29th December 2021

What Happens To Your Skin in Your 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, and Beyond (and Solutions)

Last Modified: April 18, 2024

Even the best skin care routine can only work for so long. The products that worked for you in your early 30s may no longer be as effective or appropriate by your 40s or 50s. This means you constantly have to adjust your regimen based on your skin's current needs.

But before you throw out your cleanser and rush to the store for a new one, you need to know exactly what changes your skin is undergoing.

In this article, we address the various ageing signs and skincare concerns that you should look out for at each decade of your life, and of course, how to address them.


While lots of 20-somethings will still get the occasional breakout, most are probably not concerned about fine lines and wrinkles.

That doesn't mean they won't have other skin concerns. Other factors like sun damage, lack of sleep, poor diet, stress, smoking, or even genetics also negatively impact the appearance of the skin. 

These factors are the leading causes of premature ageing, dark under-eye circles, hyperpigmentation, skin dryness and dullness among young people.

Some young people even complain about having a tech neck

The onset of ageing-related skin issues is often in the mid to late 20s. At this stage, you start to produce less collagen and hyaluronic acid, which can lead to less fullness of the skin. Fine lines and wrinkles kick in when the skin becomes less hydrated and plump.

Related: Neck Wrinkles Appearing in Your 20s? Here's What You Need to Know.

Skincare Tips For Your 20s

  • The #1 skincare hack for people in their 20s is using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30+ every day.
  • People in their mid to late 20s should adopt an anti-ageing skincare regimen that goes beyond exfoliants and moisturisers. Skin ageing is a fact of life, and the efforts you put in your 20s will largely determine how well your skin ages in later years.
  • That said, you should also be careful not to go overboard with certain products like exfoliators, as this can lead to irritation and skin sensitivity. Even if your skincare regimen isn't giving you the results you want, introduce only one new product at a time. This gives your skin time to adjust and helps you determine if you have an adverse reaction to any product.

Related:  8 Preventative Skincare Habits You Need to Start in Your 20s


30-somethings are typically more stable financially and are able to invest more in self-care and better quality skincare products. That's a great thing because they will need it! 

The skin is going through a transition during this time. Every part of the skin ecosystem starts to slow down. As your skin cell turnover reduces, dead cells start to accumulate on the surface resulting in dry, dull-looking skin. Collagen and elastin production also take a hit. As a result, signs of ageing like forehead wrinkles, crow's feet and bunny lines are all new things you might notice in your 30s

Hormones are another significant contributor to skin problems, especially in women. The majority of hormonal changes start around the age of 30, when estrogen levels begin to taper off.

Remember the other factors like sun damage and smoking mentioned in the previous section? It might be time to pay up for any negligence and poor skin habits you indulged in your teenage years or in your 20s.

As a result, your skin might start feeling out of whack, but you can make a few simple adjustments to your skincare regimen to get things back in sync.

Skincare Tips For Your 30s

  • Adding antioxidants (e.g. Retinoids + vitamin C) at this stage is extremely crucial. Antioxidants will help brighten dull skin, rejuvenate collagen production and reverse some of the effects of sun damage that has developed over the years.
  • It's recommended to incorporate in-office treatments such as chemical peelsmicroneedling and radiofrequency that encourage cellular turnover and collagen production. 
  • As fine lines and wrinkles start to develop, consider injectables like Dermal fillers and Profhilo—which produces a 'scaffolding' action on the skin tissues to trigger the production of new, bouncy collagen and elastin through a process known as bio-remodelling.

Related: Profhilo vs Dermal Filler: Which Is The Right Treatment For You?



If they haven't already seen it, most will likely see their first wrinkle in their 40s. It's in this decade when you start to see major changes in your skin. 

The slow down in skin cell turnover and collagen production that started in your 30s only gets worse. For women, the hormonal changes that begin in their 30s might climax in their 40s as perimenopause results in rapid drops in estrogen levels. 

This means that any signs of ageing that began in your 30s will only become amplified.

To start off, skin laxity (i.e. sagging skin) and wrinkles become more pronounced as your 40s progress. 

You might also suffer from extreme dryness and notice that your skin becomes irritable more easily. Now variations in temperature and humidity affect your skin like never before. Consequently, many of the skincare products you once used are suddenly too harsh for your skin.

