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Is your skincare routine ageing you? A leading dermatologist says people must review their skincare practices, warning they could prematurely age their appearance.

It comes as data from the women’s online health platform Moshy shows 35 is the most popular age when women connect with a medical professional, some starting as young as 19, to prevent premature ageing with personalised skincare.

Dr Niyati Sharma, Moshy consultant dermatologist, says that with girls as young as 10 and 11 committing to complex skincare routines thanks to social media trends, there’s a risk of the wrong ingredients being used at the wrong age, leading to long-term damage.

“Retinoids are very popular in skincare at the moment .... for their ability to improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and reduce irregular pigmentation, roughness and scaly skin,” Dr Sharma said.

“But what people need to understand is that if used on skin that is too young, the skin barrier can be damaged and retinoids will do more harm than good."

Dr Sharma says around 30 is the age when people should consider adding retinoids to their skincare routine, under the guidance of an expert.

“Speaking to a dermatologist or even a GP will take the guesswork out of skincare and ensure you are using something that is right for your skin,” Dr Sharma said.

“A doctor can prescribe something that will be much stronger than what’s available over the counter in beauty stores, providing advice on the best way to use and apply it for the desired outcome.

“Diet is another important piece of the puzzle when it comes to skincare, as processed sugar can contribute to faster signs of ageing while drinking plenty of water and increasing your intake of flaxseed will hydrate the skin.”

Dr Sharma said as women age, their skin care needs change. She recommends the following, as a guide:

  • Tweens (8-12): Tween skin is thinner and more sensitive than teen or adult skin and it doesn’t need much help (if any). A gentle cleanser, simple moisturiser and daily sunscreen are adequate. No active ingredients and avoid fragrance.

  • Teens: Cleanse the face morning and night, apply gentle moisturiser, and wear light daily sunscreen. A cleanser with acne-fighting ingredients like alpha-hydroxy acids can help with mild cases of acne. A GP or dermatologist can help with more serious cases of acne.

  • Twenties: If you didn’t develop a regular skincare routine as a teenager, now is the time to start, but there’s no need for anything too complex. A regular cleanser, serum (vitamin C or niacinamide), moisturiser, and sunscreen will be enough. 

  • Thirties: This is the decade when skin cell turnover starts slowing down, contributing to dryness, dullness and increased appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. Using retinol (a potent vitamin A derivative) is now appropriate. However best introduced under the guidance of a medical professional. A basic routine should involve cleanser, serum, moisturiser and sunscreen. In the evening, add the retinol and an eye cream. 

  • Forties and beyond: As perimenopause and menopause set in, skin starts to become dry. You’ll want to stick with the same routine established in your 30s, but make sure you are using extra-hydrating products. Add retinoids, if possible, with a prescription from a dermatologist or GP, to address sun-damaged skin, wrinkles, and pigmentary issues.



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