It’s a common question—sometimes even a worry: When should you begin a facial skincare regimen? Lots of people wait to take care of their skin until a problem shows up—that’s not the best approach. Would you wait until you’re nutritionally deficient before you begin eating healthy foods? Of course not! The same approach applies to getting started with a basic skincare routine

Whether you want to help prevent wrinkles, smooth away dryness, or address other concerns, you should start a skincare routine as soon as possible. Age doesn’t matter; surprise, age is not a skin type.

Fashion magazines and websites tend to categorize skincare by the decade, often writing about the best skincare for when you’re in your 20s, best for when you’re in your 30s, 40s, 50s, and so on. Although some of the information can be helpful, it doesn’t take into account the research-supported truth:  Skin has the same basic needs at every age.

No matter your age, gender, or ethnicity, your skin needs gentle cleansing, exfoliation, hydration, year-round protection from UV light, and antioxidants, replenishing ingredients, and restoring ingredients.

What can and often does change over the years is our skin type, but even that doesn’t always go in the conventional direction of becoming more dry as we age. Many women find their skin does become drier with age, but many also experience oily skin, enlarged pores, and breakouts as their skin matures. That’s why, at any age, you should choose a skincare regimen based on your skin type and concerns, not on your age.

But what if you’re young and not yet concerned about signs of aging or dealing with breakouts? Do you still need a skincare routine? Yes, absolutely. Here’s what everyone should be doing to take care of their skin—and you can start doing it during childhood:

  • Wash your face with a gentle cleanser morning and evening.
  • In the daytime, apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen rated SPF 30 or greater to your face, neck, and other exposed areas of skin.
  • At night, apply a facial moisturizer suitable for your skin type: Liquids or gels if your skin is oily; lotions if your skin is normal to combination; creams if your skin is dry. Moisturizers from Paula’s Choice Skincare are enriched with the groups of ingredients mentioned above—antioxidants, replenishing, and restoring ingredients.

Those are the basics everyone can use daily; from the teen years on and as different skincare concerns arise, you can adapt and expand your routine as needed. For example, you can begin using an AHA or BHA exfoliant to improve skin texture and clogged pores. Or add an antioxidant serum to strengthen skin’s environmental defenses. The trick is customizing your skincare so it consistently meets the needs of your current concerns—and helps allay future concerns.

References for this information:
Journal of Pediatrics Review, January 2015, ePublication
International Journal of Cosmetic Science, August 2013, pages 337–345
The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, September 2012, pages 18–23
Dermatology Research and Practice, August 2012, ePublication
Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, June 2007, pages 75–82
Dermatologic Therapy, Volume 17, 2004, pages 143–148