plump and erase discolouration.
Step 5: Use a moisturiser that has a high level of glycerin or hyaluronic acid to help the skin retain the moisture it needs.
Your 50s are typically the decade when huge hormonal shifts in your body cause noticeable changes and your skin becomes drier. Loss of tone, hollow eyes and sagging are your biggest issues, and creams and serums can only do so much.
Your ideal routine:
Step 1: Use a cream cleanser that will hydrate skin while it cleanses.
Step 2: Choose a moisturising cream that contains SPF to keep skin hydrated and protected. If you are using ingredients like retinoids, they can make skin more sensitive to the sun, so daily use of sunscreen is a must.
Step 3: For the day, apply a peptide-rich serum under your SPF daily to help build collagen. Look for one that also contains antioxidants to fight free radicals or hyaluronic acid to lock in moisture.
Step 4: At night, apply a retinoid before your moisturizer. Your moisturizer should contain phytoestrogens to help with hormonal ageing.
Step 5: Simple and inexpensive, simple petroleum jelly is a great way to lock in the moisture from your moisturiser, which is more important now than ever. One thing to note, petroleum jelly prevents water loss but doesn’t attract moisture, so you can’t actually skip moisturiser altogether.
Sources: Sanctuary Beauty and Wellness, Vogue Beauty, Total beauty,