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Did you know that your age is just as important as skin type when choosing the best skincare ingredients for you? Whether you’re a skincare devotee or prefer a minimal approach, introducing the right ingredients to your skin at the right time is key.

Though it’s never too late to start, some ingredients are more beneficial to our skin in different stages of our lives. For example, antibacterial ingredients like tea tree and aloe vera can support acne-prone teenage skin, while collagen-boosting peptides can help visibly plump fine lines and wrinkles.

With expertise from Lancôme’s National Educator, Brittany Hanchard, we’ve created a lifetime guide to flawless skin at every stage. Our research explores the changes skin undergoes in each decade, and which skincare ingredients can support your skin’s evolution.

*It’s important to note that not all ingredients can be used alongside each other and that ingredients aren’t necessarily exclusive to the decade we have listed. Refer to the specific product for recommended usage.

Skincare in your teens

When it comes to teenage skin, turbulent fluctuations can be experienced- which are usually triggered by changing hormones. This can take the form of increased oil flow and blemishes, ranging from mild imperfections to more persistent acne. On the other side of this, teenage skin also has a short skin cell renewal cycle of about 14 days and naturally high levels of collagen and elastin.

With all of this in mind, it’s no surprise that teens find themselves turning to the internet for assistance - 'skincare for teenagers' was Google searched over 35,000 times in Australia from January 2021 to July 2023. Thankfully, the right skincare ingredients can target oiliness and acne-prone issues to boost teenagers’ confidence and improve the appearance of skin.

To balance oily skin and deal with clogged pores, exfoliating ingredients like salicylic acid can be introduced. This will help to remove dead skin cells, keeping the surface of skin cleansed and refreshed. Comforting, antibacterial ingredients like witch hazel, aloe vera and tea tree can help with redness, while hyaluronic acid offers an instant hydrating and plumping effect.

Protecting skin in your 20s

Skin tends to look its firmest and healthiest in our 20s, and we can help maintain volume, hydration and brightness into our 30s with supportive skincare ingredients. Gentle, moisturising ingredients like hyaluronic acid and ceramides can be paired with exfoliants like lactic acid to encourage a healthy-looking complexion.

During our 20s, natural skin-firming properties like collagen and elastin begin to reduce. As we age, lowered levels of collagen and elastic mean that skin doesn’t “bounce back” the way it used to, and fine lines can begin to form. We can adopt anti-aging serums and creams in our 20s to help keep skin plump, firm and uniform in texture.

Known for its efficacious anti-aging qualities, retinol is a popular skincare ingredient to implement in this decade - terms like “what is retinol”, “what does retinol do” and “how to use retinol” have a combined search volume of almost 160,000. Lancôme’s National Educator, Brittany Hanchard, shares her insight on this key ingredient

"Retinol is a form of vitamin A that, in skincare formulations, helps to speed up the skin cell renewal cycle. This process surfaces new skin cells, and over time can reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and dark spots."

"It’s also an antioxidant – meaning it combats free radicals which cause oxidative damage and contribute to visible signs of aging."

“When done correctly, retinol can be introduced in our 20s to maintain a radiant, youthful look to skin."

Anti-ageing implementation in your 30s

Your 30s mark a major milestone – even when it comes to skin! During this decade, you might notice mild signs of aging like fine lines and wrinkles, and a loss of volume. Hanchard explains:

“During our 30s, collagen and elastin fibres continue to degrade, leading to a reduction in melanocytes – the cells that give skin its pigment.

“This can cause skin to appear thinner and duller. Meanwhile, reduced collagen and elastin impacts skin’s plumpness and bounce, allowing fine lines and wrinkles to form.”

This appears to be a concern for many Australians, with “how to get rid of wrinkles” accumulating up over 14,000 searches.

“Although you can’t ‘get rid of’ wrinkles with skincare alone, you can diminish their appearance with certain skincare ingredients”, says Hanchard.

Targeting skin aging in your 30s should be twofold, employing the help of both antioxidant and hydrating ingredients. Antioxidant vitamin C can be added to your morning skincare ritual to protect skin against environmental stressors and brighten your complexion with regular use. Meanwhile, support anti-aging skincare with hydrating, nourishing ingredients like niacinamide, vitamin E and snail mucin.

Lastly, SPF is an essential part of skincare routines throughout every decade. Many Australians are keen to incorporate this into their routines, reflected in over 78,000 searches for “which sunscreen is best”.

Hormonal shifts in your 40s

Many think that hormonal changes start and end in your teens, but our 40s see a decline in the hormone estrogen. This sees a variety of flow on effects for skin, including loss of skin thickness and volume and drier skin. Although you may be relieved to say goodbye to oiliness and shiny foreheads, dry skin requires the support of moisturising skincare ingredients to look its best.

Accumulated sun damage and exposure to other environmental stressors may also result in discolouration at this time. This can appear in the form of dark patches of skin called sunspots or age spots, alongside other types of discolouration. With searches around “how to get rid of hyperpigmentation” totaling almost 23,000, Hanchard offers their advice for targeting discoloured skin:

“Potent, anti-ageing ingredients like retinol and vitamin C can help to refresh the surface of skin and brighten age spots with consistent use."

