Here's What You Should and Shouldn't Do to Your Face—Depending on Your Age

If I were to ask you what the forever-infamous vampire facial, Kim Kardashian West, and molecular science–backed skincare have in common, you'd discover Barbara Sturm, MD, as the common denominator. An innovator in science-backed skincare, she came up with the concept of customized, infused skincare wherein a person's own PRP (aka platelet-rich plasma) could be applied to the skin to stimulate collagen and elastin, and she's internationally known for her non-surgical/invasive skincare rejuvenation techniques, A-list clientele, and, oh yeah, her ultra-coveted skincare line. (Hollywood—her clients and beyond—collectively obsesses over it.) 

Considering Sturm is basically the queen of skincare and routinely cares for a diverse grouping of clients—from skin tone to age—we wanted to pick her brain about skincare routines. More specifically, exactly what we should and shouldn't be doing during every decade of life to achieve optimum glow and skin health. Just last weekend, I had the opportunity to attend a master class Sturm gave at Sephora's epic two-day beauty event Sephoria, and among other unexpected tips (take purslane and skip ingestible collagen!), I also had the opportunity to learn what she would prescribe skincare-wise for every age bracket. 

Though her products might be an investment, I quickly learned Sturm is all about minimally invasive but regular, smart, and savvy skin upkeep (think weekly exfoliation, lots of hydration, and strategic supplements) in lieu of harsh and aggressive treatments like lasers, acids, and peels, regardless of age. Ahead, we're breaking down Barbara Sturm's verbatim skincare advice for every age—what to add and what to skip in terms of both products and fancier, in-office treatments. Keep scrolling! 

If You're in Your 20s

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"Hydration, healthy exfoliation, and lots of moisture are the most essential things to regularly incorporate into your skincare routine when you're in your twenties," Dr. Sturm tells us. "The key to healthy skin at this age is cleansing with a hydrating component—this is super important—in addition to adding extra hydration in the form of serums and creams. I include my Hyaluronic Serum ($300) or my Anti-Pollution Drops ($145)—one or the other or both—because the only thing that provides a healthy skin barrier function is plump, well-hydrated skin." (During her Sephoria master class, Sturm compared well-hydrated skin to a juicy grape and poorly hydrated skin to a shriveled raisin.)

Additionally, she recommends exfoliating twice a week in order to rid the complexion of dulling and clogging dead skin cells, which, in turn, will help prevent issues like blackheads, large pores, and breakouts—all skin issues that seem to plague folks in their 20s. Then finish with a high-quality face cream—Sturm's promises a whopping 24 hours of moisturization post-application, and she has special formulas for dark and light skin tones—which should be the norm.

Sturm's recommended treatment add-ons: "Try to book cleansing facials every four weeks and start taking Skin Food ($95) supplements."

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Despite all the hubbub surrounding more intensive treatments and products, Sturm says you can actually skip anything aggressive like lasers, acids, and peels in your 20s. 

If You're in Your 30s

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Not too surprisingly, your skincare routine in your thirties won't look all that different from what you're already doing. "Besides what you already use in your 20s, you should add a face mask twice a week, hyaluronic serum in the morning, an anti-aging serum in the evening, plus eye cream," instructs Sturm.

Sturm's recommended treatment add-ons: "Facials with microdermabrasion every two months and micro-needling every two months. Repair Food for damage control. Regular dry brushing followed by body cream."

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Again, Sturm says most people in their 30s can forgo anything aggressive like lasers, acids, and peels. 

If You're in Your 40s or 50s

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According to Sturm, people in their 40s and 50s can continue with everything in the prescriptions above and can add strategic supplements like her Anti-Pollution Food, which contains adaptogens to help our bodies cope with and bounce back from stress (which ages us) in addition to her Sleep Food complex, which is strategically formulated to improve the quality of sleep—a key element, considering it's when our skin is in high-gear regeneration mode.

Sturm's recommended treatment add-ons: "Facials with microdermabrasion once a month, and micro-needling once a month. Sleep Food for nightly skin regeneration. Regular dry brushing followed by body cream."

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Yep! Keep skipping aggressive treatments like lasers, acids, and peels.

If You're in Your 60s or Beyond

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Once you hit your sixties (and beyond!), Sturm recommends adding a brightening serum into your routine and swapping your face cream out for a radiance-enhancing version that will also do double duty to fade age spots. 

Sturm's recommended treatment add-ons: "Facials with microdermabrasion once a month and micro-needling once a month. Sleep Food for nightly skin regeneration. Regular dry brushing followed by body cream."

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