The Best Anti-Aging Products for Every Decade of Your Life
Skin experts reveal the right ingredients and best anti-aging products to use for a glowing complexion for your skin type and age.
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Using anti-aging skin care products at any age
We can’t turn back the hands of time no matter how much we fight it. As the years go by, our skin begins to show the signs of aging, ranging from wrinkles to dark circles. However, the use of anti-aging skincare products can help prevent or minimize the aging process in any decade.
To get started, read on to learn about the right ingredients and best anti-aging products to use for a glowing complexion for your skin type and age, according to skin experts.
If you’re in your 20s and don’t wear sunscreen…
Some people in this decade may forget to regularly apply sunscreen, but it’s arguably the most important time to use it. “Twenty-year-olds should be reapplying sunscreen every two hours when outdoors (even on cloudy days) in order to minimize the chances of developing sun damage and premature wrinkling,” says Shay Moinuddin, RN, aesthetic nurse specialist/practice manager at The Few Institute in Chicago. LaRoche Posay Anthelios Clear Skin SPF 60 is her go-to sunscreen and among the best anti-aging products since it’s mineral-based and “gives instant sun protection. “This sunscreen is non-comedogenic [it won’t block pores], oil-free, water-resistant for up to 80 minutes, and has unique oil-absorbing ingredients such as silica, which helps to reduce shine and keep the skin looking matte and fresh,” she says. Check out these anti-aging secrets dermatologists won’t tell you for free.
If you’re in your 20s and suffer from acne…
It’s not uncommon to suffer from oily and acne-prone skin during this decade. To help fight greasiness, battle breakouts, and shrink pore sizes, Michelle Yagoda, MD, a facial plastic surgeon in New York City, recommends Glyderm Gentle Cleanser. “Its pH is between 1.9 and 2.1, which makes it the strongest and most effective glycolic product on the market,” she says. She also recommends BeautyMe dietary supplement by Opus Skincare for the first five days of a 20-something’s period, as it keeps skin healthy, fresh, and blemish-free. “You mix one delicious scoop into your juice, smoothie, coffee, tea, water, or yogurt and say goodbye to period-skin,” she adds.
If you’re in your 20s and have sensitive skin
If you have especially sensitive skin, it’s even more important to wear sunscreen to prevent skin damage. “Sunscreen gives you a head start on anti-aging and protects your skin so you have less to worry about later,” says Dendy Engelman, MD, a dermatologist at Manhattan Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery in New York City. She thinks an eye cream for all skin types as one of the best anti-aging products since the under-eye skin is so incredibly thin. “Aging shows here first, so I recommend a mild formula such as RoC Retinol Correxion Anti-Aging Eye Cream to those in their 20s.” Here are skin rules to live by for every stage of your life.
If you’re in your 20s and have dry skin
Keeping the skin hydrated with a moisturizer is key since dry skin can start premature aging, explains Dr. Engelman. Her go-to for all-around moisturizing is Cetaphil Daily Moisturizer with SPF. “You will be protecting skin from environmental damage, but also gentle enough for acne-prone skin,” she adds.
If you’re in your 30s and still dealing with acne
Still battling pesky breakouts into your 30s? Dr. Engelman recommends enhancing your cleansing routine with a sonic cleansing brush, such as the Clarisonic to remove dead skin cells and clear the way for better penetration of products. She also recommends using a serum, such as Elizabeth Arden Prevage Anti-Aging + Intensive Repair Eye Serum to keep your face moist without overdoing it. “Skin regeneration is at its height between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m., so this is the best time to help the skin repair,” she adds. Here’s why adult acne happens and what you can do about it.
If you’re in your 30s and show signs of sun damage
Vitamin C serums are Dr. Engelman’s go-to for anti-aging and reversing sun damage—even as early as your 30s. “Collagen production will be increased as well as cell turnover, so, by this decade, we start to lose 10 percent of our collagen every ten years,” she says. For this reason, she recommends a collagen supplement from a reputable brand, such as Reserveage Collagen Replenish powder. “This odorless, tasteless powder is easily mixed into any beverage, so it’s easy to incorporate no matter your lifestyle.” (Read more about collagen powder benefits and how it works.)
If you’re in your 30s and have dry skin
To give your skin the ultimate boost of hydration it’s thirsting for, Dr. Engelman recommends sleeping masks such as Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask as one of the best anti-aging products. She also advises frequent peels to lift pigmentation on dull skin and reduce fine lines. “Light therapy facials will increase collagen production, oxygenate the skin, and destroy bacteria,” she adds. Last, but not least, add her favorite—she believes it’s the gold standard of skin care for all decades—Skinceuticals CE Ferulic. “This product will noticeably reduce fine lines and wrinkles while improving overall skin appearance.” These everyday habits cause wrinkles.
If you’re in your 40s and still using the same cleanser
According to Dr. Engelman, it’s time for something more gentle, like a cleansing oil. She uses Elizabeth Arden Cleansing Oil to gently remove impurities. “As we age, we lose subcutaneous fat, which usually serves to camouflage the vascularity and contour deficits below the surface of the skin,” she says. “Additionally, age-related changes enhance the shadows caused by the concavities of the face where there was once more fat, worsening imperfections like dark circles.” In addition to gentler cleansing, she recommends incorporating foods with healthy fats, such as nuts, seeds, and avocado, which can help support the skin structure, promote elasticity and neutralize free radicals.
If you’re in your 40s and haven’t tried retinol
If you haven’t started, this is your time to add retinol to your regimen. “Retinol is the only medicine proven to decrease wrinkles while simultaneously resurfacing the skin, helping clear sun damage, building collagen and preventing fine lines from forming,” says Lily Talakoub, MD, a dermatologist at McLean Dermatology and Skincare Center in McLean, Virginia. Moinuddin recommends ROC Deep Wrinkle Serum as a starting point. “This corrective product can be used under your night cream and regular use will help to dramatically improve skin texture,” she adds. These strange skin problems could be a sign of a serious disease.
