No matter what the date on your driver’s licence, with the right products and treatments, the best skin of your life may well be ahead of you. (No, really.)

It’s no secret that with each passing decade, your face undergoes a metamorphosis: The formation of lines in your 30s, gradual loss of tone in your 40s, and postmenopausal dryness in your 50s. But the right products and treatments can help you tackle these challenges by giving your complexion what it needs, when it needs it. That’s where this decade-by-decade guide comes in. Here you’ll find products to try, ingredients to avoid, and – most importantly – how to make the most of the skin you’ve got. 30b

30s : Though skin in this age range is still relatively youthful, plump and radiant, the hands of time have started showing themselves in the form of fine lines from the nose to mouth, and crow’s feet around the eyes. Blemishes are also more likely to appear now – particularly along the lower part of the face – as are enlarged pores, brown spots and for some, the beginnings of skin dryness.


Wash carefully
Look for lightweight, non-drying liquid cleansers that won’t alter the pH of skin or irritate it, says Dr. Paul Cohen, dermatologist at Toronto’s Rosedale Dermatology Centre. Try one with alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) in the morning to clear away dead skin, and a gentle, creamy cleanser at night to hydrate your complexion.

Load on the moisturizer
Keeping skin supple and dewy-looking can be challenging, but you’ll have better luck pulling it off by upgrading your moisturizer to a richer, more hydrating version. Look for one with hyaluronic acid, which is vital for fighting dryness and improving your skin’s ability to hold onto water, and vitamin C, to brighten skin and minimize the signs of aging.

Brush up on exfoliation
Skin will show almost immediate improvements when you slough off dead cells, but be careful not to use large, harsh exfoliants. For a clearer complexion, look for cleansers, moisturizers or night creams with glycolic or salicylic acid, and use a night cream with retinoids – ingredients derived from vitamin A to boost collagen, soften lines, minimize pores, help fade dark spots – for best results. “Just be sure to always use sunscreen once you’ve started using these products, as you’re exfoliating away the top layer of skin and leaving it more vulnerable to UV damage,” says Dr. Cohen.

Products to try: Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant, $72; NeoStrata Daytime Moisture Infusion Cream, $29; Aquafolia Gentle Cleansing Essence, $57


Soften lines
When a woman hits her 30s, the signs of aging are first noticeable around the eyes, between the brows and across the forehead. Small amounts of Botox can soften the appearance of these issues without creating “frozen face,” says Dr. Sonya Cook, a Toronto-based dermatologist and medical director of Compass Dermatology, while lines between the nose and corners of your mouth can be filled out with hyaluronic acid dermal fillers like Juvederm.

Nix pigmentation
For complexions experiencing melasma (large patches of pigmentation resembling the mask of pregnancy) or sun spots, laser treatments can help. An introductory treatment, it addresses and prevents the early signs of aging by improving skin texture, evening out discolouration and reducing pore size without downtime. Four to six monthly sessions are recommended.

Correct broken blood vessels
Noticeably broken blood vessels can be eradicated once zapped with multiple wavelengths of light, courtesy of Intense Pulsed Light (IPL). No downtime is needed and results last for up to a year. For best results, three to five sessions are required.