It isn’t just our tastes that change as we travel down the path of life, but our skin too.
While your teenage years and 20s might have meant sleeping in your makeup alongside a penchant for shoulder pads and acid-wash denim, your 40s require a slightly different approach on both counts.
You’re likely to notice that your skin doesn’t bounce back quite like it once did. So-called “sleep wrinkles” no longer make themselves scarce by the time you’ve finished your morning coffee, but have instead taken up full-time residency on your skin. Puffiness can be a problem too, and your complexion becomes a real give-away for late nights, boozy evenings and a diet fuelled by convenience foods. Lifestyle tweaks such as eating and sleeping better will make a big difference to your skin, as will scaling up your skincare routine and ensuring you’re using the right ingredients.
Think of looking after your skin in your 40s as building on all the good stuff you learnt in your 20s and 30s. The same approach still applies, with a few extras added in.
From our late 20s, the levels of collagen in our skin start to slowly wind down. Without this structural protein to act as scaffolding, skin loses its plumpness and bounce, leading to sagging and fine lines. There are a number of factors that can accelerate the loss of collagen, including UV exposure and free radical damage from pollution. Encourage the production of new collagen with ingredients like retinoids and peptides. In your 30s, twice-weekly applications might have been enough to keep your skin looking fresh, but consider increasing your usage to every night. Retinoids in particular are strong ingredients, so build up slowly to ensure your skin is tolerating it.
Puffiness is one of the more frustrating skin gripes, as it’s not as easy to disguise with makeup as dark under eyes or pesky blemishes. Drinking too much alcohol and feasting on salt-laden takeaways are two key culprits of puffiness, causing water retention and inflammation. Cut down where possible, or, if you do want to treat yourself, make sure you’re compensating by drinking plenty of water too. The way you sleep can also have an impact on facial bloating. Instead of face-planting your bed, try and sleep on your back, with a pillow to elevate your head.
As already mentioned, exposure to UV rays is a sure-fire way to speed up the breakdown of collagen in your skin. They’re also responsible for hyperpigmentation and age spots, disrupting the evenness of your skin tone. Although UVB rays (the ones that cause burning) aren’t so prevalent during the winter months, UVA rays (the ones responsible for ageing) are still very much present. Super sneaky, these UV rays can penetrate through glass and clouds. Slathering on a broad spectrum SPF of at least 30 will shield your skin, protecting it from potential damage.
If free radicals (unstable molecules looking to oxidise healthy cell components) are the villains of the skincare world, then antioxidants are the heroes. They block free radicals, swooping in to defend our skin from damage. Antioxidants can be found in our diet, enriching foods like blueberries, kiwi and broccoli, and in skincare with ingredients including vitamins C and E. For all-round health and top-notch skin, it pays to be taking a two-pronged approach by eating foods rich in antioxidants as well as applying them topically.
Be honest, when was the last time you paid any real attention to your neck? Sitting awkwardly between your skincare and bodycare, it’s often forgotten from both, meaning it doesn’t get the TLC it deserves. As a result, your neck can be one of the first places to show signs of ageing. The solution? Take your skincare all the way from your forehead to your decolletage. If you want to go one step further, you can smooth any excess onto the backs of your hands too, as hands can age faster. A quick win that’ll make a real difference.