What You Need to Know About Your Skin in Your 20s, 30s, and 40sThe skin on your face undergoes radical changes as you get older.
What You Need to Know About Your Skin in Your 20s
HOW YOU AGE:
If you want to skimp, do it here. “Cleansers are in contact with the skin for only 30 seconds twice a day, so they’re limited in terms of how much they can do for you,” says David E. Bank, a dermatologist in Mount Kisco, New York. For oily skin, any drugstore-brand antibacterial soap (like Dial) will do. A fancier option is a gel with glycolic acid (which helps shed the top layer of skin). If you have dry skin, opt for a mild cleanser, like Cetaphil, that’s labeled “non-soap”—regular soaps contain moisture-sapping ingredients.
MOISTURIZER WITH SUNSCREEN
Using sunblock is the best way to prevent your skin from aging prematurely. These days, most drugstore brands have added sunscreen to their moisturizers, so it doesn’t require an extra step to apply it. For dry skin, try thicker, more concentrated moisturizing creams or ointments—the sort that come in a jar (like your wife’s Crème de la Mer). If you have oily skin, skip lotion and just use a toner and a light spray-on sunscreen. “It’s a little bit of a myth hat everyone has to wear lotion,” Bank says.
What You Need to Know About Your Skin in Your 30s
If you’re on a harsh-soap-and-no-lotion regimen, you’ll want to reconsider as you get older and your skin gets drier. “This is the decade for the most dramatic change,” Bank says. “The guy who is oily at 31 may not be at 39.”
WHAT TO ADD
Before bed, apply a lightweight facial serum (basically, a more concentrated moisturizer) with simple anti-aging ingredients, such as retinol (vitamin A), glycolic acid, vitamin C, or vitamin E. Don’t be tempted by heavy night creams for now. “Those won’t feel good until your forties,” Bank says.
After late nights, it’s a good fix for dark under-eye circles. Use one with caffeine, which constricts the dilated blood vessels that make that area look sunken.
If you use a night serum containing retinol or glycolic acid, it will already be exfoliating your skin. But if you still think your face looks dull, try using a gentle facial scrub (body scrubs are too harsh) once a week.
What You Need to Know About Your Skin in Your 40s
Your skin is likely to have lost a lot of moisture. So if you haven’t already, switch to a gentle non-soap cleanser and a daily lotion with sunscreen. Keep using an eye cream and exfoliator as well.
WHAT TO CHANGE
Upgrade your nightly anti-aging product to a thicker cream that’s rich in natural lipids (fats)—one too thick to squeeze through a tube. “It does more than help your appearance,” Bank says. “It reverses sun damage—which helps in avoiding skin cancer.” Or, if you’re seeing lots of fine lines, you may want to ask your dermatologist about a prescription anti-aging cream, such as Retin-A.
WHAT TO ADD
Once a week, use a hydrating mask with cleansing ingredients like glycerin and moisturizers like hyluronic acid and soy protein to help unclog pores and plump up sagging skin. Plus, every two to four months, visit your dermatologist for a glycolic peel and a microdermabrasion treatment.
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