When past mistakes will show up on your skin

Image via Think Stock

While some skin damage is noticeable immediately, often it can take years for the effects of sun exposure, smoking or too much sugar to show up on your face.

What you do during childhood, your teens and twenties might not appear until well into your forties or fifties.

In Australia, we often assume that wrinkles, discoloration and a loss of elasticity are due to the natural ageing process, but the reality is, even in your sixties and seventies many of the changes we see in our skin are actually caused by sun damage.

We partnered with dermatologist Dr Elizabeth Willsteed to create this timeline.


Dr Willsteed explains that your genetic background is very important in determining whether or not you will develop skin cancer, especially at an early age. She also recommends you use a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against UVA as well as UVB rays. While UVB rays cause sunburn, UVA rays penetrate the skin more deeply, depleting collagen and causing wrinkles, mottling and other signs of ageing.

Even if you’ve never adopted good practices with your skin before, you are never too old to start.