From 19 to 99: What Your Skin Needs Now
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What Your Skin Needs Right Now1 of 11
By Lisa Cohen Lee
Your face is the first thing that the world sees, so you want it to look its best at every age. Whether you're in your 20s and plagued by the occasional blemish, in your 30s and starting to obsess over barely-there fine lines, or in your 60s and hoping to tighten and tone your face, Glo has the most essential skincare advice by the decade.
In Your 20s2 of 11
If you only do one thing: Your skin may look great now, but mistakes you make in your 20s can show up as fine lines, dark spots and wrinkles later on. "I can't say enough how important it is to wear sunscreen. Apply SPF every day, rain or shine. It's essential for skin-cancer prevention and anti-aging," says Neal Schultz, M.D., a dermatologist in Manhattan. Look for products with titanium or zinc oxide (the most potent blockers) and natural antioxidants like green tea, which fight free radicals. Finally, don't skimp on moisturizing: A lightweight lotion maintains a healthy moisture level.
In Your 20s3 of 11
Your crucial quick fix: You may be well out of your teens, but your skin's oil levels didn't get the memo, which means you're still contending with the occasional pimple. Treat spots with benzoyl-peroxide gel that will sop up the grease, gradually exfoliate and fight the bacteria that causes blemishes. Also, wash morning and night to keep makeup and grime from clogging your pores; use a gentle exfoliating scrub twice a week (daily if you're very oily).
In Your 30s4 of 11
If you only do one thing: This is the decade when your face becomes drier, so it's time to give your formulas a moisture upgrade. "Your natural barrier function is beginning to break down. A cream with ceramides simulates the barrier's function, protects it and keeps your skin hydrated," says Glenn Kolansky, M.D., a dermatologist in Tinton Falls, N.J. Swap out your light formulas for more hydrating ones to get a smoother complexion (lines show up more on dry skin).
In Your 30s5 of 11
Your crucial quick fix: This is the decade when fine lines begin to appear, especially around the eyes where skin is naturally more delicate. And, unlike during your 20s, dark under-eye circles are now more deeply colored, puffier and harder to hide. Enter the eye cream: One loaded with peptides will help hydrate skin, smoothing out lines. For those with serious raccoon eyes, look for ingredients like ginseng and caffeine to help depuff and brighten.
In Your 40s6 of 11
If you only do one thing: If you haven't already, it's time to get serious about your age-fighting products come your 40s. "Go for higher strengths of active ingredients, like 1 percent retinols, in your reparative formulas. If you can tolerate it, those will give you better and faster results," says Mitchell Chasin, M.D., a cosmetic physician and skincare expert in Livingston, N.J.
In Your 40s7 of 11
Your crucial quick fix: Your natural glow may be fading, thanks to surface cells that aren't sloughing off as quickly these days. "The cells are clinging to your skin and showing up as flakes, which makes your face look older," says Dr. Schultz. But you can get your glow back with a few key steps: Incorporate a weekly at-home 2 percent glycolic peel or use a gentle microdermabrasion tool regularly (check the product's instructions for advice on frequency).
In Your 50s8 of 11
If you only do one thing: As estrogen levels drop in this decade, your oil glands' production slows, which means your skin now needs a heavier dose of hydration. Switch out lighter moisturizing formulas in favor of richer, creamier ones. A product with hyaluronic acid (a moisture-attracting ingredient that pulls water into the skin) will also give skin a plumper, dewier appearance.
In Your 50s9 of 11
Your crucial quick fix: Those vertical expression lines around your lips—caused by talking, smoking or drinking from a straw—are more noticeable in this decade. Dr. Schultz says, "As we get older, it gets harder to make functional elasticity in the skin." Try a serum or cream that includes fibrillin (a naturally occurring protein that gives skin elasticity and suppleness). All dermatologists stress that firming creams can be effective, but the results are only temporary.
In Your 60s and Beyond10 of 11
If you only do one thing: With natural oil production at a minimum, your skin begins to thin and dry out in this decade. Your skin may be more reactive now, turning red at the slightest irritant, so you might need gentler active ingredients in your lotions. Also pick a cleanser with a mild, soap-free formula.
In Your 60s and Beyond11 of 11
Your crucial quick fix: Combating sagging is now your primary goal. Loose skin is "caused not only by the loss of elasticity, but also fat that diminishes your face," says Dr. Schultz. Try a plumping serum with collagen to improve skin's tone and texture; though that won't give you the same effects as the injectable filler, it can give you a dewier, fuller look. Another smart move is to pat on moisturizer throughout the day, whenever skin feels dry, says Dr. Schultz.