How Skin Changes with Age?

February 2, 2001


This is when your skin should look its best – so enjoy your prime time while it lasts, girls! BUT

  • The first signs of ageing can start to appear in the late 20s if you’ve been out in the sun a lot, haven’t had a good skincare regime, or have very dry skin.
  • Sometimes neglect of the skin or the use of products designed for older skin, or the pill can result in acne at this time.
  • If freckles or brown spots appear they’re probably your first encounter with sun damage. These are removable, however. See your dermatologist about

the best method, or try a good product called John Plunkett’s Freckle Fade, around $15 from many chemists and wear suncreen and stay out of the sun.

  • Skin allergies and rashes can show up in your 20s too – and are often caused by detergents, insecticides, stress, using many cosmetics and fragrances and a change in diet such as trying new foods.

    20s skin winners: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Kate Winslett, Drew Barrymore, model Shalom Harlow


    This is the time when most women are at their most beautiful, as though they’ve ‘grown into’ their looks BUT

    • This is the time when

we have to take steps to guard against skin drying out and causing premature ageing. You should change your skincare routine to one formulated for more mature skins as you’ll find that, say, the moisturiser that worked well in your 20s may be too light.

  • And just when many of us thought the acne thing was behind us in our teens, it turns up again for many in our 30s. It usually appears in the ‘hormonal zone’ around the chin, jaw and neck.
  • Women who have had dry skin all their lives will by now have noticed lines around their


Bags may also appear, which could be caused by fluid from sinus or allergy problems. Antihistamines can help in these cases.

  • Broken blood vessels, due to skin damage from pregnancy, high blood pressure, or excess alcohol, may begin to show around the nose and on the cheeks. These can be ‘zapped’ by a beauty therapist, though it may take a few visits to remove them completely.

    30s skin winners: Nicole Kidman, Sandra Bullock, all the original supermodels (Linda, Naomi, Helena) except Elle who’s had too much sun


    40 is not considered ‘old’ these days, and with all the great products and treatments we have at our fingertips we can extend our youthful looks longer BUT

    • At this age the skin is beginning to lose its tone and strength – it finds it difficult to support the pores, and they start becoming more visible and become enlarged. Skin refining lotions and astringents such as witchhazel will help temporarily.
    • Yet another variety of acne – acne rosacea – often appears during this time. This is aggravated by stress, alcohol, spicy foods and extremes of hot and cold temperatures. It has a flushed appearance with blackheads and small pustules and can by treated by a dermatologist.
    • Psoriasis also, although it can occur at any age, is most likely to appear now, its round red patches flecked with silvery scales showing first on elbows and knees.

    40s skin winners: Isabella Rosselini, Michelle Pfeiffer, Rene Russo, Madonna


    No matter how well you’re skin’s been looked after, or how lucky your genetic inheritance has been, the skin will by now begin to show its age.

    • It is no longer receiving sufficient support and elasticity from the protein fibres, and the fatty deposits beneath the skin are disappearing, leaving it loose and flabby.
    • Lines deepen into wrinkles, the skin dries and the drying skin itself becomes a problem, sometimes with side effects such as itching, slowness to heal, and a tendency to become infected.
    • Little clusters of red lines called spider angiomata may appear, as may brown spots.
    • Deterioration in skin colour is often due to poor circulation and may be improved with massage and exercise.
    • Most serious of all, this is the time when skin cancer usually appears.

    50+ skin winners: author Isabelle Allende, Cher, Sophia Loren, Barbra Streisand, Joan Collins, Liza Minelli

    Skin and climate control

    Whether it’s the change of seasons or your travelling to a place with an extremely different climate, the effects of temperature and humidity change will effect your skin.

    Autumn-to-winter skin: You may find with the changing season that your skin is feeling drier beginning to get a little tight, flaky and/or itchy so now’s the time to switch to a richer moisturiser for maximum hydration. Be sure to keep up good summer habits such as exfoliation so the thicker moisturiser doesn’t clog your pores and cause break-outs.

    Winter skin, and skincare in cold climates: Winter skin never seems to fit right and the culprits are both indoors and out. Outside the cold weather causes capillaries to dilate, taking vital moisture from the skin and slowing down the production of skin-soothing oils; inside heaters parch the air and our doonas over heat us. Some winter skin tips:

    • Avoid coming in from the cold and sitting ‘on top of’ a roaring fire or heater which can lead to rupturing of fine blood vessels and eventually leave spider veins on the face;
    • skip the soap;
    • as well as using a rich cream on your face, switch from light milks to a heavier body lotion and hand cream;
    • Avoid those very long, very hot showers which are so irresistible during the colder months, as they are very drying on the skin;
    • consider blankets as doona and electric blankets over heat the skin resulting in breakouts.

    Going from a temperate climate to tropical heat and humidity: Skin may become excessively oily, make up melts and hair goes limp or kinky. Keep skin extra clean, take a good toner to refresh skin, a cream to soothe break-outs, and a light moisturiser – and sunscreen of course.

    Spring to summer, going to a place where it’s hot and arid: your skin will become dry, as will your lips from breathing in hot air. Moisturise with a non-fragranced medium-rich cream a few times a day, use a richer night cream, and keep a lip balm in your handbag.

    Humidity plus air pollution, such as working in the city during summer or travelling to a place such as New York, Mexico City or Tokyo in high summer: You may find your skin looks grey and dirty even after cleansing, your make-up fades as soon as you apply it, and your skin breaks out in spots. Cleanse frequently and use a moisturiser for a skin type oiler than your own is naturally, and keep your make-up matte, such as one of the ‘stay-on’ brands to prevent it disappearing.

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