Age may just be a number. Still, it’s natural to want a youthful glow, fewer wrinkles and...if we’re being honest, genuinely surprising people when you reveal your age.
First things first: No matter how old you are, there’s one habit that will keep you looking younger—drinking plenty of water.
“Just like a grape turns to a raisin when it’s dehydrated, the same happens to the cells in our skin,” explains Kim Peirano, DACM, Dipl. OM (NCCAOM), LAc, a doctor of acupuncture and Chinese medicine in San Rafael, California. “This can give skin a dull, lackluster appearance and enhance the look of wrinkles.”
Beyond staying hydrated, there are other ways to fight the effects of aging, according to experts. Here are two things you can do in each decade of life to help turn back time.
If You’re in Your 20s
Your 20s are an ideal time to develop some great skincare routines and self-care rituals.
- Remove makeup every single night: No matter how late it is or how tired you are, remove all makeup before washing your face, says skincare expert Adina Mahalli. “Leaving your makeup on while you sleep can expose your skin to chemicals unnecessarily and increase oxidative stress,” she notes. This can reduce your collagen production, which reduces skin elasticity and causes wrinkles, Mahalli explains.
- Get in a good sunscreen routine: “If you haven't already, be sure to include a high-SPF sunscreen with broad-spectrum protection in your daily routine,” says dermatologist Sheila Krishna, MD. (She advises having a baseline skin exam with a board-certified dermatologist to check for moles or other skin irregularities.) If you do want a sun-kissed look, try organic self-tanning lotions—but dermatologists strongly recommend against the use of tanning beds.
If You’re in Your 30s
When you hit your 30s, it’s time to give more thought to your skincare routine.
- Follow this three-part skincare formula: “Vitamin C, topical retinol and sunscreen are considered the ‘holy trinity’ in dermatology when it comes to maintaining youthful-appearing skin,” says dermatologist Rina Allawh, MD. In addition to using sunscreen faithfully, Allawh suggests investing in a nighttime retinol cream (test to see which works best for you) to help maintain an even complexion and a morning vitamin C serum to help improve skin tone.
- Try microneedling: Beyond facials, you may want to try mild to moderate peels, cosmetic acupuncture and microneedling from a medical professional, says Peirano. “By causing microtraumas to the skin with a needling treatment like acupuncture or microneedling, or from a moderate peel, we trigger the cells in the skin to produce collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid which all improve the appearance of the skin without causing damage,” she explains.
If You’re in Your 40s
Perimenopausal women start to experience hormone fluctuations, Peirano points out, and you may need to adjust some of your self-care routines.
- Change your diet: “Hormone fluctuations cause acne breakouts and oily skin for some women,” Peirano notes. Topical treatments can help, as can a change in diet, she says. “Avoiding triggering foods that are inflammatory in nature, like dairy, wheat and sugar, can help ease the see-saw of hormone fluctuations,” she says.
- Add serums to your skincare routine: In addition to using a daily vitamin C serum, “now is a great time to think about serums formulated to target pigment issues, such as sun spots or age spots,” says Krishna.
If You’re in Your 50s
The quality and density of skin proteins collagen and elastin (as well as that of muscle and bone) decreases with age. That means wrinkles and sagging can become more prominent, Periano says.
- Be strategic with your moisturizer: Moisturizers only keep moisture in—they don’t actually add moisture, Peirano explains. She suggests applying moisturizer when your skin is at peak hydration, right after a shower. “Lightly dry the skin, but not fully, then apply moisturizer,” she says. “This way you’re locking in your natural moisture in the most efficient way possible.”
- Add in peptides: Collagen peptides are great for this stage of life as they can help maintain moisture and stimulate collagen production, leading to a firmer, more hydrated look, says licensed esthetician Leah Wilms. “Keeping up with exfoliation will help with cell turnover as well as allowing products to penetrate deeper in the skin,” Wilms adds.
If You’re in Your 60s and Above
After menopause, the lack of estrogen can cause an increase in androgen hormones like testosterone, Periano says. This can cause facial hair growth and drier skin.
- Work with an herbalist: A licensed herbalist, acupuncturist, naturopath or nutritionist may be able to help you design an herbal regimen customized to your needs.
- Try oils: “The skin may feel more dry as it ages, and now is a great time to use a thicker moisturizer or even a facial oil to restore smoothness,” Krishna says, adding that laser and light-based procedures may also be helpful.
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**These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.