“Am I too old to start caring for my skin?” Of all the questions we’re asked here at Define Clinic, this one has to be up there among the most common.
The funny thing is, it’s a question asked by men and women of all ages.
And whether you are 25 or 65 years young, our answer is always the same: It’s never too late.
In this article, we’ll take a decade-by-decade look at what happens to our skin across the years and dish out some reliable skin care tips for all ages.
When Does Ageing Begin?
Ask a hundred people when they first noticed the signs of ageing and you’ll get a hundred very different answers.
And because everyone – and every complexion – is unique, you’ll also get wildly varying opinions about which signs of are first to appear.
The common wisdom used to be that ageing processes used to kickstart all together at somewhere around age 35. But we now know that different ageing factors start in different decades with the earliest, like weakened antioxidant production, first manifesting in our early 20s.
And it’s the cumulative effect of these processes, rather than any single one, which causes us to one day look in the mirror and wonder what on earth happened?
In Your 20s
Among the first anatomical changes to take place is the slowing of natural antioxidant production in the skin in our 20s, leaving it vulnerable to stress and damage.
Around the mid-20s, collagen production also begins to slow, causing the skin to lose some of its natural bounce and elasticity. Lines and wrinkles are the first signs of reduced collagen, with loose skin and folds following later in life.
Your early 20s is a great time to start with antioxidant-rich products with plenty of vitamins C and E, as well as firming collagen.
In Your 30s
Your metabolism isn’t the only process to begin slowing as you head through your 30s. Skin cells start taking much longer to repair themselves and the slowing of collagen production mentioned earlier accelerates. The result is the first appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and noticeably less elastic skin.
Now’s the time when most people first spot the first effects of sun damage like brown spots and broken capillaries. (If you aren’t yet using daily sun factor protection, start yesterday.)
Now is also the perfect time to begin adding vitamin B3 (niacinamide) to your regime – it’s shown to stimulate skin cells and slow some of the laziness.
In Your 40s
At around mid-age, things unfortunately get worse at the cellular level as senescence begins.
Skin cells now have a much harder time dividing and self-repairing, resulting in a whole host of ageing effects for the complexion. Products rich with glycolic acids, peptides and retinol can help to slow the decline. Changes in the proportions of our first also start to occur, most notably in the cheeks and around the jawline. Dermal fillers to lift and redefine may be worth considering at this point.
In Your 50s and Beyond
In our 50s, the skin barrier becomes weaker, making it much harder for the skin to retain vital moisture.
It’s also around this time that ageing begins to affect more than just complexion. Our facial shape can undergo profound changes as the face flattens, folds deepen, lips thin, and the nose and ears appear longer.
Now is an excellent time to get serious about finding a really effective moisturiser if you haven’t already. And non-surgical procedures like fillers and anti-wrinkle injections can help to keep contours youthful and defined.
From 60 onwards, there are no more surprises, but you can expect an acceleration of the ageing effects already mentioned.
Advice for All Ages
It’s never too late to start looking after your complexion, but it’s never too early either. Even so, if you’ve reached retirement age without lifting a finger to help your skin, it’s not too late to start.
Here are some of our top tips for all ages.
Don’t Wing it
Get to know your skin type and talk to a skincare expert or cosmetic dermatologist about designing a regime that works for you. Being on first-name terms with an expert means you can continue working with them over the years to adapt and change your routine as you age.
Don’t Just Anti-Age
Anti-ageing products are great, but it’s best to use products designed to address more specific problems like moisture and nutrients. Get these right and the anti-ageing will take care of itself.
Once you’ve designed a skincare regime that works for you, make it a daily ritual. You’ll find it makes you feel great as well as helping you defy the clock.