When is the Best Time to Start an Anti-Aging Skincare Routine?

As you age your skin experiences changes such as loss of elasticity, fine lines, wrinkles and dryness.1 Everyone's skin is different, and these changes will occur at different times, but you can help slow down and reduce the appearance of aging skin with a healthy lifestyle and a good skincare routine.1 Discover skincare routines and Cetaphil’s new anti-aging line, designed for aging, sensitive skin - Cetaphil Healthy Renew.

close up of person's eye with dry skin

When to start anti-aging skincare?

It’s never too early to start a good skincare routine and make good choices to help keep your skin hydrated, soft and healthy-looking. If you’ve never had a skincare routine before, read our article Getting Started on a Skincare Routine.

Starting a routine early can help prevent premature aging. A good approach is incorporating broad-spectrum sun protection with an SPF of at least 30 into your daily routine. UV rays can lead to premature aging of your skin, so using sun protection every day is vital to helping maintain youthful-looking skin.2

As we age, our skin undergoes a natural aging process marked by a decline in collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid, as well as our skin’s natural barrier not working as well. This leads to thinner, drier, and less elastic skin, which results in the formation of fine lines and wrinkles.1

Skin changes can also be impacted by other factors, including exposure to UV radiation, environmental factors, and lifestyle choices such as diet, alcohol, and smoking.1,2

What is the best skincare for aging skin?

The best skincare products for aging skin are those suitable for your skin type and those that include specific ingredients to target aging skin. Your routine should include a good cleanser, serum, moisturizer, sun protection, and exfoliator.

Key ingredients often found in anti-aging products include retinol, peptides, vitamins, and hyaluronic acid. Let’s take a quick look at these ingredients:

Retinols are used in many anti-aging skincare products and can help to smooth, firm, and strengthen skin, but they can cause irritation, especially with sensitive skin.3 Cetaphil does not use retinol in their products, using instead retinol alternatives, which are gentle on sensitive skin, including bakuchiol, a plant-based retinol alternative.

Peptides form many proteins in your body, such as elastin and collagen, which help to keep your skin barrier healthy-looking, bright, hydrated, and more youthful-looking.(1,4) Peptides, such as those that form the protein keratin, can help with skin brightening, hair shine, and improved skin texture.4 Learn more in our article A Beginner’s Guide to Peptides in Skincare. All Cetaphil Healthy Renew products contain purified peptides.

Vitamins can also help hydrate and smooth skin, and some vitamins, like vitamin C, act as antioxidants and can help defend against surface free radicals, which is important for aging skin.(5) Both niacinamide (vitamin B3) and panthenol (vitamin B5) are often used in skincare products for aging skin to help with hydration, skin tone, and skin barrier protection.(6,7) Cetaphil Restoring Lotion contains niacinamide, panthenol, and tocopherol (vitamin E) to help improve elasticity and help skin look healthier and more youthful.

Hyaluronic acid naturally occurs in our skin, but its surface levels reduce as we age.(1) Hyaluronic acid can help to boost your skin’s hydration, providing you with a smooth skin texture. This ingredient can also help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, as well as skin dryness.(8)

How to take care of your skin as a teenager

It’s a good idea to start a skincare routine as a teenager because it’s important to create good habits early! For teenagers, like everyone else, sun protection is vital to protect skin against UV damage.

Additionally, because of the release of hormones during puberty, teenagers often experience increased skin oil (sebum) production, which can lead to pores becoming blocked by excess oil, dead skin, and bacteria, resulting in acne.9 Therefore, it’s important therefore to eat a balanced diet, as there is a known link between high sugar foods and acne.9 Equally important is to regularly cleanse your skin.

Remember to choose products which are best for your skin type. For example, if you do have oily skin, try Cetaphil DermaControl Oil Absorbing Moisturizer SPF 30. This lightweight lotion provides SPF 30 protection and includes MicroPearl mattifying technology that absorbs excess surface oil and reduces shine for a balanced, healthy-looking skin.

Read our article How to Get Clearer Skin to find out more.

How to take care of your skin in your 20s

Your twenties is a good time to start a proactive anti-aging skincare routine every morning and night. You may spend more time socializing in your twenties, but remember that it’s important to remove your makeup every day during this often busy stage of your life.

Cetaphil Gentle Makeup Removing Wipes are very handy to remove your makeup on the go - these ultra soft wipes contain aloe vera, chamomile, and green tea botanicals, which can help soothe and condition your skin.

As always, remember to continue to use sunscreen every day - take a look at Cetaphil Sheer Mineral Sunscreens, which form a protective barrier to reflect UV rays instead of absorbing them. All contain vitamin E for additional protection against surface free radicals.

