As you enter your forties and start to approach menopause, you may notice changes happening within your skin. For example, it may become drier as oil and lipid production decreases, you may experience breakouts even if you haven’t suffered from acne before in your life, you’ll notice an increase in fine lines and wrinkles and a decrease in the skin’s plumpness.
Your skin may also look dull and lack the radiance it once had. Dark spots and pigmentation may appear, expression lines will deepen, and the jawline becomes less defined.
At this stage in your life, it’s worth shifting focus towards promoting collagen and elastin production: the two proteins that keep your skin plump, radiant, and elastic. Production of both slows from your mid-twenties, and almost stops entirely in your forties, so it’s crucial that you support and boost your levels through good quality skincare and in-clinic treatments.
Not sure where to start? Here are some of the top ingredients and treatments to focus on to help you maintain a glowing complexion well into your 40s and beyond.
Get acquainted with Vitamin A
Vitamin A – which you can purchase in the form of a retinoid for your skin – is the only other ingredient, along with SPF, that the FDA will legally let manufacturers claim to be anti-ageing in the USA.
It rebuilds collagen, repairs sun damage, stimulates cell turnover, increases radiance, reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and is widely considered to be the gold standard in anti-ageing skincare.
If you’re in your 40s, retinol is essential. Use only at night after cleansing and begin with a milder percentage and work your way up.
Embrace hydrating ingredients
As we age, particularly in our 40s, many women find that even the best skin becomes dry and flaky. Changing levels of hormones slow down the skin’s production of collagen and natural oils and make it harder for the skin to retain moisture.
As oestrogen levels decrease, there’s less connective tissue in the skin, which leads to reduced hydration and a compromised barrier function. As a result, the skin becomes thin dry, dull, and is more prone to developing fine lines and wrinkles.
There are two key hydrating ingredients that I recommend incorporating into your regime during this time. The first is moisture-trapping lipids – an ingredient that mimics the natural lipids in the skin that make it soft and silky but that deteriorate over time.
Hyaluronic acid is another great hydrating ingredient that locks in vital moisture, increasing radiance and helping to keep collagen and elastin production ticking over.
Add in an eye cream
As we age, lots of things happen to the eye area. Firstly, the bones around the eye sockets begin to recede and the supportive fat pads under the eye shrink, leading to a loss of volume, which creates a hollow and a shadow under the eye.
To add to this, we may also experience dark circles, puffiness, fine lines, and crow’s feet lines.
When shopping around for an eye cream or serum the key ingredients to look for include vitamins, peptides, and antioxidants, all of which will to help rebuild collagen and elastin within the skin. Massage the product gently into the skin to boost lymphatic drainage and eliminate puffiness, which can worsen as we get older.
Ramp up the antioxidants
Antioxidants form such a crucial part of any skincare regime that very few of my patients will leave my clinic without one. Whilst our bodies are well equipped to produce our own antioxidants to clear up free radicals, as we get older, our production of antioxidants slows down and becomes less effective.
Using a daily antioxidant will provide a shield for your skin, helping to repair the skin from the inside and minimise the free radicals that accelerate the ageing process, reduce inflammation, and enhance skin glow.
Ideally, you’ll already be using an antioxidant as part of your regime. But if not, now is the time to invest in a good quality Vitamin C, niacinamide, Ferulic acid or resveratrol and use it daily.
Sunscreen is essential
You should be applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen every day, no exceptions. There are two main concerns from exposing your skin to UV rays: sun damage and skin cancer.
UVA causes skin ageing and is present all year-round even on cloudy days. UVB causes burning and in the UK, is only present in the summer months.
As you age, your skin is less able to repair sun damage, so wearing sunscreen every day is essential. Apply it as the last step of your skin care regime and let it dry for a few minutes before applying makeup.
Anything that we can do in our 40s to boost and maintain our collagen and elastin levels as much as possible will go a long way. Profhilo is one of my favourite ways to do this.
A honey-like substance that is injected into five key sites of the area being treated, Profhilo spreads through the dermis, finding its way underneath the skin’s surface to treat the area as a whole. Once in place, Profhilo boosts skin hydration by enabling the skin to hold more moisture. It also stimulates the production of collagen and elastin, which is what, in time, will make the skin smoother, plumper, and bouncier.
Tighten jowls with energy-based treatments
Another effect of ageing is that the bones in the face start to recede, and the fat pads begin to shrink making the face appear sunken and gaunt. When we lose this supportive fat, which once gave the face youthful volume or structure, your skin will begin to sag and droop, particularly around the jawline.
This change occurs in women from the age of 40 onwards and can only be improved non-surgically by using energy-based treatments to tighten the skin and rebuild collagen and elastin.
The Profound is one of my go-to devices for this. It’s a radiofrequency microneedling device that’s a little more invasive than others but it provides truly dramatic lifting and tightening to the lower face and neck. After anaesthetic injections, the treatment is essentially pain-free, and we can use it to stimulate collagen and elastin in the skin and even reduce the fat beneath the chin to lift and refine the jawline. It’s a one-off treatment that delivers 1/3 of a surgical facelift result in a single treatment and results last for several years.
Another is Ultherapy, a device that delivers focused, high-intensity ultrasound, which narrows its sound-energy waves into a single point. These sound-energy waves strike deep into the skin (up to 4.5mm beneath the surface) to stimulate new collagen and elastin over the next few months, which further tightens the facial tissues.
At 4.5mm below the skin’s surface, the ultrasound can reach the superficial muscular aponeurotic system (SMAS) which is the layer of muscular tissue that surgeons manipulate when they’re performing a facelift.
Because Ultherapy targets the skin so deeply, it can be used to tighten and lift the face – or the eyebrow, or the neck, or even the skin under the jaw.