Sometimes when you look in the mirror, you barely recognize who you see.
Why are there “laugh lines” around your eyes (when you haven’t been laughing that much lately) and lipstick-holding creases around your lips? Your belly keeps laughing long after you’ve stopped laughing, and you look down at your hands and see your mother’s or grandmother’s.
The physical changes that take place in your face and body from your teens/20s through the mid-life years and supposed golden years can be so gradual on a day-to-day basis that you don’t hardly notice them — until you walk by a store and barely recognize yourself in their reflective glass window.
Whatever your age today, here’s what you can expect decade to decade.
In your 20s:
Your skin and features reflect your youth. You’re blessed with smooth contours, glowing skin, full cheeks and pouty lips. These years should be called the golden years! How well you take care of your skin and your overall health during these years will affect how well they will work for you later in life. In your late 20s, you may begin to see the very early signs of fine lines caused by repeated muscle movement. Your skin may start to feel drier or show signs of sun damage or hormonal changes.
Your body is in the best shape of its life and will never be stronger. This is the time of life to learn good health habits to carry you through the upcoming less-forgiving decades.
In your 30s
If you were raised to never trust anyone over 30, you can imagine your surprise when you hit that decade faster than you ever thought possible. Weren’t you just 18 years old and mostly carefree?
Now your skin will begin to show your maturity, becoming a little less supple or showing larger pores. The constant pull of gravity may begin to show, through the lowering of the brow and cheeks. You may also notice a loss of volume in your facial cheeks, even if your weight remains stable. The lines that form when you smile or frown might leave traces when you relax your face. You may feel as if you’ve begun to lose a little of your youthful glow.
As early as 35, you’ve already begun to lose 1 percent of bone mass per year, which should spur you on to doing some kind of strength or resistant exercise.
In your 40s
Even if “40 is the new 20,” you’ll still notice that your life experience begins showing on your face. Laughter and expression lines start to become more obvious, along with the loss of some of the natural, youthful volume that has been keeping your upper and mid-face smooth and unlined. The constant pull of gravity may also begin to show, causing the eyelids to lower, jowls to form and the tip of the nose to droop. You may also notice continuing changes in your skin tone and texture, such as broken capillaries and larger pores.
Your body composition begins to change, and you may notice your clothes fit a little tighter around the middle. You’ll likely see it below the bra area, in your triceps, on the back and in your belly, especially as you move past 50.
In your 50s
If you’ve taken good care of your skin with a skincare regimen and protected yourself from the sun, you will reap benefits in this decade. Now you begin to look beyond the surface of your skin and notice that changes begin happening in other layers of your face, including the volume beneath the skin, the muscles and even the bones. Wrinkles can deepen in the upper face, while you may notice you have less plumpness or volume in your mid-face and cheek areas. In your lower face, you may notice that your jawline is less defined or you’ll see lines developing around your mouth and chin.
Your metabolism slows to a crawl, and many women notice about a 12 pound weight gain after menopause, as well as a 2 to 3 percent loss of bone mass. Your posture begins to change from years of sitting behind a desk or computer.
In your 60s
This is a decade when your wealth of life experience can create a natural, rejuvenated look that reflects the way you feel inside. However, you’ll still notice changes in the mirror. Wrinkles deepen in the upper face, while your skin continues to lose its youthful volume and elasticity around your cheeks and mid-face. In your lower face, you may notice your skin starts to sag and loosen a little.
The sixth decade is also the time when many people face arthritis, bad knees and spinal stenosis (spinal degeneration due to aging).