best skincare routine over 40

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Once you hit 40, your skincare routine needs a major overhaul. Dryness and wrinkles are your skin’s biggest concerns now. At this stage in your life, it's time to focus on promoting collagen and elastin - the duo of proteins that keep your complexion plump. Production of both slows from the time you hit your 20s, and now is the time to address it. Your new routine requires extra hydration plus hard-hitting skin-renewing skincare products. Read ahead for everything you need to know about skincare over 40.


How your skin changes over 40

In your 40s, the signs of aging become much more visible. Your skin glows most when estrogen levels are high, so around the age of 40, when levels start to decrease, so does your natural glow. Low estrogen also leads to a loss of collagen, bone depletion, sagging skin, and deeper fine lines and wrinkles. We lose 1% of our collagen every year from the age of 20. So by the time we reach our 40s, our supplies are diminishing. Skin becomes thinner and less elastic as collagen is broken down, resulting in a loss of volume. Add this to increased dryness, dark circles under the eyes, a rougher skin texture, and sunspots from sun damage. Your skincare strategy over 40 should focus on boosting moisture and repairing the damage. 


Your AM skincare routine over 40

  • cleanse gently

    Once you hit 40, it’s important to cleanse your face without stripping it of its natural oils. These help to keep your complexion soft and plump. Start your morning skincare routine with a gentle cleansing cream to remove any debris and dead skin cells that may have accumulated overnight.  

  • update your eye cream

    You may find your upper eyelids are way laxer than they used to be in your former decade. This is your cue to switch to an eye lift cream with caffeine. This will address common skincare concerns over 40 like crow's feet, puffiness, and dark circles while improving a youthful glow around the eye.

  • start using Vitamin C

    If you weren’t already using a vitamin C booster in your 30s, your 40s are the time to start. Vitamin C is a skin brightener with firming benefits that boost collagen and has antioxidant and UV protection benefits as well. During your 40s, your skin produces less sebum, exposing you to environmental aggressors. Adding this antioxidant-rich vitamin to your skincare routine over 40 helps fight free radical damage. Plus, dermatologists agree that vitamin C helps prevent dark spots before they happen (while brightening your skin), as well as support collagen before it's lost.

  • moisturize to lock in

    Think of your moisturizer as the sealant for all the skin-loving ingredients you’ve just applied. Your 40s are the decade to update your moisturizer with ingredients that help replenish your skin’s natural lipids, while hydrating and preventing water loss. Switch to an anti-aging face moisturizer with plumping peptides to help promote skin barrier repair. You might want to also add in a hydrating serum with hyaluronic acid to further lock in moisture, while also fighting signs of aging.

  • wear sunscreen every single day

    One of the biggest culprits of photo-aging is exposure to the sun. The ultraviolet rays from the sun penetrate deep into the skin. There, they damage the elastic fibers keeping your skin firm and allowing wrinkles to develop. Sunlight is also responsible for age spots or liver spots on the skin, so sun protection is essential. A sunscreen with a broad-spectrum SPF 25 or higher is something you should end your morning skincare routine with every single day.


Your PM skincare routine over 40

  • cleanse wisely

    Like every skincare product, what you use to wash your face depends on your skin’s needs. Generally, your skin becomes more sensitive and dry in your 40s. Oil cleansers are popular because of this. They’re also hydrating and effective at removing makeup, but they’re not ideal for someone dealing with hormonal acne over 40. Try taking off makeup with an oil first and then remove any residue with a light wipe of micellar water (or your morning cleanser).

  • exfoliate twice a week
    Skin in your 40s becomes thinner, so manually scrubbing your face, may end up thinning it further and causing sensitivity. But regular twice a week exfoliation can stimulate circulation and carry more oxygen and nutrients to the skin, which results in a youthful glow. So you definitely still want in on the exfoliating over 40. Opt for an acid-based exfoliator instead.

  • add retinol to your lineup

    Just as vitamin C should have a place in your morning routine, retinol should have a place at night. Retinol is a derivative of Vitamin A that works to fight wrinkles and boost collagen production. Incorporate a natural retinol serum into your nighttime skincare routine to promote cell turnover, fight fine lines, deep wrinkles, and hyperpigmentation. 