It’s important to know that pregnancy can cause some skin conditions, such as acne and dark spots,10 so you may need to adjust your skincare routine. For example, if you experience dark spots, look out for products which are suitable for an uneven skin tone.

How to take care of your skin in your 30s

When you reach your thirties, you may start to notice the first visible signs of skin aging. This is often linked to exposure to free radicals over your lifetime. While these unstable molecules are naturally produced by the body, excessive exposure from sources like UV radiation, cigarette smoke, and pollution can be harmful.5

Overexposure to free radicals can lead to premature skin aging, resulting in wrinkles and pigmentation spots, and damage the skin's barrier, leading to inflammation and hyperpigmentation.6

Introduce anti-aging products in your thirties into your skincare routine, such as products from the Cetaphil Healthy Renew anti-aging range, which contains purified peptides, an effective anti-aging retinol alternative.

Additionally, Cetaphil Healthy Radiance Antioxidant-C Serum is formulated with 12% vitamins, including vitamin C and antioxidants to defend against surface free radicals

If you notice a change intone or texture of your skin, Cetaphil Healthy Radiance Renewal Cream can help to improve your skin's luminosity and reduce the appearance of dark spots without causing irritation. This lightweight cream is formulated with niacinamide and antioxidants.

How to take care of your skin after 40 and 50

It’s important to continue your skincare routine with anti-aging skincare products when you reach your forties and fifties. Menopause, which usually begins between the ages of 45 and 55, can cause significant skin changes due to dropping estrogen levels, resulting in dry, thinner, less elastic skin.6,11 Studies show that adult skin loses about 1-1.5% of its collagen every year and during the menopause 2.1% a year.6

Therefore, you may need richer moisturizers, targeted serums, and additional treatments to address age spots, fine lines, and wrinkles.

Additionally, as we age, our skin's natural cell turnover slows down, which leads to a build-up of dead skin cells on the surface.1 Start your anti-aging skincare routine with a gentle exfoliator, such as Cetaphil Healthy Radiance Gentle PHA Exfoliating Cleanser to help improve your skin texture and gently promote surface cell turnover.

Follow with Cetaphil Healthy Renew Face Serum, which can be used twice a day and can help to improve skin firmness, texture and tone in just 2 weeks. This hydrating serum can help to improve your skin’s luminosity to reveal radiant, glowing, healthy-looking skin.

After applying the serum, use Cetaphil Healthy Renew Day Cream SPF 30 in the morning to hydrate your skin for 48 hours and smooth the appearance of fine lines. As a broad spectrum SPF moisturizer, this daily use face moisturizer protects against harmful UVA and UVB rays, photoaging, and damaging surface free radicals.

At nighttime, apply Cetaphil Healthy Renew Night Cream before going to bed, so you can wake up to skin that looks rested, radiant, and revitalized. This nourishing night cream visibly reduces the look of fine lines and wrinkles in just 2 weeks.

Keeping the skin around your eyes hydrated can also help to reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles, so try Cetaphil Healthy Renew Eye Gel Serum for youthful, radiant-looking eyes.

The bottom line

It’s never too early to start an anti-aging skincare routine - getting into good habits with your skincare will help your skin to stay healthy-looking through the decades. As you age, your skin needs may change, but by protecting your skin against UV rays, eating well, exercising, getting enough sleep, and keeping your skin nourished and hydrated, you can help prevent some signs of premature aging and help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles as you age.


  1. Ganceviciene R, Liakou AI, Theodoridis A, Makrantonaki E, Zouboulis CC. Skin anti-aging strategies. Dermatoendocrinol. 2012.1;4(3):308-19. doi: 10.4161/derm.22804.
  2. American Academy of Dermatology Association. 11 Ways To Reduce Premature Skin Aging. https://www.aad.org/public/everyday-care/skin-care-secrets/anti-aging/reduce-premature-aging-skin Accessed May 10, 2023.
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  8. Bukhari SNA, Roswandi N, Muhammad W, et al. Hyaluronic Acid, a Promising Skin Rejuvenating Biomedicine: A Review of Recent Updates and Pre-clinical and Clinical Investigations on Cosmetic and Nutricosmetic Effects. Int. J biol macromol 2018;120(Pt B):1682-1695. doi:120. 10.1016/j.ijbiomac.2018.09.188.
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  10. Vora RV, Gupta R, Mehta MJ, Chaudhari AH, Pilani AP, Patel N. Pregnancy and skin. J Family Med Prim Care. 2014;3(4):318-324. doi:10.4103/2249-4863.148099.
  11. National Institute on Aging. What is Menopause? https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/what-menopause# Accessed September 19, 2023.