As we age, our skin starts to lose moisture, elasticity, and collagen — all of the wonderful things that make our skin appear plump, radiant, and youthful.
Luckily, there are simple steps you can take to combat the visible signs of aging — and it all starts with your skincare routine. After age 40, most women start to notice more significant changes to their skin. That’s why it’s a great time to stop and take stock of your current beauty routine — is it still working for you?
Here are eight things you should be doing now to ensure a brighter, more youthful-looking complexion in the years to come:
1. Get diligent with sunscreen.
The number one cause of aging skin — and the one that we have the most control over — is sun damage. It’s also the cheapest anti-aging step that you can take for your skin!
The best way to remember to apply sunscreen to your face is to invest in a great moisturizer with SPF 30+ or higher. Whether you’re outside on a cloudy day or in your car all day — you can still catch those damaging rays — so be sure to apply sunscreen on all exposed areas of your skin. Make sure to cover your decolletage, shoulders, arms, and hands. These areas are not immune to sun damage.
TIP: Look for broad-spectrum sunscreens with zinc oxide in them. They’re made from natural elements, instead of potentially harmful chemicals. (They also offer broad-spectrum protection from both UVA and UVB rays, so it’s a win-win for you!)
2. Exfoliate regularly.
As you may be aware, you’re always shedding and producing more skin cells. But sometimes, those dead skin cells remain bound to your skin and need some extra help to come free. And when dead skin cells cling to your skin, they can cause it to appear dull and lifeless.
The simple solution? Exfoliation!
This process can help to reveal new skin cells, and your skin will appear more radiant and fresh. (But because aging skin is very delicate, be sure to exfoliate gently — and don’t overdo it!)
TIP: Look for facial cleansers containing natural exfoliants like glycolic, lactic, or salicylic acid. Only exfoliate a few times a week. Always use a gentle massage, so as not to harm delicate skin.
3. Nurture your neck.
It’s so easy to forget our neck. But it’s time to start treating it the way we do our face — with care. The neck is one of the first places that people see, and your neck can really age you. Plus, the skin on your neck area is very thing, and it becomes even thinner and more “loose” with age.
Be sure to apply sunscreen daily to the front, sides, and back of the neck. Include your neck when you exfoliate, and don’t forget to smooth moisturizer on it too.
TIP: Look up when applying moisturizers and serums to your neck. This makes skin taut, and will make application much easier.
4. Adopt a good hydrating serum.
Moisture loss is one of the biggest issues for aging skin, and lack of moisture makes skin look even older. Hydrating serums are a great idea for an added boost of moisture. They can plump your skin, exfoliate dead cells, and leave skin looking and feeling hydrated.
Start with a good cleanser and toner for your skin type, and then apply your serum. Once the serum absorbs into the skin, apply your eye cream, face cream, and sunscreen — in that order.
TIP: Look for a serum that contains hyaluronic acid. It helps promote collagen production and can lock in moisture.1
5. Indulge in an eye cream.
The skin around your eye area is the thinnest and most fragile on your body — so be careful with what you apply to the eye area, and how you apply it. This skin also has fewer sebaceous oil glands, so it easily becomes dehydrated, leading to a greater risk of wrinkles.
It’s never too early to start on a good eye cream. But in your 40s, you might want to switch to something a little richer. You want ingredients that are a little more proactive in tackling age-related care. Look for vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, or glycolic acid. Retinol is a favored anti-aging ingredient, but some people find it too harsh around the eyes. Instead, consider a cream with retinyl palmitate — a gentler retinol derivative.
TIP: Never apply an eye cream directly under your eyes. Instead, dab several dots along the orbital bone (eye socket). Then, use your ring finger to tap or dab the cream around the area, and up around your crow’s feet. Your skin’s natural oils will help the cream spread on its own into the soft tissue area of your eyes.
6. Choose a good night cream.
Slathering on a rich nightly moisturizer can hydrate your skin while you sleep. But the problem with night creams is that one cream doesn’t suit everyone. Dry skin and oily skin have very different moisture needs. So, you should first pick a cream that’s intended for your skin type.
An anti-aging night cream should target the key signs of aging. Ingredients that help seal moisture into the skin, like glycerin and hyaluronic acid, are fantastic choices. So are antioxidants, vitamins, peptides, and ceramides. Your night cream should also contain plenty of enriching oils that can penetrate into the skin.
TIP: Understand your “tides.” Peptides communicate with cells and instruct them to launch into elastin production. 2 Ceramides are lipid molecules that hold skin together. They also form a protective layer that helps it retain moisture for plumper-looking skin. 3
7. Turn to collagen-boosting retinol.
So much clinical research supports the magic of retinol. Retinol, an active form of vitamin A, plays an amazing role as an anti-aging treatment:
- It’s an effective exfoliant that helps to turn over healthier, younger-looking skin cells. 4
- It can increase the production of collagen for plumper-looking skin. 5
- It can improve unsightly pimples by unclogging blocked pores. 6
- It can even skin tone by reducing hyperpigmentation issues. 7
- It can reduce fine lines and wrinkles, improving skin firmness and texture. 8
Keep in mind — retinol is strong, so it can also irritate skin. Look for products specifically for sensitive skin, or for time-release retinol products. When you’re starting out, begin with a lower-strength product. Once your skin adapts, you can switch to a higher-strength retinol.
TIP: Apply retinol creams in the evening. Retinol turns over skin cells fast, and this can make skin more sensitive to sun exposure.
8. Schedule regular facials or treatments.
There’s nothing quite like pampering yourself with a facial. Here’s an excuse to do so: regular professional peels and treatments are a great addition to your anti-aging routine. Even if you’re doing a great job at home, a pro can help take things to the next level.
Professional facials can help improve skin’s texture, unclog pores, and remove dead skin cells. Bonus: having a professional facial is super relaxing. And stress relief is another way to help your skin!
TIP: Talk to your facialist about your skin concerns and your anti-aging routine. He or she might be able to give you some helpful tips!
If you’re in your 40s, there is plenty of time to up your skin care game. If you have any concerns about your skin, especially concerning retinol, it’s always great to meet with your dermatologist to better discuss your skin type and options available.
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