With most things in life from dating to your diet, what worked in your 20s won’t work in your 40s—and that also applies to skin care. As you get older, your skin produces less oil and more wrinkles, but that doesn’t mean you have to succumb to aging skin. If you’re using the right skin care products for your age, you’ll stay one step ahead of what’s coming your way.
Here’s our guide on the best skin care tips for men in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, and beyond.
While those teenage-strength breakouts may have eased up, excess oil production remains common for men in their 20s. Chances are, you struggle—at least occasionally—to keep your complexion clear and healthy-looking. The goal in your 20s is to keep your skin clean, fight breakouts, and get a head start on wrinkle prevention.
Here are some easy steps for building a men’s skin care routine for your 20s.
Unless you’re in the small group of twenty-something men with dry skin, look for cleansers with glycolic acid or salicylic acid because these are the best ingredients for regulating oil production and fighting acne.
Even oily skin needs to be moisturized. Without it, your skin will sense dehydration and continue overproducing oil to compensate. Using a quality moisturizer will help to regulate oil and prevent breakouts.
The sun’s UV rays cause more damage than you may realize—they’re responsible for nearly all of the wrinkles that you’ll run into as you age. Getting in the habit of using a daily SPF moisturizer while you’re still young is the absolute best way to maintain a healthy, wrinkle-free appearance.
If you’re struggling with breakouts and blackheads, using an exfoliating toner is the best way to keep your skin clean, your pores clear, and your face breakout-free.
Your 30s is when the aging process starts. In fact, you lose about 1% of the collagen in your skin each year after 30. Less collagen means more wrinkles. Your skin also retains less moisture than it did in your 20s, which means less elasticity and more wrinkles if you don’t start using the right skin care products regularly.
Here’s how to upgrade your skin care routine for your 30s.
When used correctly, retinol reverses the signs of aging by maximizing your cell turnover and increasing collagen production. Because retinol products are highly potent, we recommend starting with a low-percentage formulation and increasing as your skin adjusts.
Exfoliating alpha hydroxy acids are beneficial beyond regulating oil production. The right AHAs can also speed up your skin cell turnover process, helping to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and boost collagen levels.
Because the skin around your eyes is thinner than anywhere else on your body, the loss of collagen will be most apparent here. Add long hours at work and maybe a kid or two to the mix and it’s no surprise men in their 30s often struggle with baggy eyes and dark circles. Look for eye creams formulated with caffeine, the most effective ingredient for minimizing under-eye concerns.
If you didn’t start in your 20s, now’s the time to incorporate a daily SPF moisturizer into your regimen. The sun is responsible for 90% of the wrinkles on your face and preventing wrinkles is a lot easier than removing them. It’s still early enough for you.
Your 40s is when you really start to see the effects of what you did or didn’t do in your earlier years. Sun damage, pigmentation issues, dullness and dryness become the norm. If you didn’t take care of your skin in your younger years, it’s not too late, but you might need to bring in some heavier hitters.
Here’s our expert advice on building an age-defying skin care routine for your 40s.
While some men still have oily skin into their 40s and beyond, it’s less common. If you’re starting to feel drier than you did in your 20s and 30s, consider using a cream cleanser, which are typically gentler and better suited for aging skin.
While vitamin C and other antioxidant-rich serums are a nice-to-have product in your 30s, they’re a must-have product in your 40s. At this age, if you want to hang onto any youth your skin has left, you’ll need the collagen-boosting powers that serums provide.
While daily sun protection is still important (consider that a must at every age), at night is when you can make up the most ground. When you’re sleeping your skin is resting and no longer on the defense—this is when skin care ingredients are most beneficial. Be sure to invest in a night cream that’s loaded with rejuvenating and anti-aging ingredients like retinol, vitamin C, and peptides.
Your skin’s performance slows to a turtle’s crawl in your 50s and beyond. For example, in your 20s it takes about 14–21 days for your skin cells to regenerate and reveal younger-looking skin. In your 50s, that time increases to about 60–90 days. If you want more youthful-looking skin, you’ll need some special product assistance.
Here’s our take on how to turn back the clock with a skin care routine for your 50s.
Slow cell turnover means hyperpigmentation (dark spots) will start to become even more noticeable than it was in your 40s. Vitamin C, azelaic acid, and retinol are all top-notch ingredients for fading hyperpigmentation. Look for serums, toners, and night creams with these hero ingredients.
If you didn’t already make the transition in your 40’s, consider switching to a gentler cleanser. At this age, your skin is likely struggling to produce moisture, and using an oil-stripping cleanser is the last thing your skin needs. A gentler cleanser will help you maintain oil where your skin needs it, promote more moisture, less dullness, and healthier skin.
It doesn’t matter if you’re 25 or 65, it’s never too late to start a men’s skin care routine. While starting young is best, there are products and solutions to help you achieve the results you want no matter your concerns, your age, or where you’re at in your skin care journey.