A woman touching her face.

We’ve all heard it before: An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure, and this rings true for a lot of things—including skincare. That’s why you should start using anti-aging products as early as your 20s; giving your skin a little extra attention now can keep you young-looking for longer and will save you from fretting over fine lines and other signs of premature aging later on.

Investing in your skin early can benefit you in the long run.

Which anti-aging products you choose will depend not just on your skin type but also on your age. We asked a dermatologist to break down the skin-saving ingredients you should be looking for in every decade. 

Changing Skin Needs

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“It is important to remember that every skin is different, and at the same time, the skin also changes as one gets older,” says Dr. Kaycee Reyes, a dermatologist who’s trained and practiced both here and abroad, and founder of skin clinic Luminisce. “This is why the skincare steps and product ingredients change depending on one’s skin condition and age.”

Dr. Reyes adds that most women think that what worked for them in their teens and 20s will also work for them in their 30s and beyond. However, she says, “Our skin has different needs as it ages, and these should be addressed early or at the right time before it is too late.” 

Put another way: It’s much easier to prevent the early onset of skin aging than to erase those pesky lines that appear prematurely, so start paying attention to the ingredients that meet your skin’s changing needs.

In Your 20s

These are the ingredients you should be looking for in your 20s, when collagen production starts to slow down, and your skin begins losing some of its plumpness and elasticity:

The MVP: Vitamin C

This antioxidant protects your skin from UV damage, pollution, and cell-damaging free radicals. It also encourages the production of collagen, which is responsible for keeping your skin firm and supple.

The skin scrubbers: AHAs and BHAs

Dr. Reyes explains: “Alpha Hydroxy Acids or AHAs and Beta Hydroxy Acids or BHAs are both effective skin exfoliators. Both hydrate and improve the skin’s tone and texture.” According to Dr. Reyes, AHAs can help minimize the effects of sun damage and are ideal for well-balanced to dry skin. Bacteria-fighting BHAs, on the other hand, can help unclog pores, especially for those with oily, acne-prone skin. POND'S Pore Conditioning Toner has salicylic acid, a BHA that’s known to penetrate the skin and clean out your pores.

In Your 30s

Your 30s is usually when your complexion may start to look dull because of a slower cell turnover. This means regular exfoliation is your top priority, so add these products to your routine:

The skin refreshers: Exfoliators

Use chemical exfoliators to remove the dull top layer of skin to reveal fresher, brighter skin underneath. Glycolic acid has the added benefit of encouraging collagen production, which helps reduce the appearance of fine lines. POND'S Age Miracle Youthful Glow Double Action Serum has glycolic acid and other helpful ingredients to help prevent wrinkles, dark spots, and dullness.

With 30x skin renewal actives

POND’S Age Miracle Youthful Glow Double Action Serum

The free-radical fighters: Antioxidants

Go beyond vitamin C and add other antioxidants like vitamin E, which works in tandem with vitamin C to fight UV damage, and vitamin B3 or niacinamide, which hydrates skin and makes it more radiant.

In Your 40s

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Aside from fine lines and dark spots, 40-somethings also struggle with hormone-related problems like pre-menopausal dryness. Because of this, you need products that will infuse hydration into your skin and slow down signs of aging:

The humectant: Hyaluronic acid

This hydration heavyweight can hold 1,000 times its weight in water, ensuring that skin stays moisturized—a key against preventing the onset of fine lines. You can find it in POND'S Age Miracle Day and Night Cream.

For an ultimate youthful glow

POND’S Age Miracle Day Cream

Ultimately Youthful, Ultimately Glowing

POND’S Age Miracle Anti-Aging Night Cream

The hard worker: Retinol

Not only does it minimize fine lines and wrinkles, but it also prevents dullness, plumps up skin, and treats acne. Looking for a retinol product that works fast? Try POND'S Age Miracle Ultimate Youth Essence, which can have you looking more radiant in just seven days.

Ultimately youthful, ultimately glowing

POND’S Age Miracle Ultimate Age Youth Essence

Dr. Reyes’s final tip: “The most powerful anti-aging product women (and men!) can use at any age is sunscreen.” You heard the good doctor—it’s time to start taking daily sun protection seriously. It’s the best skincare investment you can make!