But while it’s generally agreed that getting older comes with plenty of perks – like no longer tolerating on/off relationships, and finally feeling sure of yourself – having to go back to square one with your skincare routine can really throw you off your beauty game. There’s no denying that as skin ages, your product lineup will most likely change too.
Mature skin tends to be drier as oil production slows with age, so the light day cream of your 20s may no longer feel rich enough for you. And as our collagen stores naturally deplete with time, signs of ageing such as fine lines and crepiness can settle in. So, if you’re wondering whether it’s time to overhaul your skincare routine, we called on MECCA Skin Specialist Lucy Shaw to help.
Ageing: what is it, and can we do anything about it?
We’re programmed to think that ageing = wrinkles, but don’t be fooled—there’s more to it. Our skin likes to show off its tenure in more ways than one—think the appearance of uneven skin tone, marks, texture changes and dullness—so when we talk about the dermal signs of ageing, we’re talking to all of the above.
“The skin is an incredibly powerful, intelligent and self-sufficient organ,” shares Shaw. “It knows exactly what it needs to do and is incredibly regenerative. Natural ageing, however, will occur when these natural processes and repair mechanisms are compromised, slowed down or interrupted—this could be due to chronological age, stress, poor diet, inflammation, illness, lifestyle and exposure to UV.”
It’s important to remember that while we can support the skin through the use of targeted skincare, and protect it through the use of daily SPF (a non-negotiable at every age!) – ageing isn’t something that can be stopped or controlled. And nor should it be. Ageing is a privilege we should all celebrate.
It’s never too early to start looking after your skin
“It’s never too early to start maintaining your skin and protecting it from the external world, in particular UV and pollution,” Shaw tells us. “I would look to start using a targeted formulas as soon as you start to see changes in your skin. This is different for everyone, but commonly occurs during the mid-20s.”
“Biologically, this is when the natural production of collagen may start to slow — so getting into a routine before or around this time will help with maintaining the skin’s plump appearance.”
Can topical skincare reduce visible signs of ageing?
The best ingredients to help prevent signs of ageing
In a surprise to absolutely no one, Shaw recommends on skincare product above all else: “The first thing that springs to mind to prevent signs of ageing is sunscreen. Your best skin insurance policy, a good sunscreen will never let you down” says Shaw, whose second ingredient of priority is green tea; “it’s an absolute master at preserving your skin, particularly if you live in Australia and New Zealand or are exposed to a lot of UV.”
Other ingredients like hyaluronic, glycolic and lactic acids, nurturing oils like jojoba, vitamin C and pretty much anything rich in antioxidants should be your first port of call to support the skin as it ages.
The best ingredients for mature skin
We’re retinol-obsessed, and for good reason. The ultimate restorer for skin that appears aged, this crowd-favourite ingredient is a bestseller for good reason. Shaw relies on retinol to “target so many of the typical ageing concerns we see in the skin, such as the appearance of fine, lines, sagging, and uneven skin tone.” According to Shaw, “another targeted treatment to keep skin looking fresh and glowy is to remove dead skin cells with a peel or chemical exfoliant.” This removes build-up of dead surface skin cells that can give skin a dull appearance.
Going beyond the physical means of ingredients like retinol, the newest skincare obsession on the block isn’t an ingredient at all - but it’s something that Shaw can’t stop raving about. “One product that I can guarantee will absorb deeper into the skin than any skincare product, and complements the skincare you are using, is LED light therapy.”
Dr. Dennis Gross, who now offers an LED light mask in his range speaks to the new-age ingredient with the same devotion; “it’s a breakthrough technology—you can’t see it or touch it, but it works in the skin like an ingredient.” So what exactly does LED do? “It comes in red and blue light, and both have tremendous benefits,” says the skin-saving doctor. “For anti-ageing purposes, red light is your best bet to help lines and wrinkles appear improved."
The best skincare routine for mature skin
If you’re considering tailoring your skincare routine around the signs of ageing, we’re here to help.
Step 1: Cleanser
As skin ages it can become thinner and drier. You may like to consider switching to a gentle cleanser, such as a balm, cream or oil-based formulation, instead of gel or foaming formulas which can be harsh or stripping on older skin.
Step 2: Serums
Serums allow us to deliver targeted actives to the skin to support particular skin concerns. If you’re noticing the signs of ageing, you could incorporate brightening niacinamide and vitamin C in your AM routine, and harness the resurfacing powers of AHA/BHA and retinol (alternating between the two on separate nights) in the PM. And we’d always recommend including a hyaluronic acid to boost plumpness.
Step 3: Oil
Oil is mature skin’s best friend! As sebum production gradually slows with age, a face oil pressed gently into the skin can help to deliver replenishing nutrients and soothing properties to thirsty skin.
Step 4: Moisturiser
For the same reason, a rich, replenishing moisturiser can be a salve for skin that’s showing signs of age. Try swapping light gel or water-based formulas for heavier options infused with nourishing oils and ceramides.
Step 5: SPF (in the AM!)
No matter how old you are, daily SPF application is a must. Always finish your morning skincare routine with a broad spectrum SPF in your preferred finish – if you’re noticing fine lines and crepiness, an SPF in the form of a hydrating serum can be an ideal option for maximum glowy coverage.
*Always read the label and follow the directions for use. Sunscreen is only one form of sun protection. Avoid prolonged sun exposure and reapply as directed.