It’s a tricky one.
First, let’s clarify what we mean by “anti-ageing” skincare.
“These are products formulated with higher percentage of active ingredients like vitamins B or C, and retinol, that target specific signs of ageing, and your mid-to late 20s is a good time to start using these, as it’s when skin is working at its best, and prevention is better than cure,” explains skin practitioner Sarah Hudson. (Side note, Hudson’s quick answers to two other recurrent skin queries are: start wearing a dedicated daily sunscreen “right now!” – SPF in your foundation doesn’t count – and all skin types can begin using eye cream from their early to mid 20s.)
If you’re anything like us, you love a list, so we asked Hudson to outline the ideal skincare routine for various age groups and skin types.
Now is the time to get into good skin habits, so keep it simple and consistent with twice-daily cleansing and light moisturising that won’t clog pores. Those with combination skin can include a lactic acid cleanser, salicylic acid toner, and clay mask, to help keep the complexion clear and hydrated.
“Oil production starts to normalise, so there’s less breakouts, but you might start experiencing dehydration,” explains Hudson.
An antioxidants or peptide serum in the AM can guard against free radical and pollution damage, preserve and boost collagen, and help brighten skin, while vitamin A in the PM enhances cell turnover and improves texture and tone. Hyaluronic acid helps plump fine lines caused by dehydration, and AHAs and BHAs, either “in a cleanser that also gently exfoliates skin, or in a serum that doubles as a leave-on, overnight exfoliating treatment,” she says.
Ceramides and essential fatty acids can support barrier function on dry and sensitive types, and a face oil offers a moisture kick without causing acne. Combination and oily skins might find themselves in a conundrum. “You’ve probably used harsh skincare that has stripped your natural oils, so your skin might be dehydrated – look for serums with ingredients that treat congestion and dehydration, like niacinamide, which is both hydrating and normalises oil production,” advises Hudson.
Cell renewal starts slowing down, so regular and gentle exfoliation for all skin types will help things along.
“If you had dry skin in your 20s, it gets drier in your 30s and starts to become dull and devitalised, so focus on extreme hydration with oil-and-water based serums, aloe vera exfoliants and shea butter face masks, plus vitamin A to maintain skin health,” she says. Overnight exfoliants keep combo and oily skin smooth, and as collagen diminishes really quickly in your 30s, everyone should now be using eye cream twice a day.
“LED phototherapy can be used on every skin type and condition, even in your teens or early 20s, to improve the quality of the complexion,” she says. Hudson is also a fan of peels, customised to treat anything from dry and rosacea skins, to more congested complexions, skin needling, which stimulates collagen production and helps minimise the appearance of acne scarring (lasers can also help treat these), and extraction facials, which Hudson notes can be effective at removing blackheads, but in some cases can make pimples worse, so never attempt DIY removal and always see a professional.
One final note: wear sunscreen, eat well, move, and smile as much as possible, because the truth is that if you’re not ageing, you’re dead. So look at those laugh lines and think, #blessed.
Tell us, do you have an ‘anti-ageing’ skin regimen?
Which skincare products or treatments are planning on adding to your routine?