How Your Skincare Routine Should Change in your 30s, 40s, 50s, and Beyond
Our bodies change as we get older, and so does our skin. Obvious enough, right?
But what’s less known is how, and why, our skincare routines ought to change as we age as well.
The minimal routine you can get away with in your 20s isn't going to cut it once you hit your 30s and 40s. And by the time we are 50 and going through menopause, a whole new approach to skincare is needed if we want to keep the our skin in the best possible shape.
How our skin changes as we age
Wrinkles are one of the most prominent signs of aging. Wrinkles start to appear when collagen in our skin begins to break down. As the years go by, collagen production drops, leading to more and more fine lines and wrinkles.
At the same time as our collagen production begins slowing, natural hyaluronic acid levels in our skin starts to decrease as well. Hyaluronic acid is essential in helping the skin draw in moisture; when it starts to disappear, our skin can become dehydrated. This can lead to unusual sensitivity, premature fine lines, and slow cell turnover.
Many people also experience uneven pigmentation as they age. This is due to the rate at which older skin cells are replaced with new cells. In our youthful days, we generate an entirely new epidermis every 26 days, thanks to rapid cell turnover. But as we age, this process slows, allowing dead skin and impurities to remain on the skin for longer, leading to discoloration.
Given the number of different issues to be addressed based on your age, we suggest checking out our wide selection of vegan and cruelty-free skincare products to find what works for you!
Skincare in your 20s
If you’re thinking, I’m in my 20s, I don’t have any skin issues besides the occasional pimple or under-eye bags!—the truth is that you could still benefit from developing a routine.
Many 20-somethings suffer from dullness and tired-looking skin, which tend to show up in the late 20s and are typically caused by sun damage, lack of sleep, stress, and genetics. But there are other reasons to launch into a routine now.
Even though our skin doesn’t show signs of aging quite yet, how we care for our skin in our 20s builds the foundation for skin health later on in life. This is why starting early is such a good idea.
One of the most important habits to develop early on is wearing sunscreen. Yes, every single day. Make sure to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a minimum of 30 SPF to get full protection.
On top of that, you should start using preventative products. Even if you don’t suffer from acne, using an AHA or BHA serum or topical retinol will help address dullness and gently exfoliate without being irritating.
Try Glossier Cleanser Concentrate. This fan-favorite chemical exfoliant is packed with good-for-your-skin ingredients like grape extract, lactic acid, and malic acid, helping to wash away dull skin and refine pores.
Try Mad Hippie Face Cream. This lightweight moisturizer has skin-loving ingredients like peptides and antioxidants to keep your skin hydrated. It also includes niacinamide and acai to help soothe and rejuvenate skin.
Try Supergoop’s Unseen Sunscreen. This sunscreen lives up to its name—you won’t even notice it is there. With an SPF of 40, this sunscreen is a great option for maximum protection but is also light enough to wear underneath your daily makeup.
Try Herbivore’s Prism AHA + BHA Glow Serum. This AHA and BHA combo serum gently exfoliates the skin, leaving it smooth and glowing. The strong blend of fruit and plant ingredients rejuvenates and protects.
Skincare in your 30s
Our 30s are a transitional time for our skin. This is when most people begin to see early signs of aging as well as the first effects of sun damage (caused by skipping out on sunscreen in our earlier years—so heed the advice above!).
Many people start to see fine lines, a loss of volume in the cheeks, and uneven skin tone. Our skin repair starts to slow down, which can leave the skin dull. Decreasing collagen production causes the skin to appear less tight. Some people might even start to see wrinkles and thinner skin overall, especially in delicate areas such as our neck and under our eyes.
If you didn’t add retinol to your routine in your 20s, you definitely should in your 30s. This will help address the fine lines that are starting to appear and increase the skin’s firmness. If you are starting to notice thinner skin or those under-eye bags have become permanent, definitely add in an eye cream, too.
It is essential to add an antioxidant to your routine as well. Antioxidants play an important role in repairing sun damage and brightening dull skin. Look for plant-based ingredients and opt for products with fruits or vegetables at the top of the ingredients list, since these foods are naturally high in antioxidants.
If discoloration is one of your biggest concerns, laser therapy might be a good option. Regularly getting intense pulsed light treatment, also known as photofacials, will help with the removal of discoloration. Chemical peels and micro-needling improve cell turnover, which also addresses discoloration by stimulating new skin growth and collagen production.
Try Insta Natural’s Glycolic Cleanser. This deep cleaning chemical cleanser is a pro at breaking down the buildup on our skin. It helps to soften and brighten the skin with its infusion of natural calming extracts and collagen-supporting ingredients. The cleanser helps reduce the appearance of pores, signs of aging, and discoloration.
Try The Organic Pharmacy’s Rose Plus Age Renewal Face Cream to help minimize fine lines, improve firmness and elasticity, and reduce pigmentation.
Try REN’s Bio Retinoid™ Youth Concentrate Oil. This vegan retinol is a perfect addition to your anti-aging routine. It helps nourish the skin while also working to prevent fine lines and wrinkles.
