A Skincare Timeline - When to Start & Why

This might just be me, but ever since I noticed my first wrinkle at the tender age of 25, I dove head first into all things skincare related. Desperately trying to rectify youths hubris by consulting experts —the majority of which started the session by coyly asking me if I was engaged, as though the only reason for self-care is impending matrimony, but I digress.

More often than not, on my journey to everlasting youthful glow, I’d easily become overwhelmed and confused by all the tips, tricks and cautionary tales. After a while, it got convoluted with new studies and must-have hero products seemingly popping up every couple of months.

As a natural born skeptic and over-thinker, I had raised a brow and worried my lip over the question of starting retinol at the age of 25. And what of eye cream? had I missed the train? Also, I’ve an olive complexion and don’t sunburn, surely I don’t have to be so vigilant when it comes to daily application of SPF…

And so you don’t fall into the same rabbit hole I did, I’ve created a guide on when certain products should be introduced into your routine and why.

The key to any good skincare routine is first creating the habit. Remember old habits die hard. So from an early age, SPF should be everyone’s first priority. The sun doesn’t discriminate against age, gender or ethnicity, and can cause serious damage in the form of melanoma and undesirable signs of premature aging. SPF protects against broad spectrum harmful UV rays and decreases risk. 

Around the age of 10 would be a good time to start using gentle cleansers and simple moisturizers. It may be a hard cell for anyone so young to care about skincare, but kids sweat, they are exposed to free radicals and slather layers of sunscreen in the morning, which all accumulates and cause congestion. A simple two-step routine is encouraged to prevent clogged pores and nourish skin.

Puberty is just around the corner and it can be an uncomfortable time for anyone, let alone someone sporting the discomfort of a flaring red beacon of impending adulthood. Any pubescent teen would revolt against being thrust into one of life’s harder lessons to learn: consistency and discipline. Fortunately, acne treatments are ubiquitous now a days and products suitable for every skin type can be found everywhere. Active ingredients such as AHAs and BHAs are great to introduce into your routine at this time as they exfoliate the skin’s surface, clean pores and enhance water retention.

Your early twenties is when interested individuals should start thinking seriously about taking more preventative measures in the form of eye cream and antioxidant serums. The skin around your eyes (and neck!) is thin and usually where the first signs of aging occurs. Though crows feet do have their charm, a nourishing eye cream can help hold off their appearance for a little while longer. Serums such as vitamin C and E are great additions to anyone’s morning routine as they help protect the skin’s barrier and correct pigmentation for a glowing even skin tone.

In answer to my previous self-imposed question of whether one should adopt the use of vitamin A (retinol) by the age of 25, I’d say it depends, not all skin journeys are the same as are products containing the ingredient. Generally speaking, if you notice a loss in skin elasticity and an increase in the appearance of wrinkles, then start by introducing a less potent form to your routine and observe your skin’s reaction. Vitamin A aids in cell turnover and encourages the production of collagen. Though should you have any serious concerns, please consult your doctor for best results.

In essence:

10 years - start skincare habit.

13 years - introduce acids for breakouts.

20 years - start thinking ‘preventative’

25 years - vitamin A


About the Author
Nauf Alfahad is a Digital Editor at a leading publishing company with a background in Applied Linguistics. Her interests range a wide expanse driven by her need to understand the human condition, her appreciation for well curated aesthetics, and achieving that inner glow. 
For more on this beauty and brains, follow her at @riyadhblogs