These Are the Skin-Care Ingredients You Need at Every Age

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So you *finally* figured out your skin type, nailed down your favorite products and you think you're set for life. Here's a fun plot twist: Your skin actually changes with every passing decade. Meaning, you should be switching up your products every few years. Not sure what that means for you? We rounded up a list of ingredients to look for at every stage of life. Here’s to aging like a fine wine.

How to Keep Your Neck from Aging


0+: Spf

This goes without saying, but you can’t put an age on sun protection. Your skin will show fewer signs of aging down the road if you use sunscreen diligently your whole life. It’s the best preventative product in the game.

Product picks: Supergoop! "Everyday" Sunscreen with Cellular Response Technology Broad Spectrum SPF 50 7.5 oz ($32); Colorescience Sunforgettable® Brush-On Sunscreen SPF 30 ($65); Coola Mineral Face SPF30 Matte Tint ($36)

aha serum

20s: Alpha Hydroxy Acids (ahas)

It’s not uncommon to still be fighting acne and unexplained breakouts well into your 20s, as frustrating as that may be. A gentle exfoliant will help smooth and brighten your complexion while stimulating collagen to keep it hydrated and dewy. Look for cleansers, serums and moisturizers with glycolic acid or lactic acid to get clear, youthful skin.

Product picks: First Aid Beauty FAB Skin Lab Resurfacing Liquid ($55); Peter Thomas Roth AHA/BHA Acne Clearing Gel ($54); Tata Harper Resurfacing Serum ($88)

retinol moisturizer

30s: Retinol

The bad news: Collagen and elastin (the properties responsible for youthfulness and bounce) start to decline in your 30s. The good news: We have retinol, a vitamin A derivative that promotes healthy cell turnover, brightens hyperpigmentation and treats and prevents wrinkles. Slather it on at night for younger-looking skin by morning.

Product picks: Peter Thomas Roth Retinol Fusion PM ($65); Kate Somerville +Retinol Firming Eye Cream ($88); Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Ferulic + Retinol Anti-Aging Moisturizer ($75)

antioxidant serum

40s: Antioxidants

Once you hit the big 4-0, your cell turnover rate is two times as slow as it was in your 20s. This means you’re much more susceptible to scarring, wrinkles and pigmentation. Antioxidants are crucial at this stage because they help protect your skin from free radicals that cause visible signs of aging. Try products packed with vitamin C, vitamin B and resveratrol, in addition to eating more nutrient-rich foods like blueberries, raspberries and grapes (wine totally counts).

Product picks: iS CLINICAL Super Serum Advance Plus ($148); Neutrogena Ageless Intensives Deep Wrinkle Serum ($22); Sanitas Skincare Antioxidant Moisturizer ($74)

face oils

50s: Oils

Here’s when your skin becomes less effective at retaining water, so replenishing moisture is key in your 50s. Oils are the most concentrated form of hydration, so look for products where they’re a main ingredient. We’re talking facial oils, oil cleansers, oil-based moisturizers and even straight coconut oil. They’ll all help lock in moisture for more supple skin.

Product picks: RMS Beauty Oil ($78); Kopari Beauty Coconut Cleansing Oil ($32); Herbivore Botanicals Phoenix Facial Oil ($88)


60+: Ceramides

Cera-what? If you haven’t heard of this ingredient before, know that it’s crucial to improving hydration and skin’s overall texture. Ceramides are the molecules that hold skin cells together, forming a protective layer that plumps and keeps things nice and hydrated. Your body eventually stops making these molecules naturally, so it’s important to restore them yourself. They can effectively rejuvenate the skin's surface and natural barrier on a cellular level when applied daily.

Product picks: First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream ($30); DermaQuest Stem Cell 3D Eye Lift ($78); Cosrx Honey Ceramide Full Moisture Cream ($26)

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Brianna Lapolla formerly held the role of Senior Commerce Editor at PureWow covering all things shopping across beauty, fashion, and lifestyle. Now, she's putting her 12 years of...