Another concern for people in their 40s is ageing hands. Surprisingly most people don't realise how thin the skin on the hands is until some sunspots, crepiness and wrinkles show up. 

But don't despair. Although it is not possible to stop the signs of ageing altogether, it is possible to slow them down.

Related: Why Your Hands Are Ageing Prematurely—and What You Can Do About It

Related: Static vs Dynamic Wrinkles: How to Get Rid of Both

 Skincare Tips For Your 40s

  • You can no longer afford to be lax with lifestyle habits like excessive drinking and smoking. It's time to make permanent and healthier choices all rounding you hadn't started already. These include getting enough sleep, eating more skin-loving foods and better stress management.
  • If you haven't already started on retinol and other antioxidants, it's time. That said, you might need to adjust your skincare routine to account for any increase in skin sensitivity. Clean beauty? Maybe it's time you investigate and find out if it's only hype or your skin can actually benefit from it.
  • Those in their 40s shouldn't rule out in-office treatments to complement their at-home skincare routines. For example, hyaluronic acid has an impressive ability to maintain skin moisture levels and keep dryness at bay. A fantastic way to enjoy its benefit is to incorporate Profhilo, which has one of the best skin hydration rates in the market.
  • If you have stubborn trouble areas with prominent wrinkles, it might be worth considering the anti-ageing miracle drug Botox. In the past few years, non-surgical cosmetic treatments like fillers and botox have become embraced by the general public.

50s & Beyond

First off, kudos for hitting the half-century mark! That alone is something worth celebrating, no matter your skin's appearance. Don't let anything dampen your excitement for life! 

For many people older than 50, their skin appearance tends to be a major concern. By this time, all sorts of signs of skin ageing are very evident as years of sun exposure, and other factors have taken their toll.

While the same ageing process of your 40s continues in your 50s, there are a couple more issues that tend to crop up on people in their 50s and beyond. 

For one, the stores of fat under your skin start depleting, resulting in lost facial volume and a sunken appearance, especially on the cheeks and temple

Hyperpigmentation and signs of sun damage (i.e., liver spots and photoaging) are now much more prominent not only on the face but also on the neck and hands.

The skin barrier has become weaker over the years and can no longer repair as easily. This makes it harder for it to retain moisture.

Menopause hormonal changes can also trigger breakouts even among women with no history of acne breakout. 

Skincare Tips For Your 50+

  • The most important thing in this stage of life is self-acceptance--change what you can and make peace with the rest. 
  • In your 50s onwards, helping your skin retain moisture is hugely critical. Moisturise intensively and regularly. Also, avoid any harsh cleansers, exfoliants and beauty products that might have a drying effect on your skin. Stick to simple, hydrating, and gentle skincare products.
  • Every professional treatment we've mentioned in every decade applies here. At-home skincare might have gotten you this far, but alone, it might no longer be adequate. For example, topical products do very little to combat facial volume loss and sagging skin. In-office treatments such as Dermal Fillers and Radiofrequency skin tightening are more effective alternatives for these two skin concerns, respectively. Putting more emphasis on these procedures (most are performed once or twice a year) might prove to be the best way to take care of your skin long into your golden years.

Your Best Skin Starts Now

New cosmetic technology has brought a wealth of minimally invasive procedures and advanced skincare products to fight the signs of ageing. Therefore there's no reason why you can't be proactive with your skincare, no matter your age. 

This guide is an excellent starting point for people of all ages who want to take their skincare game to the next level.

That said, sometimes you might need a personalised consultation to really key down on your skin concern and enable you to address it the best way possible. If that's the case, we are here for you. Talk to us today, and let's see how we can help you achieve your best skin regardless of your age!

Post Reviewed by: Dr Baldeep Farmah
Medically Reviewed on: 29th December 2021
Dr Baldeep Farmah is the Medical Director and lead Doctor of Dr Aesthetica, a Medical Aesthetic Clinic.

"We want to empower everyone who walks through our clinic doors, to be able to look in the mirror and see a happier, brighter version of themselves."

For everyone that walks through our clinic doors, you may think you are alone, but you are not. Our patients all have a different story to tell but all come from a similar place.
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