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Different factors can affect how you take care of your skin. That said, there’s one significant factor that should always be considered when it comes to skincare – your age. This is because your skin changes with every passing decade. As such, the products you use, and the ingredients they contain, should do the same.

Think about how flawless the likes of Jennifer Lopez, Shakira, and Naomi Campbell look at every age. This is because they make sure to cater to the skincare needs that every new decade brings. They make use of specific, active ingredients that help to keep their skin healthy. What’s more, these ingredients also help to effectively address the concerns that time may bring. That said, if you’re looking for flawless skin at every stage of your life, here’s what you should look out for.

Essential skincare ingredients for every decade

Your 20s

Let’s be honest, a lot of us use this decade of our lives to be as hedonistic as possible. We often show little concern about the impact it will have on our health or skin. Unfortunately, the manner in which we treat our bodies will set the foundation of how healthy they’ll be in the decades to come.

Yes, you may think that the flawlessness your skin exudes in your 20s means that you’ll still look the same forever. Unfortunately, this couldn’t be further from the truth. If you really want to maintain the appearance and health of your skin that you have in your 20s into your later years, then there are two specific ingredients that you should make sure your 20-year-old self is using.

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1. Sunscreen

Yes, technically it’s a product and not an ingredient. But this is a tool that every 20-year-old needs to have in their arsenal. According to a study from the Queensland University of Technology, young people are at risk of suffering the worst skin damage they will receive during their lifetime. As such, it’s important to take preventive measures.

That said, your sunscreen shouldn’t be infused with your moisturizer or any other product as this can dilute its effectiveness. Rather, invest in a separate product. Make sure that it’s a broad-spectrum with an SPF of at least 30, and free of any toxic ingredients such as avobenzone and homosalate.

2. Alpha hydroxy acids

By the time you turn 25, the rate at which your skin is able to renew itself begins to slow down. Skin renewal means the removal of dead skin cells to make space for new skin cells. Additionally, this is around the same time that you begin to notice the first signs of aging so regular exfoliation begins to play an important role.

 Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), like glycolic acid and lactic acid, are derived from fruits and milk, and they are chemical exfoliants. They help dissolve dead skin cells and encourage the skin renewal process. This then allows for a fresher and much smoother appearance. There’s also the diminishing of any emerging fine lines and wrinkles.

Your 30s

Bad news – all that invincibility that you feel in your 20s, has officially lowered by the time you reach your 30s. This is because your levels of collagen and elastin, which helps to keep your skin smooth and supple, have lowered, as has your skin’s rate of cell turnover.  Thankfully, there exists an ingredient that can help to address these issues.


A vitamin A derivative, retinol is the skincare ingredient that your 30-year-old skin needs.

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For one, it helps to promote healthy cell turnover, which unfortunately slows down in your 30s, leaving you with a much brighter complexion. Additionally, hyperpigmentation tends to become much more obvious in your 30s, and this is another factor that retinol can help to address.

What’s more, being a vitamin A derivative, retinol can help to stimulate the production of collagen and elastin which can help to both treat and prevent wrinkles.

Your 40s

Once you hit your 40s, your cell turnover rate is twice as slow as it was in your 20s., which means that you’re more likely to wrinkle, and scar. That said, you need all the help you can get. Luckily, there is an ingredient that can help you hydrate and protect your skin in your 40s.


Ceramides are essential for your skin’s health as they help to improve both hydration and the overall texture. They’re molecules that help to hold the skin cells together as well as keep in moisture. Unfortunately, as part of aging, the skin becomes less effective at producing, and you’re left with dry and wrinkled skin. That said, making sure that your skincare products include ceramides can help prevent this.

Your 50s and beyond

In your 50s and the years that follow, your skin cell turnover rate, collagen levels, antioxidant activity, hydration are at an all-time low.  That said, it’s important to include effective ingredients that can help address these issues, all while protecting your skin for years to come.

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1. Hyaluronic Acid

The ultimate hydration ingredient, hyaluronic acid, can help not only prevent dryness. but it can also help to plump up the skin, thus improving the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

2. Peptides

Peptides are the building blocks that make proteins, and they’re exactly what your skin needs, especially in your later years. This is because they help to trigger the production of collagen, and as we know, this can help to minimize the appearance of wrinkles, leaving you with a more youthful appearance.

The bottom line

Your skin is the largest organ in your body, and it’s important to take great care of it over the years. That said, it’s important to remember that what worked for your skin in your 20s, isn’t necessarily going to work as well when you’re in your 30s, let alone your 40s. Therefore, as your skin changes throughout the years, it’s important to make sure that your routine also does, so that it can meet its needs.


Kimlin, M.G, Guo, Y. (2012). Assessing the impacts of lifetime sun exposure on skin damage and skin aging using a non-invasive method, Science of The Total Environment, Volume 425, Pages 35-41, ISSN 0048-9697,

Pie Mulumba

Pie Mulumba

Pie Mulumba is a journalist graduate and writer, specializing in health, beauty, and wellness. She also has a passion for poetry, equality, and natural hair. Identifiable by either her large afro or colorful locks, Pie aspires to provide the latest information on how one can adopt a healthy lifestyle and leave a more equitable society behind.


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