The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Skincare in Your 40s: Discover how your skin changes & what can help.
We’re often made to feel that the older we get, the less content with our physical appearance we should be. But in reality, there are so many simple ways to feel beautiful, no matter what your age—and great skincare is one of them.
But navigating the complicated world of skincare as you age can be challenging, especially if it’s not your area of expertise. If you need a little guidance on how to look great at 40 and beyond, we can help.
How Your Skin Changes After 40
The appearance of wrinkles and stretched, crepe-like or thinner?) skin is a completely natural part of the human ageing process. So, what happens to your elasticity and why do you look older? Well, there are a variety of factors.
Firstly, as we age, our bodies produce fewer natural oils. This causes the skin to become dryer and more fragile, which pronounces the appearance of wrinkles. Secondly, with age comes hormonal changes, which can decelerate protein production and cause lower skin elasticity.
And thirdly, there is the fact that with age also comes exposure to the elements – pollution, stressful environments and sunshine all take their toll. There are a variety of external factors that play a role in the signs of ageing, including:
- Ultraviolet (UV) light – Exposure to the sun’s powerful UV rays is one of the most influential factors when it comes to skin-related ageing. UV light has a corrosive effect on elastin fibres and collagen, the two things that are responsible for supporting firm, smooth skin.
- High stress – Stress impacts almost every aspect of our physical health, and skin is no exception. High levels of stress, particularly chronic stress, can raise the levels of certain hormones like cortisol, and it can also impact on the way the body uses the sugars it needs for energy and this combination may aggravate many skin issues including eczema, rosacea, and psoriasis. It can also cause fluctuations in natural oil production.
No matter who you are, your skin is one of the many things that will naturally change as you grow older, especially once you pass the 40-year mark.
But there are two very important things to remember in this:
a) you are not alone. And
b) there are so many effective, accessible ways to support your skin’s health, both now and in future.
Skincare Products You Need After 40
When it comes to mature skincare, you’d best know your AHAs from your BHAs and your retinol from your Niacinamide (vitamin B3). There is an abundance of products and procedures touting miraculous properties. But not all of them are worth investing in.
First off, let’s go through some buzzwords.
- AHA stands for Alpha Hydroxy Acid, which is a type of water-soluble acid that promotes smoother, softer skin.
- BHA stands for Beta Hydroxy Acid, an oil-soluble acid that removes excess sebum and dead skin cells.
- Retinol and retinal are types of vitamin A that have been shown to stimulate collagen production, even skin tone and help smooth wrinkles.
- Niacinamide is a form of vitamin B, which helps to build up and protect the skin barrier, reducing inflammation and soothing irritated skin.
You’ll find many anti-ageing skincare products that contain these supplements. Some of the most important skincare products to own in your 40s include:
- Mineral-enriched sunscreen – The less exposure to the sun’s UV rays your skin has, the better. If possible, pick out one with a high SPF and additional minerals, like zinc oxide, to protect the skin.
- Deep moisturiser – Hydrating your skin is very important for retaining suppleness, brightness, and that multi-level glow. As you approach menopause and all the changes it brings, your skin needs a moisture boost, so you’ll need to pick a moisturiser that’s rich and nourishing. Look for products with ceramides and peptides.
- Anti-inflammatory serum – Redness and puffiness can be difficult to tame without an anti-inflammatory product. Choose one enriched with vitamins A, B3, and E as these vitamins help to calm the skin. Vitamin C can be great for most skin types but may aggravate people with who are prone to acne.
- Under-eye brightening cream – Choose a cream or gel that’s refreshing and that you can massage under your eyes after a poor night of sleep or an indulgent weekend. These creams reduce the appearance of dark circles and enrich the sensitive skin under your eyes. Some contain elements that reflect light giving the appearance of brighter eyes. Caffeine is also used sometimes for a mild but temporary skin tightening effect.
There are plenty of other products that can also provide skin support, but these are the staples you want to invest in on your post-40 skincare journey.
Treatments You Can Try
In addition to a good skincare regime there are many skin treatment options.
One of the most popular treatments now is Collagen Induction Therapy. This form of therapy entails gently probing the facial skin with hair-thin needles. In doing so, it stimulates the production of collagen, new blood vessels, and elastin fibres for firmer, brighter, and more youthful skin. It can be done using dermarollers, microneedling or a dermastamp.
Surgery Versus Injectables
Is Botox for you, or are you considering going under the knife? Well, much of this decision is a personal one, but there are some important pros and cons to weigh up first.
Surgery: These days, you can remove unwanted jowls, wrinkles, and loose skin under the knife of a skilled surgeon. Skin-tightening cosmetic surgery is becoming more popular, and the results can last several years. While there are some risks, these are the exceptions and not very common, especially if you choose a reputable surgeon.
Injectables/Botox: For smaller tweaks, injectables can be an effective option. They have minimal healing time. You can use Botox or fillers to quickly diminish the impact of crow’s feet, smile lines, or other facial wrinkles you’re happy to bid farewell to. (Make sure you see a qualified medical practitioner for these types of procedures.)
Future-Proofing Your Face
One of the best ways to maintain healthy, bright, and supple skin throughout your post-40 years is to put measures into place now that will benefit you later in life.
Healthy habits like:
- reducing your alcohol consumption
- eating foods that are rich in vitamins A, B3, C, and E
- minimising time under the sun (unless well-protected) can all help play a role in the long-term vitality of your skin.
But perhaps most important of all, remember to be kind to your body for carrying you through all of these years, and embrace your age with as much love and gratitude as you can muster.
Wrinkles, marks, and lines all show your resilience as a human—a glorious and fabulous one, at that.