10 Skincare Essentials for Women in Their 40s

It happened practically overnight. That tiny crinkle at the corner of your eyes, which only appeared whenever you found something hilarious, has formed into a taunting wrinkle that won’t go away and it’s no laughing matter. All those sun-soaked days of summer’s pasts? They’re now pesky discoloration that not even heavy concealer can mask. Where did you go wrong?

Here’s the bad news: aging is inevitable. But the good news is you don’t need to be blessed with perfect genetics to have youthful, glowing skin, no matter how old you really are. According to skincare experts, essential moisturizing products and a brand new skincare regimen are all you need to slow down the aging process and have softer, smoother features without caking on the makeup. Sure, Botox can easily eliminate that line or three, but fortunately, especially for those with needle phobias, there are other options that don’t require the unwanted pinch and are just as safe.

While experts say you should begin looking into anti-aging products once you hit the big 3-0, there’s never a wrong time to revamp your regimen to keep looking as young as you feel. Find out what are the must-have skin essentials to keep those feared creases at bay. And check out the video above for five simple makeup tricks that can take years off your face.

Lose the Makeup, Gain a Doctor

“To cover the signs of aging, women tend to overload on makeup and concealer, which can actually accentuate lines and wrinkles,” explains Dr. Marina Peredo, associate clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. “Less is more when it comes to makeup on a mature skin. Mineral makeup is best on all skin.” However, avoid splurging on the latest products to hide those lines and instead, consider visiting your dermatologist every month. He/she can help you create the best skincare regimen for your features and those results will last longer than pricey foundation.

Cleanse, Cleanse, Cleanse

Whether you do wear makeup daily or not, it’s crucial to dedicate some time every day to thoroughly clean your face, preferably with a creamy cleanser that won’t strip your skin of its natural moisture. And don’t even think about getting lazy with this. No matter your age, it’s important to wash your face before hitting the sheets. “Even though it doesn’t seem like such a big deal, sleeping with makeup on, especially around the eyes, leads to low level chronic inflammation and irritation, which brings inflammatory molecules to your cells,” explains Dr. Jessica Krant, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at SUNY Downstate Medical Center in New York. “These cause direct damage, breaking down the rubbery, plump extracellular matrix that gives our skin its bounce and glow.”

Boost Up the Collagen

Collagen, the protein that helps skin remain its elasticity, is crucial for maintaining youthful, glowing features. However, skin loses its tone with age as collagen wears down, resulting in those unwanted fine lines. However, you can increase the collagen in your skin. “Topical vitamin A products are useful because of the ability to increase collagen synthesis in the skin and also temper discoloration of the skin,” says Dr. Julia Tzu, clinical assistant professor of dermatology at New York University School of Medicine. “The over the counter version is retinol. The more powerful prescription version is tretinoin or tazarotene. Your local dermatologist can help you decide which type of topical vitamin A is best for you.”

Drink Plenty of Water

Always begin and end your day with cool, crisp water. But don’t just stop there. Skip the sugary drinks and have water by your side at all times. Not only will it quench your thirst, but it will always keep your skin hydrated and supple. “Once you realize you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated, which takes its toll in your skin,” says celebrity nutritionist JJ Virgin. “Always keep a canteen with purified water nearby to hydrate your cells so nutrients stay in and toxins get out. Proper hydration means you sweat more efficiently to keep your skin glowing and looking fabulous.” Virgin recommends beginning your day with a glass of water to kick off healthier habits. As for cocktail hour? We’re not saying to give it up completely, but do keep in mind that alcohol does dehydrate skin, so think twice before making it a double.

Slather On the SPF

Experts say your 40s are the right time to start using retinol if you haven’t begun already, but there is one product you should be slathering on every day, no matter your age. “Now is the time to really step up the sun-protective strategies with at least SPF 30 every day and also a hat if you are spending any longer than 5-10 minutes in the sun,” says Dr. Elizabeth Tanzi, co-director of the Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery. “The effects of the sun are cumulative and so many women are running around with work, kids, and errands that they’re spending a lot of time in direct sunlight without realizing it. The cumulative effect of all this sun ages the skin quickly.”

Exfoliate

In addition to thoroughly cleansing your face every evening, it’s just as important to implement exfoliation once a week to slough away dry, rough patches that emphasize wrinkles.  Just make sure to exfoliate gently, avoiding a red, irritated complexion that hurts to the touch. “I think a great exfoliant is very underrated,” says New York City-based celebrity facialist Joanna Vargas. “We call exfoliation our secret weapon at my salon because it can transform the skin completely in very little time. Exfoliation allows your products to penetrate better, it keeps the pores minimized, and it can erase fine lines caused by dehydration in the skin.”

Apply Eye Cream Religiously

In addition to sunscreen, experts say it’s just as important to apply eye cream every night. Why? Simple-the delicate skin around your eye is the thinnest layer of skin on your body, one that needs loads of hydration to stay tight, avoiding pesky lines that can deepen with time. “Women in their forties will begin to see a loss of tone around the eye area,” warns Dr. Stafford Broumand, associate clinical professor of plastic surgery at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. Whether you suffer from puffiness, dark circles, or dryness, everyone can benefit from using eye cream. Your dermatologist can help you recommend the best cream for your skin, which will take out the guesswork. And once you do find that perfect product, wear it every night.

Make Moisturizer Your Friend

“The most important part of your beauty routine every day after removing impurities is to put a protective, plumping barrier layer of plain moisturizer against your skin,” stresses Krant. “This helps the skin protect itself from environmental damage, prevent too much moisturize loss through evaporation, and keeps surface cells translucent, keeping that glow of youth shining through when light hits your skin. It plumps up fine lines and wrinkles that can virtually disappear with the right moisturizer alone, whether or not it contains any fancy anti-aging ingredients.” While you should never skip on moisturizing, Krant says you should definitely apply overnight to wake up with a “ready-to-go glow.” And even if your skin is naturally oily, you can still find one that’s oil-free to prevent that slick, too-greasy feel. For daytime, look for a moisturizer that features SPF protection of at least 30 to minimize your beauty routine. For those yearning extra coverage, tinted moisturizer can replace too-thick foundation.

Consider an Antioxidant Serum

Antioxidants are meant to make your skin appear softer and even tone, but finding the best one for your features can feel like mission impossible with so many products on the market promising the fountain of youth. However, the search for the right one doesn’t have to be complicated. Tzu, who recommends using an antioxidant product, either combined with your moisturizer or sunscreen, says to look for those that feature vitamins C and E. “SkinCeuticals makes an antioxidant serum that can be applied directly to the skin,” she recommends.

Get Your Beauty Sleep

The easiest thing you can do to look fresh and youthful every morning? Get plenty of sleep, no matter what. “It’s during sleep that our bodies repair the damage from trauma and toxins we are exposed to during the day,” explains Krant. “Allow your body to refresh itself fully each night so you can have a full glow every morning. Sleep reduces the body’s stress levels, too, which help prevent aging because increased stress hormone levels cause direct damage to skin cells.” Remember, there’s a reason why it’s called beauty sleep!

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