  • seal it all in with a night cream or mask

    Hydrate your thirsty skin by sealing in your nighttime skincare products with a night cream that’s packed full of skin-nourishing nutrients to boost cell repair. Top off your routine with an anti-aging overnight face mask to help eliminate any toxins accumulated during the day, and reveal a radiant complexion in the morning.


Skincare tips over 40

These skincare and lifestyle tips will keep your skin glowing throughout your 40s.

Tip 1. Keep your skin hydrated
Make hydration your number one priority. As we age, our skin starts losing moisture rapidly, which means your 40s are the time to toss any dehydrating skincare products in the trash. These types of products, like oil-control formulas, only dehydrate mature skin further.

Tip 2. Be strategic with your serums
Serums are a great addition to your skincare product lineup after 40. But because they’re so concentrated, it’s important to use the right ingredient at the right time. Make sure to use vitamin c in the am and retinol in the pm.


Tip 3. Embrace face oils
Facial oils work to soften fine lines, reduce irritation, boost hydration, and make whatever you put on top of them work even better. Pat a few drops onto dry areas post-serum. But only if you’re not dealing with adult acne or hormonal breakouts.

Tip 4. If you ARE healthy, your skin will BE healthy
Healthy lifestyle choices, including drinking lots of water, getting enough sleep, eating whole foods, and getting regular exercise will all help to improve your skin’s regeneration process. The following is a list of superfoods to incorporate into your diet.


Best superfoods for people over 40

  • Blueberries- Blueberries are loaded with antioxidants. They contain nutrients such as fiber, vitamin C, and vitamin K, plus electrolytes and other vitamins and minerals. 
  • Almonds- Almonds are an excellent source of protein, plus studies suggest they can help lower cholesterol levels, which is important if you’re over 40. 
  • Garlic- Garlic is loaded with nutrients and has heart benefits that make it a great add-on to dishes, especially if you’re over 40. 
  • Eggs- Eggs are a complete protein, which means they contain all nine essential amino acids the body needs.
  • Avocados- Avocados are a great source of protein and contain good fats that keep your body running sharply. 
  • Watermelon- In addition to containing plenty of water, watermelon is also packed with nutrients. It contains vitamins A, B6, and C, as well as plenty of antioxidants. 
  • Spinach- Spinach is a vegetable loaded with nutrients. It contains few calories but plenty of vitamins and minerals.
  • Olive oil- Just one tablespoon of olive oil contains good fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated) that can help keep your heart healthy. 

Tip 5. Give yourself facial massages
Your lymphatic system slows down as you age.  The lymphatic system is responsible for getting rid of toxins, so you may notice more puffiness around your eyes and cheeks. Massage your skin every night, as your last step before you hit the bed. 

Tip 6. Chill out
We’ve talked before about the correlation between stress and skin, but here are just a few ways stress can affect your skin.

    • Stress triggers inflammation
    • Stress can dry your skin out
    • Stress hormones can trigger existing conditions to worsen or flare-up
    • Stress can also make you more oily, which could lead to acne breakouts



Tip 7. Start getting skin checks
Make a habit out of getting full-body exams by a dermatologist once a year, or more if melanoma runs in your family. Your 40s are the time to get a baseline skin evaluation from your dermatologist to make sure there are no early signs of precancerous skin changes. 

Tip 8. Sunscreen is an absolute must in skincare over 40
If you incorporate one anti-aging skincare product into your everyday routine, let it be sunscreen. Consistency is the key with sunscreen. Be sure to apply and reapply SPF every day to keep your skin glowy, youthful, and, most importantly, safe.



Tip 9. The acne in your 40s is different from the acne in your 20s
Once you hit your 40s, hormonal changes can lead to excess sebum production, causing breakouts. Adult or hormonal acne needs proper medical treatment by a dermatologist. And while whiteheads and dead skin may be concerns, daily scrubbing will only make it worse. Use a gentle exfoliator, no more than twice a week

Tip 10. Don't go around buying every single anti-aging skincare product
Maintaining a healthy radiant complexion after 40 comes from a combination of a fitness routine, a healthy, balanced diet, and the right skincare routine, not just one of the three. Stick to a single routine.


The visible signs of aging become much more prominent in your 40s. But with few tips and an overhaul of your skincare routine, your complexion will be glowing over 40.

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