Ageing is inevitable, we know this much. But how we approach it has evolved over the years and, thankfully, it no longer has such negative connotations but it’s still important to many of us to maintain our skin’s utmost health and happiness, no matter what age we are. Things like sun damage, pollution, stress and lack of sleep combine in an ageing cocktail which is detrimental to skin and stops it from functioning as it should, resulting in dark spots, lines and lacklustre, dull skin. And these all start early, in the depths of the skin, even though they may not rear their heads until later on. While we’ll never have full control over how our skin looks and feels, there’s something soothing in knowing that you’ve nurtured your skin throughout it all.
Our 20s are when we usually start to look at the process, even if we’re only dipping our toes (okay, some of us are wading in up to our knees) into the anti-ageing world. Take Sharon De Grouw, a 25-year-old obstetrics and gynaecology doctor who’s working eight-hour shifts during a pandemic, where a mask is a must. “I’ve erupted into tiny spots around my mouth and have no idea what to do about them,” she says. “I’m using a benzoyl peroxide over-the-counter spot cream and a toner to tackle them but I’m unsure if that’s the right approach; I’m also worried about the dark marks left behind and how they’ll worsen as I get older.”
At around Sharon’s age is the time when many of us notice our post-spot marks (known as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation) are much slower to fade – a sign our skin’s renewal cycle is starting to slow down. To shift the dead skin on top and unveil the newer clear skin underneath, a chemical exfoliator like Eucerin’s Hyaluron-Filler Night Peeling + Serum is needed. With a blend of AHAs including glycolic acid and lactic acid, it works to gently slough away dead skin, while hyaluronic acid draws in moisture to the skin to keep it hydrated and supple.
However, exfoliating with AHAs is best left until the ‘maskne’ is cured. “This is a classic case of this side-effect of wearing masks for a long time,” explains Dr Ifeoma Ejikeme, founder and medical director at Adonia Medical Clinic. “It’s something so many of us are learning how to tackle right now, and it’s crucial to adapt your skincare routine to help avoid it.” Beneath the mask, excess moisture, heat and sweat build up to create the perfect environment for bacteria, while actually drying out the skin at the same time. Cleansing properly with a non-comedogenic (read: not pore-clogging) cleanser with oil-removing powers should be the first step – look to Eucerin’s antibacterial DermoPurifyer Oil Control Cleansing Gel for morning and night. “Definitely skip the makeup down there,” Dr Ejikeme advises. “Follow with a non-oily moisturiser with hyaluronic acid and an oil-free sunscreen.” Eucerin’s Hyaluron-Filler Moisture Booster Serum contains glycerin rather than oil which helps trap moisture and hydrating hyaluronic acid to ensure skin doesn’t dry out beneath the mask.
Enter the 30s, where the effects of sun damage really start to come out to play. Farrah Gray, 39, has been dealing with lighter patches of skin. “I’ve heard it’s common in darker and Asian skin tones, should I be trying to exfoliate them away?” It’s true: olive, brown and Black skin tones deal with pigmentation issues much more than white skin does, due to the changes in melanin production. “In my experience, this could be down to two things,” says Dr Ejikeme. “Either an uneven skin tone where some patches won’t tan while the skin around it does, or it’s lighter dots like reversed freckles. Whatever’s happening, this could be an alert from your skin that it needs protection so always use an SPF. Alongside suncream, a vitamin C product with 10% level will help your skin strengthen its defences against environmental aggressors alongside sunscreen to prevent it from getting worse.” Eucerin’s Hyaluron-Filler Vitamin C Booster Anti-Ageing Serum contains a 10% concentration of vitamin C alongside another powerful antioxidant called Licochalcone A to provide ultimate protection. As well as lighter patches, dark marks can also spring up with sun damage: smooth Eucerin’s Anti-Pigment Dual Serum over them to reduce melanin production and prevent them from popping up again.
As well as sun damage, eyes are often a big point of focus. Brigid Morley*, 43, has been considering eye cream after noticing crow’s feet. “Is it too late to start?” she wonders. “It’s definitely not too late,” says Dr Ejikeme. “Use a hydrating eye cream with hyaluronic acid and SPF in the day to prevent further damage.” Eucerin’s Hyaluron-Filler Eye Cream with SPF15 has both, with an added ingredient called glycine saponin that actually helps your skin to produce hyaluronic acid at the deepest level, working on wrinkles from the inside out. It goes without saying, but it always helps to be mindful about how you’re taking your makeup off (gently is much less line-inducing than rubbing and tugging), and what you’re using to do it. Micellar is a must; the tiny oil capsules suspended in water dissolve even waterproof mascara while hydrating the delicate skin.
On to skin texture. While we often think of lines and wrinkles as the main issue, smoothness can be harder to maintain as we grow older. “My skin used to be very clear and smooth all over but over the past few years it’s become dull and textured around my mouth, jawline and cheeks,” says Gina Harold*, 53. “As my skin is still quite oily, I’m using a lot of clay masks and pore-refining products which leave my skin quite tight and dry and don’t help those rough patches.” For Gina, it’s time for a total routine overhaul. Add in a glycolic acid product three times a week to even out that skin tone, and use vitamin C every day before a non-comedogenic (read: not pore-clogging) sunscreen to brighten. For exfoliating, Eucerin’s glycolic-based Hyaluron-Filler Night Peeling + Serum would work just as well for Gina as it would for Sharon, spanning age groups for multiple concerns. Add on the Hyaluron-Filler Vitamin C Booster Anti-Ageing Serum for brightness and the Hyaluron-Filler Day Cream SPF30 for non-comedogenic protection, and that’s almost all of her routine sorted – with an extra boost of hydration thanks to the hyaluronic acid in every product (there’s no such thing as too much). And for days where skin needs some extra bounce, prep it with the Hyaluron-Filler Hyaluron Intensive Mask – it just needs five minutes to infuse skin with a powerful hyaluronic acid complex.
Whether it’s a change in skin texture, fine lines or the effects of sun damage, these signals show us that our skin could benefit from a little extra attention. Rather than trying to force unreasonable expectations on it, the best approach is to nurture, protect and remind it how to function at its best, leaving us and our skin healthier, happier and hydrated.