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If you’ve been wedded to the same skincare brands for decades, then now’s the time for a rethink. Why? Well, because, just as your sense of style has likely shifted from the nineties to now, so has your complexion – and your skin now has completely different needs to those of your twenty-something self. Yep, skincare in your 40s requires some fresh new formulas and techniques.
‘Many women will notice their skin will start to become drier from their mid-40 to late-40s as they start to approach the menopause,’ says consultant dermatologist Dr Anjali Mahto.
At this stage in your life, it’s time to shift focus towards promoting collagen and elastin: the duo of proteins that keep your complexion plump. Production of both slows from your mid twenties, and now is the time to go hardcore on reigniting them.
When it comes to specifics? Scroll through our morning and evening skin routine to maximise your glow goals.
The best skincare routine for 40 year old skin: AM
The best morning cleanser for 40 year old skin
You don’t want to strip your skin of its natural oils, as they help to keep your complexion soft and plump. So use a gentle, soothing cleanser to remove any debris that may have accumulated over night.
Use a cream or milk formula for a thorough, yet gentle cleanse.
The best radiance boosting serum for skin in your 40s
During your 40s, your skin produces less sebum, exposing you to environmental aggressors, like pollution, so you need to add an anti-oxidant-rich serum to your skincare in your 40s, to help fight free radicals.
Look for serums rich in collagen-boosting peptides, which act as building blocks for new collagen formation and stimulate fibroblast activity.
‘Co-factors such as vitamin C and copper will help the collagen-formation process,’ says Dr Anita Sturnham, dermatologist and founder of Nuriss clinics. ‘But don’t buy serums with both copper and vitamin C together, as these deactivate each other.’
The best hydrating serum for skin in your 40s
With the ability to hold 1,000 times its weight in water, hyaluronic acid is one of the most essential building blocks of healthy skin.
‘Your natural hyaluronic acid production is now half of what it was when you were 20,’ says Kirsti Shuba, co-founder of Katherine Daniels Cosmetics. So try adding this serum into your daily routine for an extra shot of hydration.
The best face cream for skin in your 40s
This is where you can save a bit of cash. As lets be honest, we’ve been stacking up some hefty sums so far. Think of your moisturiser as the sealant for all your lovely serums to be locked in by.
Apply before your SPF to nourish and soften the skin.
The best SPF for skin in your 40s
One of the biggest agers to our skin is UV rays and an SPF is something you should be using every single day, not just when you’re on holiday. It is the one piece of advice that 50 and 60 year olds will tell you they wish they’d listened to.
The best skincare routine for 40 year old skin: PM
The best evening cleanser for skin in your 40s
Like every skincare product, what you use depends on your complexion needs. But generally as you age, your skin becomes more sensitive and dry.
And you may now find that oil cleansers really suit your skin type, as they are so gentle at removing makeup.
If you’re worried about oil clogging your pores, it might be worth taking off makeup with an oil first and then removing any residue with a light sweep of micellar (or your morning cleanser afterwards).
The best exfoliator for skin in your 40s
‘Skin in your forties becomes thinner, so abrasive scrubs should be avoided,’ says Eden Skin Clinic expert, Lorraine Scrivener.
The fact is that if you do manually scrub your face, you may end up thinning your skin further and causing skin sensitivity, which is extremely difficult to reverse.
But regular twice-a-week exfoliation can stimulate circulation and carry more oxygen and nutrients to the skin, which results in a glow.
So if you want in on this action but don’t want to scrub at your skin, opt for an acid-based exfoliator instead.
Is 40 too old to start using retinol?
Dependant on whether you’ve used it or not yet, the skin has to build up a tolerance to retinol, and it’s important not to go in all guns blazing. But 40 is definitely not ‘too old’ to start using retinol.
Start with a percentage of 0.3 and use it only 1-2 times a week. You can move on to 0.5 and then up to 1% when your skin is ready, but not on the first use.
Why? Given that it’s so potent, rapid-fire use can lead to redness and peeling, so it pays to play it safe.
The best night cream for skin in your 40s
Choose a night cream that’s packed full of skin-nourishing nutrients that will boost cell repair and delay senescence (the loss of a cell’s ability to divide and grow).
The best anti-ageing trick for skin in your 40s
By your 40s, your lymphatic system will be starting to slow. And as the lymphatic system is responsible for getting rid of toxins, you may notice more puffiness around your eyes and cheeks.
So try massaging your skin each night, as the last step before you snooze. Keep an oil by your bed and use either your finger tips to improve the blood circulation in your skin.
It’s not just the skin on your face that changes. You might find that a decline in collagen and elastin and a dip in oestrogen levels has left your body feeling dry, tight and itchy. Massage a body oil into your skin after a bath or shower to lock in any moisture and replenish hydration levels.
How your skin changes in your 40s
Your skin glows most when your oestrogen levels are high so, around the age of 40, when levels of this hormone start to decrease, expect the luminosity of your complexion to naturally go down a notch or two.
Low oestrogen also leads to a loss of collagen, bone depletion and sagging, which is why fine lines may also appear more firmly etched than they perhaps have done before.
‘We lose 1% of our collagen every year from the age of 20,’ says Dr Anita. ‘So, by the time we reach our 40s, our supplies are well and truly diminishing.’
Could supplements help? Perhaps. Here are the benefits of taking collagen supplements.
Healthy lifestyle choices, including staying hydrated, getting adequate sleep, eating a balanced diet with plenty of whole foods and low in sugar (and packed with the best foods for skin), and getting regular exercise will all help to improve your skin’s regeneration process.
Is it too late to take care of my skin at 40?
It goes without saying – the earlier you begin taking care of your skin with a robust skincare routine, plenty of SPF, a nutritious diet and healthy lifestyle choices – the better. But that doesn’t mean you should give up all hope if you haven’t been practicing good skincare for the last ten years already.
‘It’s never too late to start caring for your skin,’ says Dr Lauren Hamilton, founder of skin clinic Victor & Garth.
Your skin at the age 40 is still young and adding in products that are brimming with peptides, antioxidants, vitamins, AHA’s and hyaluronic acid will only help keep your complexion healthy, happy and firm.
How can I get glowing skin in my 40s?
‘Use products that include antioxidant ingredients,’ advises Dr Hamilton. ‘Vitamin C (which is great for pigmentation issues) is a powerful antioxidant, it prevents oxidative damage by binding to the free radicals caused by UV radiation and pollution. It will leave your skin glowing, and brighter as just like retinoids it will improve the appearance of your skin tone.’
‘Exfoliating serums that include AHAs will brighten the appearance of skin to give it a glow as they will help to remove any dead cells in the outermost layer of the skin. This will improve and brighten a dull appearance plus it will allow other ingredients that you apply to penetrate the layers of skin.’
‘As well as AHAs, try to use a product that contains ceramides as these will help to repair your skin’s barrier by locking in moisture.’
‘If you can afford it / are open to trying aesthetic procedures, Morpheus8 is an amazing treatment to consider as it combines radio frequency to tighten and lift the face with microneedling to increase the skin’s collagen production,’ suggests Dr Hamilton. ‘Profhilo is another treatment that treats skin from the inside out. It’s an injectable moisturiser which hydrates the skin from within while also boosting the skin’s production of collagen and providing a lifting effect.’
What serums should a 40 year old use?