Try Typology’s Antioxidant Serum. This powerhouse serum protects the skin from pollution, stress, and other environmental factors. The high concentrations of ferulic acid and resveratrol fight off free radicals to help users achieve a more radiant and smooth complexion.
Try Pacifica’s Collagen Recovery Eye Cream. This moisturizing eye cream is formulated especially for the delicate skin under our eyes, helping to boost hydration and reduce puffiness. Packed with vegan collagen, flower extracts, and caffeine, it leaves the skin replenished and promotes a more plump appearance.
Skincare in your 40s
According to most dermatologists, your 40s are when you really start to notice major changes in your skin, from firmness to wrinkles. If you are dealing with a loss of volume and elasticity, as well as more noticeable signs of sun damage, just know that you are not alone!
The first step in transitioning to a 40-something routine is adding another cleanser. As in decades prior, a gentle exfoliator is still crucial at this age, but you should also be looking to add a mild lotion-like cleanser to help with your skin’s cell turnover and hydration.
Another important step to add at this age is a product with hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid is a humectant ingredient, which means that it helps to draw water molecules into the skin. You should also consider adding a night cream that contains helpful ingredients such as glycerin, ceramides, or fatty lipids to encourage skin barrier repair.
This is also the age where dermatologists note most people begin treatments that specifically help with signs of aging. Fillers can help replace lost volume. Chemical peels help with sun damage and uneven skin tone. And laser treatments work beneath the skin’s surface to restore healthy-looking skin.
Try Glossier’s Milky Jelly Cleanser. Glossier’s cult-favorite milk cleanser is formulated with five skin conditioners including allantoin and B5 that leave the skin baby soft. Unlike chemical cleansers that can be irritating, this mild cleanser leaves the skin more hydrated, not less.
Try The Ordinary’s Hyaluronic Acid. This water-based serum is crafted with a combination of low, medium, and high molecular-weight hyaluronic acid to ensure maximum, multi-depth hydration.
Try Public Goods’ Night Moisturizer. As your skin starts to lose hydration, this night cream could be your secret weapon. It features a fantastic clean ingredient list and is a more luscious option than many others on the market. This moisturizer also helps with skin firmness and brightness.
Skincare in your 50s
With post-menopause comes a drastic hormone shift resulting in declining levels of estrogen and increased levels of androgens which can cause our skin to become thinner and less elastic.
Bone resorption is another naturally-occurring process at this age that can show up as volume loss, especially in the middle of the face.
Dryness is yet another concern that can become apparent at this age. Acne may even start to resurface due to your changing hormone levels. Many people also start to see several signs of hyperpigmentation and sun damage.
The most important step is finding a way to not only hydrate the skin but ensure it retains moisture. As our skin becomes more sensitive, harsh exfoliators may need to be left behind. Instead, reach for a mild, milky cleanser that doesn’t strip the skin’s surface. These cleansers are still effective at removing dirt but don’t strip away the important oils produced by the skin itself.
This is the time where fillers and Botox become more popular. Micro-needling is another popular treatment that encourages collagen production.
Try Osea’s Ocean Cleanser. Switching to a non-irritating, gentle cleanser as our skin ages is extremely important. This refreshing cleanser removes surface impurities and excess oil while minimizing the appearance of pores. It delivers mineral-rich hydration for a clear, radiant complexion.
Try Asterwood Naturals’ Hyaluronic Acid. For a slightly stronger serum, this one is a great option for mature skin. It reduces the fine lines most people experience at this age as well as enhances elasticity, evens skin tone, and improves skin texture. It also deeply moisturizes to rejuvenate dull skin.
Try Mario Badescu’s Elasto-Collagen Night Cream for a collagen-rich formula designed to preserve moisture, elasticity, and soothe dry skin.
Skincare in your 60s and beyond
While your skin doesn’t go through any major shifts once you reach this age, signs of aging are still likely to become more pronounced, and a lack of moisture and hydration remains important issues to address. Most dermatologists recommend a simple, hydrating routine to lock in as much moisture as possible.
Aside from a well-balanced skincare routine, in-office treatments such as laser therapy can continue to provide additional skin support.
Try Dr. Botanicals Juniperberry Oil and Strawberry Day Moisturizer. As hydration is a constant issue with aging skin, an intense moisturizer is very important. This one from Dr. Botanicals is designed especially for aging skin and helps to reverse the breakdown of elasticity and builds up healthy collagen.
Try Nuria Beauty’s Defend Triple Action Eye Cream to combat fine lines, dark circles, and puffiness using the power of mulberry root, ginseng, and cucumber.
Please note: A product appearing in our blog is not an official Kinder Beauty endorsement. While every product we feature in an article is cruelty-free and vegan, these products do not necessarily meet all of our strict brand standards for curation in one of our boxes.
Jackie Lutze has been writing about cruelty-free beauty for years and loves finding the best vegan products to help readers build their ultimate beauty routine.