Ever since my 20s, I’ve been obsessed with skin care, slathering my face with potions and lotions that promise to slow down the aging process. Now that I’m 40, the signs of aging are a bit more noticeable — dark circles are more prevalent, skin is dull and fine lines and wrinkles are settling in. Getting older is inevitable and I’m OK with that, but there are things I can do to prevent major skin disasters and have my best skin ever.
Here’s the current plan for beautiful skin in your 30s and 40s:
BUMP UP PROTECTION
“By age 35, most women begin to see the effects of UV light on their skin,” says Rhode Island dermatologist, Caroline Chang. “UV light damages not only the skin surface, but also the underlying collagen in the skin, which causes brown spots and fine wrinkling.” I look for formulas that contain transparent zinc oxide and are super-hydrating without irritation. My favorite is Elta MD SPF 46 Clear for everyday use, and when my skin is on the drier side I like to use Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel SPF 15.
USE A RETINOL
In your 30s and 40s cell turnover slows down, which results in dull looking skin explains Chang. Retinol and tretinoin (Retin-A) is the gold standard when it comes to wrinkle prevention, increasing cell turnover and building new collagen. “Retinol goes into the cellular DNA and trains cells to divide normally, which results in improved tone and texture of the skin as well as exfoliation.” I use prescription-based Tazorac twice a week to help with cell turnover, skin tone and unclog pores. It’s been my magic product for a few years now and my skin always looks better when I use it. When I’m not using Tazorac, I like to use over-the-counter retinol with a 0.5 percent and above concentration.
I used to be afraid of a moisturizer, but not these days. My skin is more dehydrated especially if I’m using retinol and alpha hydroxy acids multiple times a week. Dr. Y Secrets Essential Moisturizer smells like roses, feel luxurious and contains a variety of hydrating ingredients leaving skin dewy and bright. Chang is a fan of Revisions’ DEJ Cream, an anti-aging powerhouse filled with antioxidants, brighteners, peptides and moisturizers.
EXFOLIATE + BRIGHTEN
Chemical exfoliators such as glycolic, lactic and mandelic acid slough away dead skin cells and help fade dark spots. Chang recommends adding a gentle exfoliant in the evening such as glycolic acid to help rejuvenate skin, keep pores clear and reduce pigmentation . I’ve been using Drunk Elephant TLC Framboos Glycolic Night Serum, which contains a blend of acids, fruit extracts to soothe skin, antioxidants and salicylic acid to keep pores clear. During the day, I slather on a vitamin C serum under moisturizer to firm, brighten and improve the signs of photoaging. I’m currently loving the citrus-scented PCA C&E Strength antioxidant serum.
TREAT YOUR EYES
In the past year alone, I notice the skin under my eyes has gotten thinner and more transparent highlighting my dark circles, crepiness and fine lines, so a do-it-all eye cream is a must. These two eye creams have currently been in rotation: PCA EyeXcellence, which is chock full of peptides to help address puffiness and fine lines, and Murad Eye Lift Firming Treatment, infused with hyaluronic acid spheres to plump skin.
I don’t believe in messing with the natural aging process so every flaw is obliterated, but in-office procedures such as lasers, Botox and filler could be beneficial for those with uneven tone, redness, deep lines and sagging. I’ve noticed great results from laser treatments and “sprinkles” of Botox to help soften lines on my forehead and in between my brows – I no longer look as if I’m always mad. “If you already have some fine lines settling on your skin, regular Botox injections can lead to dramatic improvement,” says Chang. If you feel your skin needs an extra anti-aging boost consult with a dermatologist who can recommend the right treatments for you.
What are your go-to skin care products? Would love to hear in the comments.
Main image shot by Cynthia Ragona for Sea Green Photography.