Many people assume when they enter a new decade that it means they should adjust their skin care shelf with new products. This idea is something the beauty industry has marketed to us for decades with the words “specifically formulated for mature skin.”

But is it true?

While our skin does change throughout our lives, it has very little to do with our numeric age. Bigger factors are at play and have more to do with our genetics, lifestyle, skin type, and any skin conditions.

With the people I treat, I never ask their age because, to be honest, it’s been unhelpful.

Skin type is hereditary. This really doesn’t change except for the fact that our oil production slows as we age and that we lose some fat cells that contribute to a youthful look. All of this is a natural process!

We all age, it’s inevitable. But “mature skin” isn’t a skin type. It’s a skin condition that can be genetic (like rosacea or acne) or develop (like sunspots) through lifestyle factors, such as living life outdoors or not being diligent with sunscreen.

These signs of aging will happen at very different stages, from person to person

The fact of the matter is a person in their 20s may very well have the same genetic skin type and skin concerns as a person in their 50s.

Just as a person may experience acne in their youth and still may be dealing with it through to retirement. Or a young person who has spent a lot of time in the sun may experience dullness, pigmentation, and fine lines earlier than expected because of their lifestyle.

It’s best to choose what to use based on your genetic skin type, followed by any skin conditions and the climate you live in, over your numeric age!

With the people I treat, I never ask their age because, to be honest, it’s been unhelpful. What aestheticians and dermatologists care about most is the skin’s health, how it looks and feels, and any concerns of the patient.

The condition of the skin is what’s treated.

The next time you’re looking up what product to try, don’t be swayed by phrases like “age defying.” Get to know your skin and the science behind its health. Age isn’t a limit to the products you can try or the way your skin should look.

It’s best to choose what to use based on your genetic skin type, followed by any skin conditions and the climate you live in, over your numeric age!

And how do you know what to choose?

Start with the ingredients.

For example, alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) is a wonderful ingredient that helps resurface the skin. I would recommend AHA for a person of any age for a multitude of skin concerns, from softening fine lines to fading pigmentation left over from acne.

Other ingredients to look for are:

Fact is many other ingredients help slow down the way our skin ages — and you don’t have to fit an age bracket to use them! Meaning: If an “age-defying” or “anti-wrinkle” bottle makes you feel pressured to look one way, it’s definitely not your only solution.

There’s plenty of options out there that don’t include the hefty premium price tag slapped on a jar of expectations set by someone else.


Dana Murray is a licensed aesthetician from Southern California with a passion for skin care science. She’s worked in skin education, from helping others with their skin to developing products for beauty brands. Her experience extends over 15 years and an estimated 10,000 facials. She’s been using her knowledge to blog about skin and bust skin myths on her Instagram since 2016.