The Universal Beauty

Skincare in Your 40s vs. Your 20s: Everything You Need to Know

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Skincare in Your 40s vs. Your 20s: Your skin changes as you age, often drastically, which means that if you’re still doing the same skincare routine from your twenties, then it might be time to switch things up. Today, we’re looking at how your skincare should change from your twenties to your forties, and what you should be doing now to prevent signs of aging down the line.

Here’s what you need to know about skincare in your twenties vs. skincare in your forties — from changing up your actives to choosing an anti-aging sunscreen:

Skincare in Your 20s

In your twenties, there’s the skincare that you should be doing…and the skincare that you actually do. Especially in your early twenties, it’s common to sleep in your makeup, only wear sunscreen occasionally and skip beneficial active ingredients altogether — none of which is exactly great for your skin.

In your twenties, it’s still common to struggle with acne, especially hormonal acne related to your cycle. Your skin also tends to be more on the oily side — and while it will become drier as you age, for now, you’re probably focused on managing the shine and treating blemishes when they appear.

Using a face wash with pore-clearing ingredients such as salicylic acid will help to reduce excess oil. Exfoliating one to three times a week will get rid of dead skin cells and help to prevent pimples from forming. If you do get a blemish, a drying spot treatment or a pimple patch will help to clear it up quickly.

If you really struggle with acne in your 20s, and over-the-counter products don’t help with it, consider seeing a dermatologist for help. You might need prescription-strength topical treatments or oral medications (or a combination of both) to treat acne caused by hormonal fluctuations, which can only be prescribed by a dermatologist.

Skincare in your 20s

You’ll also want to wear some kind of moisturizer to prevent moisture loss from compromising your skin barrier. People in their twenties often prefer lightweight moisturizers such as water creams, which pair nicely with more oily skin and look good under makeup. If you aren’t motivated to wear a separate sunscreen, try to find a moisturizer that includes SPF protection so that you can skip a step in your routine.

If you’re willing to make actives a regular part of your routine, they can be beneficial even as early as your twenties. For example, applying over-the-counter retinol at night can help to prevent signs of premature aging and also help to control acne. Antioxidant serums such as vitamin C will help to replenish your skin during the day.

If putting together a routine sounds overwhelming to you, consider selecting a 3-step skincare set based on your skin type and needs. Buying a skincare set takes the guesswork out of it and can make it easier to establish a good skincare routine during the busy years of your twenties.

Skincare in Your 40s

In your forties, your skin will become drier and also begin to show the first signs of aging, which will necessitate some pretty big changes in your skincare routine. First of all, you will want to switch all your products — from your cleanser to your moisturizer — to more hydrating options that will help keep your skin looking dewy and plump.

Cream cleansers full of ceramides and hyaluronic acid will get your face clean without stripping your skin. You’ll also want to use heavier anti-aging moisturizers that will create a protective barrier around your dry skin. You may also need to introduce hydrating serums and masks into your routines to give your skin a burst of extra moisture.

You will also probably find it helpful to introduce a dedicated eye cream (if you aren’t already using one) to moisturize and protect the delicate skin around your eyes, which often shows signs of aging first.

Skincare in your 40s

In terms of ingredients, you will probably want to go up to a prescription-strength retinoid for greater anti-aging benefits. You should continue to use antioxidants and might also want to work peptides into your routine as well to stimulate skin cell production.

You should also continue to vigilantly apply sunscreen every single day, no matter how young or old you are. In your forties, you will probably want to switch to thicker, more moisturizing formulations that will hydrate your skin even as it protects it from the sun. In fact, applying sunscreen and protecting your skin from the sun with a hat and sunglasses is the most effective thing that you can do for anti-aging so make it a habit and stick to it.

In your forties, you might also find yourself interested in exploring professional treatments from a dermatologist or esthetician. These treatments can make a difference in your skin, but it’s important to get them from a licensed or certified practitioner at a reputable practice for the best results.

Have you found that your skin has changed as you aged? What changes have you made to your skincare routine lately? Are you already focusing on anti-aging, or are you leaving that to your future self? Let us know in the comments below!

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