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By New York City dermatologist
TODAY
updated 1/17/2008 4:39:15 PM ET 2008-01-17T21:39:15

The skin gradually changes as you get older and to keep your skin looking its best, your skincare regimen should address the unique needs of each decade. Understanding the physiologic changes that are occurring in each decade can help you to better take care of your skin. It’s never too late to attain healthy skin; read below for some of the best ways you can attain healthy skin if you are in your 30s or older.

30s
Most women start to see the first signs of aging in the early to mid-30s. These signs are accelerated in those who have spent extensive time in the sun in their teens and 20s. The result:

  • Skin appears drier
  • Fine expression lines and wrinkles begin to appear
  • Uneven complexion and sunspots
  • Skin starts to lose some of its youthful glow

Skincare needs:
Sun protection is a daily necessity. This will prevent continued sun-induced skin cell breakdown and uneven complexion. It is essential that your product contains both broad spectrum UVB (sunburn-inducing) and UVA (skin aging and skin cancer-inducing) ingredients.

Moisturizers that utilize the best anti-aging technology available can help to rehydrate the skin as well as heal damaged skin

Antioxidants are crucial because they are the best way to fight skin damage that is caused by environmental stressors (e.g., cigarette smoke, pollution). The best topical antioxidants available are idebenone, amino-peptides, coffeeberry, green tea extract, coenzyme Q10, vitamin C and vitamin E.

40s
Many of the changes that started to appear in the 30s are more pronounced in the 40s. During this decade the skin changes are primarily due to premenopausal changes occurring inside the body. Skin cells start to turn over even more slowly than in the 30s. The skin’s collagen starts to break down. The skin’s elastic tissue starts to lose some of its elasticity. The result:

  • Skin gets drier 
  • Skin appears duller
  • Skin starts to lose tightness
  • Fine expression lines appear around the eyes and mouth
  • Signs of photo-aging increase (e.g., sunspots, blotchiness, unevenness, lines)

Skincare needs:
Sun protection daily.

Soap-free cleansers will effectively cleanse the skin without stripping it of its moisture. Bar soaps tend to dry the skin and are not recommended for use on aging skin.

Moisturizers continue to be essential, particularly moisturizers taking advantage of ingredients like hyaluronic acid (skin’s natural moisturizer).

Antioxidants are more important now, not just for their preventive benefits, but because they can correct cell damage, leading to improved appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

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Eye creams that contain hydrating ingredients and retinol

Retinoids are vitamin A-derived products that can build collagen, repair sun damage and reverse fine lines and wrinkles. This ingredient is highly effective but can prove too irritating to sensitive skin.

Exfoliants are essential to increase skin cell turnover, and bring out more radiant skin. Exfoliants can be easily incorporated into a skincare regimen by introducing an alpha-hydroxy (AHA) or beta-hydroxy (BHA) acid cleanser or lotion. Physical exfoliation using scrubs is also another option, but there is a high risk of being overly aggressive in the application.

50s
By this decade the changes seen in the 40s are more pronounced. As estrogen levels drop post-menopause, the skin’s natural oil production decreases due to the reduced size of the oil glands. The result is even drier skin. The skin also gets more fragile, therefore it is injured easily and is slow to heal. There is also increased loss of elasticity, especially around the eyes. The skin around the neck may also start to droop.

The result:

  • Skin looks dry and lackluster
  • Skin is more sensitive to aggressive anti-aging products
  • Expression lines and wrinkles are deeper
  • Eyelids begin to wrinkle
  • Neck starts to droop

Skincare needs:
Sunscreens in a moisturizing base

Thick moisturizers are best suited for this type of skin

Night cream particularly containing soothing, moisturizing products

Eye creams containing corrective ingredients, in a rich emollient formulation.

60s
The signs of aging are more pronounced in the sixth decade. Wrinkles are well-defined. The effects of gravity on the eyelids, neck, peri-oral area and jawline are more marked. It is less likely that skincare products will be able to correct much of the damage that has occurred by this time. Surgical interventions or cosmetic enhancements might be necessary. A dermatologist or plastic surgeon can correct many of these more advanced facial wrinkles using dermal fillers containing hyaluronic acid, like Restylane, Juvederm and Perlane. Wrinkles caused by repetitive expressions over the years can be corrected with Botox injections.

Products that might help:

  • Olay Total Effects Night Firming Cream Face and Neck (contains vitamin B and vitamin E)
  • ROC Protient Fortify Night Cream (contains DMAE to help firm skin)

For more great skin and beauty tips from Dr. Rosemarie Ingleton, visit www.ingletonmd.com.

© 2013 MSNBC Interactive.  Reprints

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