From your 20s through to your 50s and beyond, our practitioners share how to ultimately look after your skin.

Whilst we should try and refrain from binding skin stereotypes according to age and focus primarily on treating the concern, it is confirmed by doctors and aestheticians worldwide that as we age, so does our skin. Due to these notable changes that can take effect as early as our 20s – from textural shifts to pigmentation issues – looking after your skin through your lifetime is crucial to preserve its health.

As the skin ages and changes it can be subject to a roster of factors that can range from the environment and nutrition to genetics and sun exposure.

Naturally the epidermis (the outer layer of the skin) thins, the number of melanocytes which are the melanin producing cells decrease yet their size increases, opening up the appearance of pigmented spots. Further changes include the reduction in the strength and elasticity of the skin, the blood vessels within the dermis become more fragile, our sebaceous glands produce less oil, and we lose the protective fat layer in the skin’s dermal layer.

Whilst the changes are important to take note of, each stage from our 20s right through to our 50s+ introduces a range of concerns that deserves our attention. Although your skin concern should take precedence, being aware of what is happening at a deeper level is also paramount to keep the skin in the best possible condition.


Common concerns:

–       Continued teenage acne

–       Large pores

–       Uneven skin tone

–       Hyperpigmentation

Dr Saira Vasdev, Black Skin Directory Practitioner and Founder of Skin & Sanctuary shares,

Our 20’s is when the ageing process starts to kick in with a net loss of collagen of 1% per year from the age of 21. By your late 20’s you may even see fine lines and wrinkles appearing around the eyes along with an uneven skin tone. This is the time to future proof your skin by adopting a skincare strategy that prevents premature ageing. Vitamin C and SPF will protect and preserve your existing collagen, keeping your skin healthy and resilient. A liquid exfoliant containing AHAs/BHAs will boost surface radiance through its skin refining actions as well as keeping pores clear.  A low dose retinol is recommended from your mid 20’s, starting very gradually to build tolerance and to minimise irritation.

Ideal in clinic treatments would include advanced facials such as the HydraFacial which combines dermabrasion with dermal infusion to nourish and hydrate the skin whilst tackling any imbalances. LED therapy is a useful tool to heal, and repair stressed out skin, regulate oil and acne causing bacteria.  For those with acne scarring or hyperpigmentation, a more targeted approach using skin peels or micro needling may be prescribed by a medical practitioner.

Dr Ewoma, Black Skin Directory Practitioner and Founder of Skndoctor also advises,

Take your time cleansing, invest in a vitamin C serum; this is loaded with antioxidants and is particularly good for those who live in the city. Always apply SPF as the last step in your routine to create a layer of protection over the skin. In your late 20’s you can start to introduce retinol (at night after cleansing) and this smooths skin, rebuilds collagen, fades pigmentation and balances oil.

Whilst your 20s may see minimal changes, our practitioners advise avoiding too many actives that may not complement one another or your skin (an example of this being retinoids and benzyl peroxide). This de-settling may cause a pH imbalance which leads to a compromised skin barrier and sensitised skin (this can be seen in the form of visible dryness, irritation  or blotches). “Stick with the essential and remain consistent with your routine” Dr Saira advises.

IN YOUR 30S & 40S…

Common concerns:

–       Collagen loss (the fundamental building block for supporting skin’s plumpness, softness and strength)

–       Ageing factors such as fine lines, sunspots and deeper pigmentation.

–       Later 30s can see the development of internal glycation which is when sugar binds to collagen in the skin, making it hard and brittle causing collagen to break prematurely. This shows up as lines and wrinkles. Whilst lines and wrinkles may not show up as early on black skin, glycation can still accumulate and the effects visible in later life.

Dr Saira informs, “as collagen levels decline and the skin loses its laxity and structural integrity during your 30s and 40’s, it is important to start collagen stimulating treatments to ensure we bank as much collagen as possible to slow down the ageing process.  Effective options include micro needling, injectable skin boosters such as Profhilo and Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) which improves the quality of the skin. Dermal fillers are also fantastic tools for keeping wrinkles and sagging tissues at bay as we age by restoring volume and structure to the face. They may even refine skin quality ensuring that we hold on to that youthful glow”.


Common concerns:

–       Appearance of deeper set fine lines and wrinkles

–       Dry skin

–       Loss of elasticity

–       Menopausal changes

Dr Saira highlights, “Menopausal skin changes commonly appear between the ages of 45-55, although perimenopause may start as early as your mid-thirties.  A decline is oestrogen which is a key hormone in helping the skin maintain structure and function as well ensuring the complexion remains firm and hydrated will lead to a faster loss of collagen (up to 30%!), dry flaky skin, sensitivities, and pigmentation.”

Many women feel as if they have literally “aged overnight”.  Skincare needs will change.  Moisturisers should have a combination of humectants (glycerin, hyaluronic acid), fatty acids and ceramides to lock in moisture. For black skin, the complexion can feel dry and itchy but also look dull and grey in tone.

Dr Ewoma further supports with her recommendation sharing  “One of my main tips is do not overdo the exfoliation. As we age, the outer layer of our skin becomes thinner and more delicate so try to avoid physical exfoliation (scrubs) which can cause micro-tears to the skin and instead use a gentle glycolic toner. Retinols are particularly effective on wrinkles and Hyaluronic Acid, when applied topically it can help to replenish moisture levels in the skin”

Regardless of age and concern, the main bond that ties skincare through the ages is the desire and necessity for healthy skin that radiates confidence and comfort. Holistically, the skin should be supported by a healthy lifestyle (including your diet and stress levels) as well as a tailored and consistent routine.

However, with all things skin related, nothing beats bespoke advise from a skin professional if anything is in doubt!



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