When we talk about skincare, we tend to categorize products and regimens by the decade: skin care routines for your 20s, skin care routines for your 30s, and so on. However, the truth is that the fundamentals of skin care don’t vary much from age to age, and our skin always will always have the same basic needs.

Of course, it’s important to start a skincare routine as soon as possible, to take care of the things our skin needs most: hydration, gentle cleansing, exfoliation, UV protection, and antioxidant-rich restorative ingredients. Here are the most important things you can do for your skin from age to age.

Skincare Routine for Children

There are some essential skincare practices that everyone should be doing from a very early age. For example, it’s a good idea for children to get used to a basic skincare routine as soon as they are able. Children can wash their faces with a gentle cleanser twice a day and apply a facial moisturizer at night. Of course, it’s also crucial for children to wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen regardless of their age.

Skincare Routine for Pre-Adolescents and Teenagers

In addition to the basic practices above, this age group can begin exfoliating regularly. Exfoliation is a key practice that should be started somewhere around middle to high school, usually before the person in question begins to see their first breakouts. Exfoliants help clean out our pores, and they can also protect against future acne breakouts. In addition, they help to clear away dead skin cells that linger on the surface of our skin, and research has shown that a buildup of dead skin cells over long periods can contribute to a dull complexion later in life.

Skincare Routine for 20s

Once we hit our 20s, it’s time to add a few extra steps:

Anti-aging serums: Find one with a good SPF to help decrease sun damage, and try to get one that also includes beneficial ingredients like antioxidants.

Hand moisturizers: The skin on our hands is delicate and thin, and as we age, it only becomes even more so. It’s important to use moisturizing hand cream to keep skin firm as we grow older.

Anti-wrinkle creams: Start wearing an anti-wrinkle cream to keep signs of sun damage and wrinkles from surfacing. Specifically, retinol will help keep skin cells looking plump and fresh, giving your skin a healthier, more youthful appearance over time.

Skincare Routines for 30s

In your 30s, you’ll want to add a daily neck cream to the routine above. As you age and wrinkles begin to form, your neck can make you look older than you actually are. The neck can be prone to discoloration due to sun exposure, or even to skin sagging. However, preventative care through a daily, antioxidant-rich neck cream can keep the skin on your neck looking healthy and youthful for longer.

Skincare Routines for 40s and Older

At 40 years old and older, our skin needs a little more TLC. This is the age where we begin to see signs of aging in the form of discoloration and wrinkles, or even a loss of skin elasticity. While doing all of the steps in the regimen above, try to switch to products that contain higher levels of antioxidants and anti-aging ingredients. This can help you slow down the aging process and reduce the future appearance of wrinkles.

Remember, skin health is important at any age, and it’s our daily routine that keeps our skin looking youthful over time. Get in the habit of practicing an everyday regimen, and you’ll enjoy healthy, strong skin for much longer in life.