You may feel like a kid on the inside, but when you hit 40, your skin might tell a different story. We asked leading dermatologists to share their favorite skin-saving secrets for women in their 40s.
40 and fabulous
Hopefully, by the time you reach your 40s a daily moisturizer has become a no-brainer. Just make sure it’s not the same moisturizer you were using in your 20s.
“Increase the thickness and richness of the moisturizers you use,” says Dr. Jessica Krant, a board-certified dermatologist, founder of Art of Dermatology and assistant clinical professor of dermatology at SUNY Downstate Medical Center in New York City. “As we get older, the skin does a poorer job of maintaining its own moisture level, so dryness can set in before we realize it, making fine lines look worse than they really are.”
Krant says you shouldn’t be afraid to use a thicker cream as long as it’s made for the face. She explains that a facial moisturizer is highly unlikely to cause a breakout as long as it doesn’t contain too many hidden irritating antiaging ingredients, such as vitamin C, retinol or glycolic acid. Make sure your moisturizer includes broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30. “Now’s not the time to give up on it!”
“Now is the time to start a very sparing amount of bedtime retinoid (vitamin A-derivative) cream,” says Krant. She recommends you either start with over-the-counter retinol, which can be “plenty strong” and help with fine lines and dullness, or see a dermatologist for tretinoin, the prescription-only cream that is the only FDA-approved antiwrinkle cream in the world.
“All other cosmeceutical creams may work,” says Krant, “but have not been vetted by the FDA, so we’re always trying to guess whether they are doing anything and comparing it to their marketing claims.”
In your excitement to banish wrinkles, don’t overdo the retinoid! Krant warns that using too much at once can overstimulate the cell turnover, leading to redness, drying, peeling and increased acne breakouts.
Injectables and fillers
Tired of looking angry all the time from those “11” lines between your brows? Try smoothing them out with a shot of Botox. Bothered by those deep lines and wrinkles around your mouth? Schedule an appointment to plump them up with a hyaluronic acid filler like Restylane, Juvederm or Perlane. Not sure if you should splurge on injectables and fillers? Go ahead and treat yourself. You’re 40. You deserve it.
You’re not supposed to get acne in your 40s, right? Some women actually get acne worse than ever at this age. This is due to normal hormonal changes, says Krant. “Don’t underestimate it and try to dry up pimples with a spot treatment,” she says. “See a dermatologist for a reasonable, safe regimen that will keep things in check.”
When we asked top dermatologists to share their tips on skin care for women in their 40s, one recommendation that came up numerous times was lasers. Beverly Hills-based dermatologist Dr. Stuart Kaplan recommends laser treatments to fix these specific issues:
- Skin resurfacing — removes pigmentation on arms, chest, neck and face (Sciton Erbium)
- Skin tightening — helps tighten up loose and crinkly skin on hands, neck and face (Sciton SkinTyte)
- Skin elasticity — helps stimulate collagen production (Sciton ProFractional Therapy)
- Skin redness/ruddiness — helps reduce appearance of rosacea (Sciton BroadBand Light [BBL])
Skin care in your 40s isn’t only about what you put on your body — it’s also about what you put into it. Dr. Howard Murad, founder of Murad Inc., recommends a daily supplement regimen including a complex of amino acids, glucosamine, vitamin B6, antioxidants including grape seed extract, and vitamins A, C, D and E. “Internal skin care is just as important as topical skin-care products,” he explains. “Topical products can only aid the 20 percent of your skin on the surface; internal will take care of the other 80 percent.”
Dr. Peggy Fuller of Esthetics Center for Dermatology in Charlotte, North Carolina, urges women in their 40s to invest in a dermatologist familiar with the latest antiaging strategies. “It’s better to spend your budget on a reputable dermatologist than to waste enormous amounts of money on every lotion out there!”