As we change throughout life so does our physical skin. Our skin begins to lose its elasticity, wrinkles appear, and lines begin to form around our eyes and mouth. That’s not to say that these hallmarks of natural aging don’t give off their own sort of beauty – of wisdom, worldliness and a certain sexiness that only comes with maturity – but our skin is different when we’re in our mid-20s than when we’re in our 50s.
Knowing what to expect at your age, whatever it may be, is the first step to staying beautiful. So give our age-by-age breakdown a look to see what your skin should be expecting:
Entering the Real World: Mid-20s
You’re finally out in the real world. You’ve landed that first big job, maybe even your own apartment. “It’s the optimal time to start thinking about the aging of your skin,” says Dr. Mary Lupo, a New Orleans-based dermatologist. “Prevention is always less expensive and, over time, more effective.”
Here’s what to expect: Prevention is key. If you’re staying up late – be it partying or working – you may want to start on an anti-aging regimen that can fend off wrinkles and lines. Dr. Lupo emphasizes the basics: sleep, wash your face and begin a skin care regimen. Also, try to prevent exposure to pollution, 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.
Beginning to Figure It All Out: 30s
Your 30s are when you really begin to discover who you are and what you want out of life. Your career may be in full swing and perhaps you’re thinking of settling down. But don’t let the busyness of it all stress you out.
What to expect: “Stress can manifest itself on skin in various ways, but lack of energy or time from daily activities can also cause skin issues from lack of proper care,” says Carolyn Hsu, a beauty writer and co-founder of The Daily Obsession.
At this age, Hsu notes, a few so-called “imperfections” may be showing up, too. Consider products that address the effects of environmental damage and pollution – major contributors to skin aging. To make your skin routine less stressful, consider high performance products with multiple benefits like hydration, sun protection and repair or protection from past damage all in one.
A Newfound Youth: 40s
For many women, 40 is a newfound youth complete with girlfriend getaways, adventurous family vacations, and exotic retreats without the kids. Amidst it all, consistency in your beauty routine is the name of the game.
What to expect: Unfortunately, your 40s aren’t all fun and games. “Once you’re in your 40s, you’re starting to deal with actual wrinkles,” says Nadine Jolie, author and beauty expert. Lines around your lips, nose, mouth, and the “frown lines” between your eyebrows are starting to come in to fuller view.
A good diet, daily moisturizing and more advanced skin care products to repair environmental damage all can make a difference at this age. “Consistency is key,” Jolie says. “If you take care of your skin your skin will take care of you.”
50s and Beyond
You may be thinking about retiring from work, but it’s not time to retire from the skin care game! Moisture is your main concern here. Sagging, jowling and hollowing will likely have begun no matter how well you’ve taken care of your skin, says Dr. Lupo. Remember the basics: cleanse and hydrate, and think about using a petroleum jelly to seal in that moisture after applying your creams or serums.