‘I’m a skincare expert – women under 30 are ageing themselves with common mistake’

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A dermatologist is warning women against using certain skincare products, claiming they will make them look older than they actually are. According to Dr Niyati Sharma, too many women under the age of 30 are using strong anti-ageing skincare products, which could be having the opposite effect.

Speaking to Femail, part of the Mail Online, Dr Sharma recommended avoiding adding harsh actives, specifically retinol, to their routine before they turn 30.

She explained that the strong skincare ingredient can be damaging for young skin and actually “speed up” the ageing process.

“What people need to understand is that if used on skin that is too young, the skin barrier can be damaged and retinoids will do more harm than good,” she said.

Retinol is a form of vitamin A, which is added to skin creams, lotions and serums.

While it is also used to help clear acne, it is known for its anti-ageing benefits.

More recently retinol products have gained popularity with younger people, through social media platform TikTok.

While Dr Sharma acknowledged the potential benefits of retinol – including a reduction in fine lines, pigmentation and uneven skin texture – it must be used with caution.

People should consider adding retinoids to their skincare routine at the age of 30 and no earlier, she said.

And it should be done under the guidance of a professional.

Dr Sharma said: “Speaking to a dermatologist or even a GP will take the guesswork out of skincare and ensure you are using something that is right for your skin.

“A doctor can prescribe something that will be much stronger than what’s available over the counter in beauty stores, providing advice on the best way to use and apply it for the desired outcome.”

Worryingly, Dr Sharma revealed that children as young as eight are getting into skincare because of its popularity online.

As skin ages it requires different treatments, she said. With this in mind she shared her rough guide to assist.

Eight to 12 years old

According to Dr Sharma, tween skin is thinner and more sensitive than teen or adult skin and it doesn’t need much help (if any).

A gentle cleanser, simple moisturiser and daily sunscreen is adequate. No active ingredients and avoid fragrance.


Cleanse the face morning and night, gentle moisturiser and light daily sunscreen, she advised.

A cleanser with acne fighting ingredients like alpha-hydroxy acids can help with mild cases of acne. A GP or dermatologist can help with more serious cases of acne.


Dr Sharma said if you didn’t develop a regular skincare routine as a teenager, now is the time to start, but there’s no need for anything too complex.

If used regularly, cleanser, serum (vitamin C or niacinamide), moisturiser and sunscreen will be enough.


Unfortunately this is when skin cell turnover starts slowing down, contributing to dryness, dullness and increased appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.

Using retinol is now appropriate. However, it is best introduced under the guidance of a medical professional.

A basic routine should involve cleanser, serum, moisturiser and sunscreen. In the evening, add the retinol and an eye cream.

Forties and beyond

With perimenopause and menopause setting in, skin starts to become dry, Dr Sharma said.

You’ll want to stick with the same routine established in your thirties, but make sure you are using extra hydrating products.

Add retinoid if possible, with a prescription from a dermatologist or GP, to address sun-damaged skin, wrinkles and pigmentary issues.

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