What You Need to Know About Your Skin

What you need to know—and do.

Your Skin in Your 40s

How you age:

Even the healthiest skin will start to show signs of aging. The type and extent depends on how well you’ve cared for it. Wrinkles develop or deepen—especially the lines on your cheeks that run from the sides of your nose to the corners of your mouth—as once oil-rich skin naturally becomes dry and rough. Sun damage leaves the complexion further dappled with areas of brownish discoloration and more age spots and broken capillaries. By the late forties, it’s all downhill, as the lax skin on the cheeks, lips, eyelids, and jaw is unable to resist the tug of gravity and starts to droop. The fat pads beneath your eyes also begin to slide, causing puffy bags and a tired appearance. “Even the tip of your nose starts to point south as the support structure of cartilage breaks down,” Matarasso says. Last, as the body continues to age, it begins to redistribute fat; on your face, that shows up as deflated cheeks and sunken temples. At least you can look forward to great cheekbones in your fifties.

What to Keep:

Your skin is likely to have lost a lot of moisture. So if you haven’t already, switch to a gentle non-soap cleanser and a daily lotion with sunscreen. Keep using an eye cream and exfoliator as well.

What to Change:

Upgrade your nightly anti-aging product to a thicker cream that’s rich in natural lipids (fats)—one too thick to squeeze through a tube. “It does more than help your appearance,” Bank says. “It reverses sun damage—which helps in avoiding skin cancer.” Or, if you’re seeing lots of fine lines, you may want to ask your dermatologist about a prescription anti-aging cream, such as Retin-A.

What to Add:

Once a week, use a hydrating mask with cleansing ingredients like glycerin and moisturizers like hyluronic acid and soy protein to help unclog pores and plump up sagging skin. Plus, every two to four months, visit your dermatologist for a glycolic peel and a microdermabrasion treatment.

Photo: Peter Stanglmayr
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