The Best Skin-Saving Tips Dermatologists Tell Their Patients of All Ages

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Aging gracefully doesn’t mean just looking generally good while getting older; it’s more about protecting the skin throughout the years so a healthy complexion can glow at every stage of life. However, with every new decade comes a slew of skin changes, meaning that protecting and restoring the skin at 50 has to be done differently than doing so at 20. So, we tapped top dermatologists for their best skin-saving tips for each and every age range so everyone—regardless of the decade they're in—will know exactly how to care for their complexion. Read on!

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Under 20

If there’s one beauty habit everyone should develop at a young age, it’s to wear sunscreen. Coppertone partner for the Protect What Matters Most Campaign and New York dermatologist, Elizabeth Hale, MD says that developing good sun-protecting habits early on can have a serious impact on your skin as an adult.  “Overexposure to the sun during childhood, even just one blistering sunburn can double your chances for developing melanoma," she adds. "By training children to apply sunscreen every day, similar how to we teach them to brush their teeth each day, we’ll diminish people’s chance of skin cancer and also help their skin to age in a healthy way.” In fact, Dr. Hale claims that 90 percent of visible signs of premature aging are attributed to overexposure to the sun, so wearing sunscreen every day as a teen can keep you looking youthful for much longer. 


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20s

During your 20s, the most common skin concerns are typically acne and preventive anti-aging. So, it’s generally recommended to wash the face twice daily and focus on keeping the skin hydrated. “Make sure to moisturize your skin—face and body—to maintain a healthy skin barrier because dry skin ages more quickly and is more susceptible to inflammation,” says San Antonio dermatologist Vivan Bucay, MD. Additionally, just because you’re young doesn’t excuse you (at any age!) from regular skin checks. “If you see anything unusual on your skin, make sure you see a dermatologist,” says Dr. Bucay. “Google is no substitute for seeing a board-certified dermatologist.” 


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30s and 40s

“Two tips for someone in the 30s and 40s—and through their entire lives—is to use retinol every day,” says Charleston, SC dermatologist Marguerite Germain, MD. “Some people think they should stop in the summertime because they think retinol causes increased sun sensitivity, but they need to use it all year round in order to get the benefits.” Furthermore, Dr. Germain recommends watching your diet a little closer than usual once you enter your 30s and 40s. “The foods you eat are very important to your skin health,” she adds. “Doing an anti-inflammatory diet in which sugar, white flour and dairy products are decreased improves the skin.” 


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50s and Above

“In your 50s, make sure your skin is well hydrated—just because your body is well hydrated, does not mean your skin is,” Dr. Germain says. “Good moisturizers with antioxidants and hyaluronic acid need to be applied twice a day.” But that’s not all. Dr. Germain also says that anyone over 50 should also be incorporating a glycolic acid wash into their routines because it improves cell turnover without drying the surface out. “This does away with the dullness that can occur with aging skin, making the skin appear brighter and more youthful,” she adds. 


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