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Dark skin woman applying cosmeceutical cream on face for anti-aging and skin health

The best facial skin care routines for every age, broken down decade-by-decade

The best skincare routine for your 40s

beauty concern - woman looking in mirror in middle age with aging skin

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By the 40s and 50s, brown spots and static wrinkles start to show more visibly on the face, neck or on the backs of hands. Overall, skin function will have dropped significantly, causing dryer skin with less elasticity and ‘bounce’ than it had before. Keep up with the basic routines you started in your 20s and 30s. But again, it may be time to adapt the ingredients and methods to match your current skin condition.

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Fighting static wrinkles and grooves in your 40s

At this time, more aggressive ingredients should be added to your regimen to invigorate cell production and turnover. These include growth factors, peptides and higher-percentage retinoids (such as retinol).

Growth factors help to signal your fibroblasts into cell production and repair. Peptides are precursors to collagen, and function similarly to growth factors. Retinoids increase cell turnover, and remove damaged skin cells.

This is also a good time to get serious about regular chemical peels, microdermabrasion, hot microneedling and laser photofacials to treat signs of aging. These facial-like treatments accelerate new skin cell development. They do so by getting rid of old skin more quickly than your skin can shed it. Make them part of your regular, monthly routine, if you haven’t already.

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Fighting skin dryness in your 40s

Your 40s is when you’ll focus on skin care emollients alongside humectants and thicker occlusives. Emollients help to smooth the skin by depositing good oils into the gaps of your dermis. They build your skin barrier, which it needs to function properly, and to prevent transepidermal water loss (i.e. to make it supple).

That said, emollients have probably always been in your skin care products. But if you are experiencing dryness, you’ll want to be on the lookout for them specifically. Emollients include moisturizing ingredients like ceramadies, shea butter, colloidal oatmeal, zinc oxide, urea, isopropyl palmitate and other oils.

Sometimes, the line between occlusives and emollients is blurred, since some ingredients function as both. But generally, emollients are like the ‘substance’ formers in skincare products. For example, ointments, creams, lotions, gels and so on can be based on emollients that have been mixed with occlusives and humectants.

Use these thicker, heavier moisturizers after cleansing with a non-stripping, acid-free, moisturizing facial cleanser. Look for hyaluronic acid, glycerin and other hydrators. Better yet, choose one with soothing ingredients, such as panthenol (pro-vitamin B5), green tea or aloe vera.

Sometimes, you may need to switch your skin care products in the winter or summer, since your skin can become more or less dry with the seasons. Or, on some random days you may feel more dry than other days. So, keeping a mix of products in your cabinet can help you meet these needs as they arise.

Keep reading to “The best skin care routine for your 50s, 60s and beyond…”

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