If you’re in your 40s and are experiencing loss of volume
Deeper lines and loss of elasticity begin in your 40s, so, if you haven’t already started, Arisa Ortiz, MD, director of Laser and Cosmetic Dermatology and assistant clinical professor in the department of dermatology at UC San Diego, recommends using a serum that stimulates collagen production and also firms the skin, like Alastin Restorative Skin Complex. “It contains peptides and other ingredients that help to produce new collagen and elastin to restore volume and plump the skin while also improving radiance and shrinking pores.”
If you’re in your 50s and experiencing dryness
“In the 50s, skin tends to become drier thanks to a drop in estrogen levels; neck skin, in particular, becomes crepey,” explains Dr. Yagoda. For patients in menopause (typically ages 40 to 58), she recommends switching from Glyderm to Skin Better Science’s Alpha-Ret, which is a bit more gentle on aging skin. When moisturizing, don’t neglect the neck area, as this tends to show off a person’s age more than any other area, including the face.
If you’re in your 50s, products might not be enough
This is the age where most women start seeking out help from laser procedures and injectables to improve their skin. “To decrease the healing time associated with these procedures, use Alastin Regenerating Skin Nectar to speed up the recovery process and stimulate collagen and elastin production,” says Dr. Ortiz. “It also contains arnica, which can help prevent bruising after filler injections.” We bet you didn’t know these plastic surgery procedures existed.
If you’re in your 50s, it’s time to for prescription retinol
“Over-the-counter concentrations are weaker and deemed safe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to be used without the supervision of a medical professional,” says Dr. Engelman. “Prescriptive retinoids are the gold standard for improving skin health by treating acne, wrinkles, and discoloration, as they help increase cell turnover and rebuild collagen and elastin.” She advises consulting with your dermatologist before making decisions about prescriptive solutions. Learn about these new game-changing anti-aging ingredients.
If you’re in your 60s, sagging skin is a concern
In addition to keeping up with your retinal routine, Dr. Engelman recommends adding in a face oil if you haven’t already. “Since you’re drier now, heavier moisturizers may even be necessary during the day, but a face oil will help tighten the skin and keep elasticity,” she says. Dr. Engelman recommends Jurlique Purely Age-Defying Firming Face Oil since it’s hydrating and helps minimize environmental damage. “After using the face oil, apply a makeup primer (even if you don’t wear makeup) to fill in the lines and give a light reflecting quality,” she adds. Read these anti-aging myths that are debunked by top dermatologists.
If you’re in your 60s, don’t ignore your neck
Many people forget to pay attention to their neck during their skincare routine in their 60s, according to Dr. Ortiz. “Everyone invests in the face and neglects the neck, so make sure you address loose skin on the neck by using a neck firming cream, like The Alastin Restorative Neck Complex, which improves the firmness and tone, while reducing the appearance of photo‐aged discoloration,” she says.
If you’re in your 70s, pile on the moisture
“Mature skin requires more moisturization, so you may need a richer moisturizing cream with ceramides or hyaluronic acid that can help your skin retain moisture throughout the day,” says Dr. Ortiz. “Cellular turnover has also slowed down tremendously, so using a gentle exfoliator with a mild glycolic acid can help to brighten the skin.” She recommends Skinmedica AHA/BHA cleanser for this age group because it uses alpha and beta hydroxy acids to gently remove dead skin to improve texture and tone. These exfoliating mistakes are sabotaging your skin.
If you’re in your 70s, lasers can help revive skin
“Days in the sun can finally start to show in later years with dark spots and crepey looking skin,” explains Dr. Engelman. That’s why she recommends in-office procedures (lasers) for patients in this age group. At home, don’t stop using your retinoid and oil. There are also at-home devices to help stimulate the skin and aid in product absorption. Dr. Engelman’s favorite is the Conture Kinetic Toning Device. “It’s a non-invasive way to lift and revive skin through isometric compression and low-frequency vibration.”
If you’re in your 80s, don’t be afraid to indulge
Don’t hold back from testing out the top-of-the-line skincare products meant for mature skin, such as La Mer Crème de la Mer Moisturizing Cream. “This product is intensely hydrating, even for extremely dry and sensitive skin, and can be used on the face, eye area, neck, and chest,” says Moinuddin. “Its active ingredient is algae (seaweed) extract and this component is known for its healing properties.”
If you’re in your 80s, keep the moisture coming
Harriet Ploeger, brand director of Instytutum, a Swiss skincare brand, recommends having moisturizing products such as shea butter, ceramides and hyaluronic bases on hand because skin at this age doesn’t produce oil or hold moisture as well as it once did. “With the lipid layers diminished, water storage and support are all but dissipated, leaving skin looking or feeling lax without any support,” she says. “Look for maximum moisture and support for reinforcing the skin barrier.” Our pick is Paula’s Choice CLINICAL Ceramide Enriched Firming Moisturizer, Retinol & Vitamin C, Anti-Aging & Wrinkles. Next, read about the best diet for every decade.
- Shay Moinuddin, RN, aesthetic nurse specialist/practice manager at The Few Institute, Chicago
- Michelle Yagoda, MD, a facial plastic surgeon, New York City
- Dendy Engelman, MD, a dermatologist at Manhattan Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery, New York City
- Lily Talakoub, MD, FAAD, a dermatologist at McLean Dermatology and Skincare Center, McLean, Virginia
- Arisa Ortiz, MD, director of Laser and Cosmetic Dermatology and assistant clinical professor in the department of dermatology at UC San Diego
- Harriet Ploeger, executive director of Instytutum