How to achieve great skin at any age

It's never too late to take care of your complexion.
Middle-aged woman in bathrobe looking at mirror in bathroom and touching her face, applying hydrating anti-aging cosmetics on her skin and smiling.

With each decade our body’s and of course its biggest organ, the skin’s needs change. If in our 30s it’s UV damage (and possibly the after-effects of all the partying we did at uni), then in our 40s and beyond, hormonal changes start having a big impact.
The good news is, evolving our skincare routine with the times can help manage these issues, and help us maintain youthful, glowing skin even as we embrace getting older.
We asked leading experts for their top skincare tips for women of all ages.

Smiling beautiful young woman look in mirror touches healthy facial skin, do morning beauty skincare face procedures. Beauty treatment, cosmetology.

The best skincare for your 30s

With hormonal skin issues in the rear-view mirror for many, this is the decade of clear complexions and easy radiance. The only downside is that careless skincare habits from your 20s may show up. For instance, the impact of environmental damage, which includes pollution, UV-rays and even blue light, all lead to premature ageing. And if your skin hasn’t been well protected or hydrated, fine lines and uneven skin-tone may emerge too.

How to look after your skin in your 30s

In a nutshell, take your vitamins (topically). Dr Naomi McCullum, founder of The Manse Clinic and Dr Naomi Skin, says that now is the time to add the one ingredient that both brightens, repairs and protects from environmental assault: vitamin C. The best formulas help tackle free radical damage (which is what occurs when we face-off against pollution and blue light) while working on underlying damage.

  • Sunday Riley’s C.E.O Glow, $68, is a lightweight oil that will nourish dry skin.
  • Dr Naomi Let’s C Pro-Collagen Serum, $139, combines three types of Vitamin C; Perricone MD Vitamin C Ester Brightening & Exfoliating Peel, $84, will repair and brighten while helping buff away dead skin cells too.
  • What does the doctor say?

When you want to invest in boosting your glow, energy-based treatments such as Kleresca and IPL can rejuvenate skin of all ages, as can Hydra Facials and light peels. “I love Omnilux for quickly rejuvenating skin without causing too much inflammation,” says Dr Jan Knight, founder of Intelligent Ageing in Neutral Bay, Sydney. If you’re starting to notice impressions from your static lines, then small injections of Botox can help too. “Just be aware that placement is key. I see a lot of women who have had their faces changed from having too much Botox injected. See a doctor who understands that a little can go a long way in terms of relaxing active wrinkles,” says Dr Knight.

Smiling woman applying moisturiser on face in bathroom at home.

Skincare tips for your 40s & 50s

Every woman dreads that moment when a well-meaning friend/spouse/ parent observes: “you look tired”. The reality is that you may feel perfectly fine … it’s your complexion that is starting to look fatigued. “That’s because the skin’s natural exfoliation process is starting to slow, and there’s also less collagen and elastin to maintain the skin’s firmness,” says Dr McCullum. The complaints that doctors hear most often from patients during this time mostly revolve around dullness and lacklustre skin. Rediscovering your radiance and helping maintain firmness is the key challenge.

How to look after your skin in your 40s and 50s

If you’re not already using retinol, now is the time to add this gold-standard anti-ager to your nightly routine. “Prescription retinoic acids like tretinoin pack a punch for their anti-ageing and anti-pigment effects,” says Dr Rodrigues. “Scientific research has demonstrated that they boost collagen formation, improve skin luminosity, even out very fine wrinkles and can improve pigmentary changes on the skin.” If you’d prefer to start with an over-the-counter formula, the key is to find one that suits your skin type.

What does the doctor say?

On the tools … Tighten facial contours and boost tone with a micro-current device. Nuface Mini Facial Toner, $280, helps stimulate the deeper tissues in the face with a kind of gentle buzzy-feeling. The catch is that you need to use it religiously to enjoy any benefits.

How to achieve your skincare goals in your 60s+

When oestrogen levels drop after menopause, skin becomes drier and doesn’t retain moisture. It can also thin and become more vulnerable to injury and sensitivity. That’s why your regimen needs to help skin feel comfortable, and also appear vibrant. If you’ve been gradually building the habits and power players we have discussed earlier in the feature, keep those going. And on top of that, moisture is now your skin’s top priority.

How to look after your skin in your 60s

When grappling with dryness, it’s not only what you add to your regimen but what you remove that can make all the difference. So, cast an eye over the daily formulas you may have been using for years: a foaming cleanser should become a cream one. The ritual of toning can be swapped for an essence that feels just as refreshing but is far more hydrating. And lighter lotions and creams can be switched for facial oils or hyaluronic acid-packed serums that keep skin feeling comfortable all night long.

According to Dr Rodrigues, the most important ingredients to add are ceramides. “They are naturally- occurring fatty molecules that make up the majority of the top layer of the skin. As we age, ceramide concentrations within the skin decrease and barrier function can become compromised.” So, we know they’re essential for protection and comfort. Some formulas to try: Go-To Very Useful Face Cream, $45; Lancôme Hydra Zen Anti-Stress Moisturising Cream, $112 and Tatcha The Dewy Skin Cream, $72.

What does the doctor say?

Treating uneven skin tone with a doctor’s help is a wonderful way to rejuvenate skin. “The exact treatment depends on the cause of the pigmentation. I recommend niacinamide, azelaic acid, retinoids and prescription tyrosinase inhibitors,” says Dr Rodrigues. “There are also prescribed creams, tablets, peels and laser and energy-based devices that will assist with some forms of hyperpigmentation and uneven skin tone.”

Don’t forget your neck

It’s essential to extend serums and moisturiser down to your décolletage to prevent this delicate skin ageing faster than your face.

The one skincare product everyone needs

Regardless of your relationship with sunscreen to date, dermatologists stress that it’s never too late to start protecting your skin. “A TGA-approved broad- spectrum SPF 50+ sunscreen will prevent some fine lines and wrinkles, pigmentation and skin cancer,” says Dr Michelle Rodrigues, dermatologist and founder of Chroma Dermatology. “For those with skin of colour, a sunscreen containing iron oxide (or even just a tint) provides essential protection from visible light which can affect pigmentation.” She recommends Solbari Moisturising SPF50 Face Sunscreen, $40.

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