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Your Valuable Anti-Aging Guide for Every Decade

By: Carly Schuna , Reviewed By: Dr. Emmy Graber

Woman's face

Until scientists crack the code and discover a way to reverse the signs of aging — proactive skincare should be your best friend. Whether you're just getting into skincare or looking to repair those decades of baking in the sun, use your current age as a guide to figure out a daily routine to keep your skin looking healthy and glowing in every decade.

Your 20s


The best thing you can do for your skin in your 20s is to focus on prevention. It's likely you're maintaining those plump, elastic cheeks of your youth in this decade, so enjoy and preserve them while they last. As a first line of defense, wear sunscreen suited for your skin type whenever you go out — even if it's not during the height of summertime. Sun damage is the primary cause of wrinkles, so wearing sunscreen really is a big deal. Opt for a gentle retinol two or three nights a week that can help prevent breakouts, undo some sun damage and boost collagen production.

Your 30s


Your 30s are a great time to focus on caring for your skin by establishing healthy lifelong habits. Diet, exercise, stress levels, alcohol use and sleep patterns might seem to be independent from your outward appearance, but there's actually a strong link between your lifestyle and the way your skin looks. If you're healthy on the inside, you're more likely to look healthy on the outside, too. Since the first place wrinkles show up on many people is around the eyes, your late 20s and early 30s are the perfect time to start applying eye cream daily. To prevent skin breakdown, look for products that contain antioxidants and retinols, which can preserve and stimulate collagen production all over the face. For the nights you're not using retinol, sneak in a weekly peel or potent exfoliant like glycolic or lactic acid to speed cellular turnover.

Your 40s


Age 40 is about the time when the outermost layer of your skin starts to become dry and flaky, and the dermis underneath begins thinning and losing elasticity. You might start to panic about the effects of aging during this decade, since changes in your skin that weren't visible before can suddenly seem all too obvious. To prevent increasing dryness, use a moisturizing cleanser daily. A product that contains glycerin is a great choice since it seals in moisture, especially if you apply it after showering. Daily exfoliation is also smart. Your skin naturally exfoliates, but that process slows down as you age, so try an exfoliating cleanser to remove dead, flaky skin cells and leave you feeling clean and refreshed.

Your 50s


In this decade, you want to continue all the good skin care habits you started practicing in your 40s, including daily cleansing and moisturizing. Use a cleanser that won't dry out your skin but that will effectively remove dirt and makeup. If you're experiencing menopause, switching to an exfoliator that contains alpha-hydroxy acids may help clear up any related acne. And if your over-the-counter retinoid products don't seem to be cutting it anymore, speak with your dermatologist about prescription formulas. Visible wrinkles are normal at this age, but you can minimize them with products such as anti-aging eye cream with active antioxidant properties.

60s and Beyond


As you settle into your golden years, modify your routine slightly by exfoliating less frequently, especially with harsh cleansers. Instead, focus on moisturizing and using gentle products that will be kind to worn and dry skin. Go for creams, serums and other hydrating items that are designed to retain moisture and protect healthy cells. Continue to apply an anti-aging, hydrating eye cream at night before you go to bed to help stave off wrinkles and improve existing damage. Keep up with the moisturizer and cleanser and don't forget the sunscreen!

This article has been reviewed by board-certified dermatologist Dr. Emmy Graber.

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