Skin Care in Your 40s
Switch up your skin care
Throughout the years, you’ve probably developed a good routine of cleansing, exfoliating and moisturizing. However, your 40s are a time to re-evaluate your skin and update your regimen. How much you’ll need to adjust your routine will depend on how you’ve treated your skin thus far.
Dermatologist Joshua Fox, M.D., tells WebMD, “If you wore sunscreen, if you did some preventive care, then you may not notice any major difference in your skin.” But, “If you didn’t do those things, then fine lines and wrinkles are definitely on the upswing once you hit 40,” he explains.
Whether you need to make major changes or just several tweaks here and there, consider these tips:
- Add powerful products. If you aren’t using an anti-aging topical treatment, now is the time to start. Look into powerful ingredients such as alpha hydroxy acids and retinoids, both of which stimulate collagen synthesis, helping to reduce fine lines and wrinkles and attain a younger, more radiant complexion. Because retinoids are only available via prescription, consult your dermatologist.
- Reconsider your skin type. As we age, not only does skin experience a loss of collagen and firmness, but our skin type tends to change, too. Usually, the skin gets drier, so even though you might’ve spent your entire life with normal skin, you might need to shop for products for dry skin. Make the switch by looking for hydrating cleansers and thicker creams (instead of moisturizer or lotion).
- Address acne. To many women’s surprise, acne can become a regular problem during your 40s due to hormonal changes. If that’s the case, Dr. Fox suggests seeing a dermatologist and gynecologist — yes you read that correctly. That’s because adult acne could indicate a gynecological problem.
It’s also easy to mistake acne for rosacea, a skin condition marked by redness, swelling and bumps, which typically resemble pimples. Because your “acne” might not be acne after all, consider seeing a professional to receive an accurate diagnosis. Also, your dermatologist can prescribe effective treatments that you won’t find over the counter.
Streamline your beauty routine
As women get older, they typically apply more (and heavier) makeup to conceal imperfections. This actually has the opposite effect: Heavy foundation and too much powder create a cakey complexion and can even highlight fine lines by settling into the creases of your wrinkles.
Instead of hiding your features, here’s how to enhance them and look younger:
- Be selective. Rather than applying a surplus of cosmetics, pick several key products. What might be your must-haves? “Moisturizer, concealer, tinted moisturizer, pot rouge for lip and cheeks, black mascara,” renowned makeup artist Bobbi Brown tells Newsday.
- Consider creamy, hydrating products. Makeup that has a creamy consistency doesn’t sink into fine lines and it helps the skin appear dewy and supple. To guarantee your beauty products have a “creamy consistency,” look for “sodium hyaluronate, petrolatum and glycerin,” on the label, writes Brown in Prevention.
- Go with lighter colors. Choose lighter blush (like peach and light rose) and light-colored eye shadow. Brown suggests using medium eye shadow on the lid and a light shade just below the brow bone.
- Define disappearing lips and brows. Brown suggests using a natural-colored lip liner to enhance thin lips, reports Newsday. For vanishing brows, use eye shadow to draw them in. Just make sure to choose the same color as your natural brows. Marie Claire also suggests using a “chunky brow pencil.”
Consider in-office options
You might be considering more dramatic procedures to rejuvenate the face. Here are the specifics on two common options:
- Chemical peels can improve skin discoloration, sun damage and scarring, treat some acne and reduce fine lines. There are a variety of chemical peels, including mild (e.g., glycolic acid peel), medium (e.g., Jessner’s peel; trichloroacetic acid peel, or TCA) and deep peels (phenol peel). The medium and deep peels penetrate deep into the skin, delivering more dramatic results. For example, deep peels can reduce wrinkles considerably. But this also means a longer recovery period, greater risk for side effects and a much higher price tag.
- How chemical peels work:
- At-home option:
- How Botox works:
- Some debate:
- Chemical peels:
- A dermatologist applies a solution to your face, which causes the skin to peel off. This reveals a new layer of skin that looks fresher, younger and has fewer wrinkles. Depending on the strength of the solution, you might be given medication. For instance, with a phenol peel, you’ll receive general or heavy sedation.
The cost of chemical peels varies widely. Mild peels can run around $100, TCA peels about $2,000 and phenol peels about $4,000 (with some upwards of $6,000). As with any procedure, complications are possible. Some individuals might develop temporary or permanent abnormal pigmentation and redness. Though less common, scarring can occur, but it’s treatable. Make sure to discuss all concerns with your doctor.
If you’d like to pass on chemical peels, consider at-home products. Though you won’t get the same results, these products are effective for removing dead skin and refreshing your complexion. Try Dr. Brandt Laser A Peel or MD Formulations My Personal Peel System .
Many swear by Botox, or botulinum toxin type, known for visibly reducing wrinkles and fine lines.
- Approved in 2002 for frown lines between the eye brows (elsewhere on the face is considered “off-label” use), Botox works by temporarily paralyzing the muscle — injecting a short-term wrinkle antidote to the respective area.
The average cost of Botox injections is roughly $400 with results lasting four to six months. According to the Mayo Clinic, your skin type, skin thickness and the degree of wrinkles all impact the effectiveness of Botox. Some side effects include headache, nausea and flu-like symptoms. Around the treated area, you might notice temporary redness, bruising and pain.
Some experts disagree on whether women should get Botox. In an article in Marie Claire, prominent dermatologists Fredric Brandt, M.D., (known as the “Baron of Botox”) and Nicholas V. Perricone, M.D., debated the efficacy and safety of Botox. According to Dr. Brandt, Botox is medicine that’s excellent in reducing fine lines, especially horizontal forehead lines, frown lines, crow’s feet and lines on the neck.
On the other hand, Dr. Perricone believes that Botox is a neurotoxin that will actually accelerate the aging process, because Botox users lose volume in their faces.
He steers his patients away from Botox.
If you choose to have Botox injections, make sure you go to a reputable and experienced professional.