Photo: Wee Khim

Growing old is a given. Ageing gracefully can be too, with a healthier mindset that has you ready to embrace the process while cherishing your skin in a way that works best for you. And with the industry hopping on board to push the same agenda, the call now is less about the pursuit of eternal youth and more about looking healthy, radiant and, well, younger from the inside out. 

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To take utmost care of your skin, no matter your age, it’s vital to first understand the mechanics of ageing. The way skin ages is dependent on intrinsic and extrinsic factors; genetics play a part, of course, but so do lifestyle choices (smoking, an unhealthy diet and stepping out into the sun without proper precautions are prime examples of poor ones) and variables we cannot control, such as the climate and pollution. 

The latter two stress the skin on a daily basis (hello, premature skin ageing); add to that natural ageing and what you get is an undesirable situation whereby the rate of repair and regeneration lags behind the rate of damage. The most common manifestations of that are wrinkles (when the network of collagen and elastin is compromised) and dry, dull skin (when the skin loses moisture faster than it can be replenished). 

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So help your skin out by taking a two-pronged approach with the things you can change: Your lifestyle and your skincare. Reduce the amount of damage your skin takes (by quitting smoking, for example, and being liberal with your sunscreen) and make an effort to consume more healthy foods high in antioxidants, which help counter the effects of oxidative stress on both the body and the skin. 

When it comes to skincare, make sure you have a routine that caters to what your skin needs—which will change as you age. Here, we’ve come up with a game plan that’ll take you from your 20s through your 40s. 

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In Your 20s

Focus on maintaining your skin’s water content, as many issues—sensitivity, dullness, fine lines, an uneven tone and texture—stem from dehydration. Keeping your skin well moisturised will also help keep the skin barrier healthy—vital for protection against both water loss and external aggressors. Use a hydrating serum such as Glow Recipe’s Plum Plump Hyaluronic Serum, which has a blend of multi-weight hyaluronic acids to keep skin moist. Follow with an antioxidant-packed moisturiser such as ést.lab’s ActivCalm Anti-Stress Hydra Cream, which hydrates and protects against urban pollutants. During the day, slather on Kiehl’s Ultra Light Daily UV Defense Aqua Gel SPF 50/ PA++++ to fend off sun damage and come night, apply a generous layer of LANEIGE’s Cica Sleeping Mask Sleeping Microbiome for intense overnight hydration. 

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In Your 30s

It’s when you step into your third decade of life that skin concerns become more apparent. If you haven’t been conscientious with your sunscreen applications, now’s the time to start. Reach for one that offers well-rounded protection, such as Dior’s Diorsnow Ultimate UV Shield Tone Up SPF 50+/PA+++, which guards against UVA and UVB rays, pollution and blue light. Keep to a hydrating serum— Porcelain’s Essentials – HA+ Hydrating Serum has a complex of low- and high-molecular-weight hyaluronic acid and four hydrating ingredients for a hard hit of moisture—but alternate it with a brightening one (skin can look a little dull as cellular turnover slows) such as Sisley’s Phyto-Blanc Le Concentré. Round off with Dr Dennis Gross’s Barrier Repair Face Cream, designed for heavy-duty hydration and skin-barrier repair. 

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In Your 40s

Continue to be diligent in your skincare routine, but shift the focus to addressing the changes that affect you most. If you have multiple concerns, layering targeted serums—such as Chanel’s LE BLANC Serum, which helps restore skin’s radiance, and IDS Skincare’s Rejuvenating Complex Plus, which works on fine lines and wrinkles—is the way to go. Alternatively, tackle them one at a time: Build an intensive programme with products that address the same concern and stick with it for at least four weeks before moving on to your next issue. Also, don’t be afraid to increase the number of steps—you’ll find that an essence such as su:m37°’s Summa Elixir 8-Miracle Power Essence, which targets major age-related issues, is well worth adding to your routine. Finish with a moisturiser such as Clé de Peau Beauté’s Synactif Daytime Moisturiser, which hydrates the skin and protects it from environmental stressors while supporting its natural reparative ability.