Skincare Through the Ages

The UmhlangaOctober 6, 2023

With self-proclaimed dermatologists around every corner on Instagram and TikTok, we thought it was time to get the facts straight by chatting with a real professional about what exactly we should be putting onto our skin, from our 20s to our 50s and beyond.


Founder and medical director of Skin Renewal, Dr Maureen Allem has years of experience in aesthetic and holistic medicine. With an extensive knowledge of skincare and anti-ageing techniques, she helped us gather all you need to know about taking care of your skin throughout your life. 


Your 20s: Protect and Maintain

Although your skin may be plump and youthful, Dr Maureen says that it’s essential to take care of what you have. Firstly, SPF is your best friend to prevent sun damage. Make sure you apply sunscreen in the morning and reapply at midday. “Along with a cleanser, a daily moisturiser is of the utmost importance to ensure the longevity of your skin’s barrier, the outermost surface of your skin that protects it from the environment.”


She suggests adding “actives” to your routine. Actives are ingredients designed to help with a particular skin concern, which can be found in various skincare products such as serums and creams. “Include daytime actives, such as a vitamin C serum, to protect your skin against the effects of pollution, the sun and the environment. Nighttime actives that maintain excellent hydration are also a great choice, such as a serum with hyaluronic acid.” If you want to really maintain what you have and prevent damage, a monthly facial that supports hydration and exfoliates the skin is also very beneficial.


Your 30s: Prejuvenation 

This age marks the start of doing what you can to prevent sagging, wrinkles and fine lines. Dr Maureen explains, “Start honing in on the areas hinting that they may be ‘problem areas’, such as around your eyes, on the forehead, skin texture, dehydration lines, and possibly even uneven skin tone.”


Another daytime active you can introduce is AHA (alpha hydroxy acid), an exfoliant that smooths the skin, helps with hyperpigmentation, and reduces the appearance of fine lines and acne scars. 


Nighttime actives become even more important in your 30s. “Start enhancing your skin’s integrity with collagen serums, peptides or growth factors (which stimulate cell production), and a mild retinol,” our expert adds. You may have heard ‘retinol’ before, but what does it do? Also known as vitamin A, retinol increases cell production, unclogs pores, exfoliates the skin, and increases collagen production, reducing wrinkles and keeping your skin plump. You can find this active in night creams and serums.


As your skin may become drier as you age, take extra care when choosing a moisturiser. “The use of a moisturiser that will protect the skin’s barrier and prevent moisture loss is ideal for the morning. It may also be a good idea to include anti-oxidants in your daytime moisturiser, like vitamins C and E. Focus on hydration when it comes to a nighttime moisturiser, containing hyaluronic acid, ceramides (a molecule that strengthens your skin barrier) and peptides.”


You may also want to amp up your in-clinic treatments. Dr Maureen suggests a monthly targeted facial that focuses on your potential problem areas, combined with treatments such as laser toning, peels, transdermal mesotherapy (active ingredients administered without the use of needles), Dermapen (micro-needling facial), and microdermabrasion (gently removing the top layer of skin to fade scars). If interested, this is also the age to start with Botox, fillers and biostimulators. 


Your 40s: Correction

“It’s now time to start focusing on the areas that show signs of ageing – lines, wrinkles, the start of volume loss and pigmentation. In some cases, it may be the starting signs of melasma (brown or dark patches or spots that are triggered by hormonal changes), dilated pores and skin sagging,” says Dr Maureen. 


She advises protecting your skin in the morning with products that contain powerful anti-oxidants such as ferulic acid. Dr Maureen also suggests using a daytime moisturiser with anti-glycation actives (anti-oxidants that prevent cross-hatched lines and wrinkles). 


In terms of your nighttime routine, you should continue using products that contain peptides or growth factors and introduce a stronger retinol serum (used every third night, building up to every second night, if needed) to rebuild your skin by promoting cell turnover.


For sagging skin, there are treatments available to help, such as radiofrequency, Rf Needling and Nd:YAG which uses a 1064nm wavelength that is able to penetrate deep into the skin tissue.


Your 50s and Beyond: Age Correction

Stick your 40s skincare routine, using moisturisers and actives that include those powerful protective, skin-building and repairing ingredients. To go the extra mile, Dr Maureen also recommends fractional fusion treatments which target the skin’s surface and deeper layers of the skin for a smoother, fresher, younger-looking appearance. Along with Botox and fillers, some may also go for ‘threads’ – temporary sutures used to produce a subtle but visible “lift” in the skin.


By your 50s, you have probably gained lots of great stories, memories and perhaps a few wrinkles along the way, which is completely natural. No matter your age, caring for your skin is vital, but so is feeling confident in the skin you’re in!

Words: Jordyn Trollip