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Preventative or pointless: How young is too young for anti-ageing skincare?

Actinic keratoses (also called solar keratoses) are dry, scaly patches of skin that have been damaged by the sun.

A beach in Cornwall, UK. — Image by © Tim Sandle.
A beach in Cornwall, UK. — Image by © Tim Sandle.

Anti-ageing, sensitive, detoxifying, three-step, seven-step, ‘clean beauty’, ‘glass skin’ – with so many different buzzwords and regimes in the skincare industry at the moment, it can be difficult for younger people to discern myth from reality when considering skin-care.

According to research, 79 percent of consumers are overwhelmed by the wealth of choice currently available within the skincare sector. To add to this,  80 percent of women surveyed felt confused by the industry as a whole, with 62 percent of all surveyed calling for more simplistic skincare regimes.

Recent months have seen concern growing around the number of young children relying on social media platforms, in particular TikTok, for skincare advice. This has led to a trend among girls as young as nine asking their parents for expensive and intensive anti-ageing skincare.

Some of the stronger ingredients in these products, including retinol and vitamin C, can cause serious damage to young skin if used improperly. The current obsession around high-end, acid-based skincare amongst young children has even led to prominent TikTok users satirising the situation and highlighting the dangers of using such harsh skincare on very young skin.

Anti-ageing skincare, to the extent that it works, should only be used as a preventative measure. In order to cut through the confusion and bring you the answers you need, the anti-ageing skincare Faeye McAuley, Head Global Trainer, from Carol Joy London, has told Digital Journal about the skincare regimes that are best applied to different age brackets.

Dangers of the Sun

UV light can be extremely dangerous to the skin and is best avoided For those who are exposed to the Sun, then applying a skin protective factor is important, regardless of the age of a person’s skin.

Skincare in your teens

Young teens and tweens should be focusing on practising good hygiene when it comes to their skincare routine. McAuley explains: “Young people should be using a mild cleanser, morning and night, and a simple moisturiser afterwards.” This is enough to keep very young skin cleansed, healthy and moisturised.

Older teens with spot-prone skin might want to look at using a cleanser that contains salicylic acid to help minimise breakouts and control oil production. Salicylic acid works to penetrate the layers of your skin and unclog pores, revealing a clearer complexion.

However, if a person is struggling with severe acne, it is always best to consult your doctor or dermatologist before trying something new on your skin. A medical professional will be able to prescribe the best treatment for your particular skin type and kind of acne.

Skincare in your 20s

A person’s natural collagen production tends to begin to decrease when you turn 25 – this is when you should start to use gentle anti-ageing products. Look for treatments that include collagen peptides over retinol-based products.

McAuley explains: “Retinoids are stronger treatments that should be reserved for your later 20s. Collagen peptides are far better for younger skin, as they help stimulate your natural collagen production and work to smooth and plump, giving you a lovely radiant complexion.”

Cleansing is still one of the most important steps in a skincare regime. The first cleanse removes makeup and the daily build-up of oils and dirt, while the second purifies your skin at a deeper level.

When it comes to your moisturiser, consider how much hydration your skin needs. McAuley explains: “If you have dry, itchy or tight skin, a hydrating cleanser and intensive moisturiser are a must. But those with oily skin are often tempted to skip adding further moisture. However, your skin might actually be producing excess oil because it’s crying out for moisture!”

At night, exfoliate or apply a face mask to treat specific skin issues at least once a week.

Skincare in your 30s

In your thirties, cleansing remains essential, says McAuley. Make sure that your cleanser focuses on hydration to keep your skin supple as you leave your twenties.

Adding a toner will help to keep your skin looking radiant while gently exfoliating. “A good toner will also prepare your skin to receive the subsequent products in your regime, allowing serums and moisturisers to penetrate deeper into your skin,” McAuley advises.

McAuley adds: “Toners formulated with alpha hydroxy acid (AHAs) can help boost hydration and target the signs of ageing, such as dark spots and hyperpigmentation for a smoother, more even complexion.”

Use a vitamin C serum in the morning to refresh and brighten your skin, notes McAuley.

Skincare in your 40s+

When you reach your forties, you’ll likely be starting to lose elasticity in your skin as you approach the perimenopause, says McAuley. As you reach your fifties and sixties, this lack of hydration and loss of suppleness will continue as you deal with menopausal and post-menopausal skin.

Your skincare regime can provide relief from the symptoms caused by his life change. You still need to cleanse, but you’ll want to choose a gentler product that focuses on hydration.

McAuley suggests using a face mask once or twice and week to reduce hyperpigmentation and age spots. “Look for formulas that contain collagen peptides and native collagen fibres to soothe skin, calm redness and reduce fine lines.”

Use retinoids at night to further combat the signs of ageing and keep your skin looking smooth and youthful. Remember never to combine retinol-containing products with vitamin C serums.

A face oil can offer extra hydration if you’re dealing with very dry, uncomfortable skin. Apply this oil at night as the final step after your eye cream and moisturiser. If you’re noticing some puffiness around your cheeks and eyes, this is normal and occurs because our lymphatic drainage begins to slow when we reach our forties.

Massage your face and neck as you apply your face oil and moisturiser to help stimulate this process. McAuley recommends using a face roller to massage your skin: “A roller made from precious stones, such as rose quartz, can also stimulate blood flow and boost collagen production.”

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Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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