“You can support these potent ingredients with other, nourishing skincare ingredients. For example, humectants like hyaluronic acid and glycerin will help to retain healthy moisture levels in skin and give an instant plumping effect.”

To promote hydrated, brightened and fuller-looking skin, a 40s skincare routine can incorporate ceramides, glycerin, peptides and facial oils to lock in moisture and support softer, plumper-looking skin.

Plumping and hydrating support in your 50s

As we enter a new decade in our 50s, skin will continue to become drier and less plump as part of the natural aging process. For some, reduced sebum (skin oil) can lead to skin sensitivity.

The skin cell renewal cycle in our 50s takes place over between 45-60 days, which can lead to uneven skin texture and a dulled appearance. Reach for brightening, hydrating and comforting skincare ingredients to help to counter these natural developments within skin.

Humectants like hyaluronic acid and glycerin can be used throughout your skincare ritual to lessen the look of fine lines and skin texture. But to work on signs of aging beneath the surface, we recommend leveraging the skincare benefits of collagen-enhancing peptides.

The popularity of the ingredient continues to increase - “what are peptides” has been searched for almost 48,000 times in the last two and a half years. Hanchard explains the benefits of peptides for skincare in our 50s:

“A focal ingredient in powerful anti-aging formulas, peptides are the natural building blocks of skin."

"When applied topically, peptides can encourage collagen production to visibly firm and plump the complexion."

In fact, Lancôme’s new Rénergie H.P.N 300-Peptide Cream combines the benefits of hyaluronic acid and niacinamide with 300 types of peptides to hydrate and firm skin, now and into the future.

Comforting and strengthening skin in your 60s

As we enter our 60s, skin becomes increasingly thinner and drier as part of the natural aging process. These changes can bring about sensitivity – even for those who haven’t experienced sensitive skin in the past.

The breakdown of both estrogen and androgen hormone levels alongside less active oil glands also contributes to skin dehydration. Nourishing skin with gentle strengthening and hydrating ingredients can make all the difference for skin in this decade.

It seems many Australians are searching for a solution for dryness, with “moisturisers for dry skin” totalling almost 86,500 searches. Hanchard elaborates on how to care for dry, mature skin:

“Dehydrated skin can enhance signs of ageing like fine lines and wrinkles. To counterbalance this and keep skin looking its best, hydrating ingredients should be the cornerstone of mature skincare routines.”

Opt for skincare with ceramides to fortify the skin moisture barrier, and pair with lightweight, moisturising oils like jojoba oil to promote a soft and supple skin surface. Gentle exfoliants like lactic acid can help to clear away dead skin cells and refresh your complexion.

Skincare during pregnancy

A radiant glow isn’t the only change that can occur to skin during pregnancy. Illuminated complexions are due in part to increased blood flow - but this can also lead to an uptick in oiliness and blemishes.

Managing skin changes during pregnancy will be the focus of your skincare routine, but there’s also the matter of considering which ingredients are safe to use. And with almost 18,000 searches for “pregnancy safe skincare”, it’s clear that this is a concern for many.

Many gentle, supportive ingredients like oats, vitamin E and aloe vera can balance and comfort skin during pregnancy. The primary ingredient to steer clear of is retinol – a form of vitamin A which, while highly effective in anti-aging skincare routines, is not safe for using during pregnancy. If uncertain, always consult a healthcare professional.

Instead, reach for antioxidants like green tea and vitamin C to brighten and shield skin against environmental stressors during the day. At night, reinforce skin with lightweight oils like jojoba and rosehip oil.

Looking after skin during menopause

Menopause is characterised by hormonal shifts that bring about hot flushes and a variety of skin changes. Redness, sensitivity and dryness can present during menopause, and you can consider switching up your skincare regime to target these concerns. Hanchard explains:

“As estrogen levels drop during menopause, skin becomes thinner and drier. This can be a gradual or rapid change – everyone's experience is unique."

"Menopause is associated with a decrease in collagen and elastin, meaning skin loses ‘bounce’ and volume."

To support your skin’s comfort and moisture levels, include humectants like glycerin and hyaluronic acid in your skincare routine. Humectants help to draw moisture to skin and keep it there.

While retinol’s powerful anti-aging properties should earn it a spot in your beauty ritual, caffeine can also help to brighten and invigorate your complexion by constricting blood vessels on the skin’s surface.

Our take on skincare throughout the decades

Although certain skincare ingredients are more suited to some life stages than others, remember that your skin is unique and there’s no need for your routine to be set in stone. Use this guide as a starting point to identify which ingredients could be right for you as you move through life's stages, and tailor your regime as you go.

Using desk research, we identified the characteristics of skin health within each decade and life stage as well as what ingredients are recommended during that period and why. We used Google Keyword Planner to find the search volume of relevant skincare related queries in Australia from January 2021-present (July 2023).


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