‘As you move from your teens to 20s, your puberty hormones start to stabilise and, as a result, most people in this age group will see a reduction in the frequency of acne and breakouts,’ explains dermatologist Dr Anita Sturnham. However, that doesn’t mean you should take your foot off the pedal in terms of preventative skincare. ‘Use a detoxifying cleanser containing ingredients such as salicylic acid, a fruit acid that has a deep pore-cleansing action and helps to regulate oil control. Follow with a water-based antioxidant toner to rebalance skin pH. Integrate these products with gentler cleansing options for the other half of your regime. I usually recommend that the gentler steps are reserved for the morning, while bedtime is dedicated to the more active products. This is a simple, yet effective, way to keep your pores healthy and blemishes away,’ says Dr Sturnham. And because prevention is better than cure, now is a great time to get into the practice of wearing a daily SPF. ‘This will help prevent ageing from UV rays, which shows up on the skin as wrinkles and dark spots later in life,’ says Dr Joyce Park, Bare Minerals’ global dermatology ambassador.
One of the main things that happens around your 30s, which can lead to those first fine lines and wrinkles, is accumulative UV radiation damage, caused by skin’s exposure to sunlight. ‘This leads to thinning of the epidermal (top) layers, reduced lipid barrier health and also the reduction of important skin hydrators, such as hyaluronic acid. For this reason, it’s especially important that our skincare products preserve our skin’s natural pH levels and work hard to support our epidermal barrier health,’ says Dr Sturnham. ‘We also know that from the age of 20, we lose approximately 1% to 1.5% of our collagen every single year. So by 30, our collagen and elastin – the important stretchy proteins that keep our skin looking smooth and line-free – have been significantly depleted.’ This is where products packed with ceramides and vitamin C come into their own.
‘I seriously recommend adding a hyaluronic acid (HA)-based moisturiser to your routine at this stage,’ says Dr Park. ‘Hyaluronic acid is a powerful humectant (moisture retainer), holding up to 1,000 times its own weight in water. The production of HA in our skin declines with age, so it’s important to add this effective ingredient to our beauty regime. Because women in their 40s have increased dryness, I advise increasing the use of serums after toners and before moisturisers, twice a day, to add extra hydration, and consider face masks a few times a week, especially during dry winters.’ Your hormones could also be affecting your complexion. ‘Declining oestrogens (female sex hormones) lead to an imbalance and dominance of testosterone (androgens), which can lead to increased oil production, bacterial overgrowth and spots. Many women in this age group suffer with adult acne, and adding in pore-clarifying products, such as a salicylic acid cleanser, a retinoid-based serum and non-pore clogging moisturiser, are essential additions to your skincare routine,’ recommends Dr Sturnham.
‘In this age group, cellular turnover has declined significantly and there’s a build-up of old, dead skin, making pores appear larger, while skin looks dull and lifeless,’ explains Dr Sturnham. ‘The production of collagen and elastin declines further, while the rate of collagen breakdown increases. This results in deeper lines, wrinkles and sagging skin. During this phase, I recommend using a fruit acid mask rich in ingredients such as glycolic acid and lactic acid to help speed up surface cell turnover. To support collagen production, serums are really crucial. Use a vitamin-C loaded serum in the morning. At night, a retinoid-based serum is a must. This multi-tasking skin nutrient boosts collagen, fights cell damage and improves skin tone, radiance and pore health. Due to weakened barrier function, richer textures and non-pore clogging (non-comedogenic) moisturisers are recommended.’
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