Fact: It’s never too late to start looking after your skin – but, the earlier you develop a good routine (and actually stick to it!), the better.
At the same time, there’s just SO much skincare advice floating around out there - and it can make it really tricky to know what kind of products, ingredients and habits you should actually take on in your 40s.
But it doesn’t have to be confusing. Really! That’s why we’ve pulled together seven of the most important skincare habits to take on in your 40s and beyond.
As we age, we start to notice a loss of volume and elasticity, leading to the appearance of saggy or crepey skin. Our skin becomes thinner, and you’ll also start to see more pronounced wrinkles and sun damage.
This is partly because the body starts to produce less collagen and elastin, but it’s also to do with structural ageing (the fatty layers under the skin begin to thin) and cellular ageing (a progressive dysfunction of cell metabolism).
While it’s a completely normal part of ageing that everyone will experience, there are some powerhouse active ingredients out there that can help slow down these signs of ageing.
We’ll start with the most popular anti-ageing ingredient, shall we? Vitamin A.
Vitamin A is considered to be the ‘gold standard’ of anti-ageing skincare, working to stimulate cell turnover and increase our skin’s natural collagen production. If you haven’t used vitamin A before or if you have sensitive skin, retinyl palmitate is a less-potent version that can be used daily without irritation, providing a long-term effect.
Another great anti-ageing ingredient to tackle concerns such as wrinkles and crepey skin, is peptides. In case you haven’t been acquainted with peptides, they basically work to boost collagen production in the skin, for firmer, more youthful-looking skin.
A peptide is a short chain of amino acids, which are essentially the basic building blocks of all proteins, including the most abundant proteins in the skin. Amino acids therefore play a role in the regulation of ageing, creating and maintaining smooth, healthy skin.
Amino acids such as L-ornithine are highly effective in providing structural support to the skin, offering the ability to increase fatty tissue volume for a lipo-filling-like effect.
You’ll find highly-effective peptides such as palmitoyl tetrapeptide-7 and palmitoyl tripeptide-1 complex within our Future Advanced Collection.
Ingredients such as plant stem cells, such as malus domestica apple tree stem cells (yes, apple stem cells!), can also assist in slowing signs of ageing by protecting and offering support to essential skin stem cells.
By selecting these kinds of highly effective active ingredients, we’ve been able to create our Future Advanced Collection – made up of targeted products that work on repairing, regenerating and minimising the effects of ageing concerns on the skin.
It’s no secret that as we age, our skin can also get drier, duller and more dehydrated. Meaning? You should get into the habit of reaching for moisture-boosting ingredients in your skincare routine. Hydration is important to help keep skin cells hydrated and plump.
Hyaluronic acid is one of the well-known ingredients that experts commonly recommend for increased skin hydration and a filler effect. A key molecule that affects skin moisture levels, it has an impressive ability to hold water (1000 times its own weight, to be exact!), improving moisture levels in the skin.
Sodium hyaluronate is another excellent ingredient that works wonders on ageing skin. Derived from hyaluronic acid, it can be extracted and used separately to provide even more benefits for the skin.
Unlike hyaluronic acid, it has a smaller molecular size, meaning it can reach deep into the dermis layer of the skin to replenish, restore and moisturise the skin. It can also help speed up wound healing and is one of the best ingredients for sensitive skin.
Other ingredients that offer fantastic soothing and hydrating benefits include vitamin E. As well as impressive antioxidant benefits, it helps to re-build and strengthen the skin barrier function, resulting in decreased water loss (known as transepidermal water loss, or TEWL).
Sachharide Isomerate is another fantastic hydrating ingredient that functions as an emollient and skin replenisher. It has a unique affinity to the skin and ensures instant, deep hydration by generating a moisture reservoir that lasts for 72 hours after application.
In terms of results, consumer test panels confirm more than a 50% reduction in flakiness and itchiness caused by dry skin. Pretty impressive, right?!
Your 40s is also the time when all those years of sun exposure (gah!) may start to catch up with you in the form of pigmentation, dark spots and an uneven skin tone.
While sun protection and sun avoidance is key, sun damage is cumulative – so most people will have some underlying pigmentation to tackle.
The good news? Incorporating the right kind of ingredients into your routine will help treat the signs of ageing and photodamage.
Reaching for chemical exfoliants such as AHAs, BHAs and retinol (as well as in-clinic peels) can help target darkened surface skin cells. Vitamin C products also help promote healthy cell turnover (production of new skin cells) decreasing melatonin formation and fading dark spots.
But it’s not only chemical exfoliants you should use to prevent discolouration. You should also make sure you have some brightening ingredients in your skincare armoury, such as niacinamide and diacetyl boldine.
Niacinamide helps to inhibit the transfer or pigment between pigment cells and surrounding cells, and diacetyl boldine works to inhibit tyrosinase activity and decrease melanin synthesis and quantity.
Both ingredients are therefore extremely effective in reducing and controlling pigmentation.
You can find this stellar ingredient in products such as our Future Advanced Brightening Cream .
Oxidative stress is another one of the primary contributors to ageing, starting with molecules called free radicals.
Caused by things like UV damage, pollution and smoking, prolonged oxidative damage contributes to the loss of collagen and elastin fibres, resulting in fine wrinkles, sagging, and texture changes. It can also trigger dark spots and other discolouration.
To help boost your body’s overall defences, you’ll want to consider incorporating topical antioxidants into your routine
Antioxidants such as ectoin are known to help protect the skin against oxidative damage. It also has the natural ability to protect skin from dehydration due to environmental exposure, helping maintain a smooth, soft skin and balance hydration.
If you’re looking for other options, edelweiss extract is even more potent, with twice the free radical scavenging power of vitamin C.
If you incorporate just one anti-ageing product into your routine, make it sunscreen. And before you ask, no - it’s never too late to start being diligent with sun protection!
Research shows that sun exposure accounts for up to 80 per cent of the visible signs of ageing, which can be slowed by the daily use of SPF.
So, it’s important to practice all five forms of sun protection – clothing, sunscreen (applied over your face, neck, décolleté, hands and any other exposed areas), a broad-brimmed hat, shade and sunglasses.
We also recommend familiarising yourself with the UV index. Get into the habit of checking the weather app on your phone (scroll all the way to the bottom ad it’s right there!) or simply ask Google or Siri: “What’s the UV index?” The only safe time to be out without sun protection is when the UV index is low.
Just as a refresher, low is 1-2, moderate is 3-5, high is 6-7, very high is 8-10 and extreme is 11+.
Trust us, your skin will thank you for it!
What are some of your favourite anti-ageing ingredients? Share your views with us at firstname.lastname@example.org
By Gary Williams, Bio