Explainer: the very best ways to look after your skin in your 40s (and beyond).

Getting older is a privilege not afforded to all and so let’s get this out of the way at the very start – this is not a story about erasing wrinkles.

But the fact of the matter is that our body goes through biological changes as each year goes by, and with them, our wellness and skincare needs change. So let’s take a look what happens, inside and out, as we circle the sun 40 times and beyond.

What’s going on inside?

You’ve heard of collagen right? It’s a protein found naturally in our bones, muscles and skin and it essentially holds us together. We have it in abundance in our youth, though when we hit our 20s it slowly starts to decline.

By the time we reach our 40s, the reduction in collagen becomes noticeable. It can manifest in bone depletion among other things internally, and on the outside it’s to blame for sagging, dry skin and loss of luminosity.

At the same time it’s likely that our estrogen levels are dropping, too. Perimenopause, the transition stage into menopause that typically lasts a few years, generally begins in our 40s. As hormones naturally decline we start to see loss of elasticity, fine lines and an overall dullness.

It’s all part of ageing though and it happens to all of us, so don’t let it get you down. And the good news is, as both estrogen and collagen drop there are healthy lifestyle tweaks we can make to help replenish out insides, which will show on the outside.

Little lifestyle adjustments.

You might already do all of the below and if so, gold star for you. Though if you’re anything like me (I’m 37, busy, but wanting to care more for myself as I prepare to enter my 40s), you might need a handy reminder of the best ways to live your daily life so that your skincare isn’t trying to do all the heavy lifting by itself.


Up the water. It’s simple, but making sure you drink enough H20 every day honestly makes a massive difference. Aside from affecting our energy levels it is integral to the proper function of all our internal organs. As for the outside? Being properly hydrated can help skincare work better. Ingredients like hyaluronic acid, for example, bond to water molecules.

Think of it as the free beauty product that comes from the tap.

Move your body. We all know that exercise is good for organs like our brain and our heart, but what about our skin (which is our biggest organ after all)? Cardio as well as resistance training can actually help improve the skin’s regeneration process. Increased blood flow to the skin thanks to exercise can also help diminish the visible look of cellulite (not that there's anything wrong with cellulite).


Eat good stuff. You know this one, too. Eating a diet full of fresh foods that are high in antioxidants (think berries, stone fruits and dark green veggies) will help fight free radicals. They're the bad guys like smoking, drinking, environmental aggressors like the sun and stress, which all result in visible ageing. Add in other goodies such as oil from fish and foods that contain probiotics like yoghurt and you’re on the road to glowing from the inside out.

Watch the booze. This one sucks, but makes total sense. You know when you were 21 and you'd wake up with a hideous hangover but still look great in the mirror? Yeah, well, that doesn't really happen so much as we age. Big nights (we're talking wine and salty takeaway) show on the face the next day by way of dryness, redness and puffiness, especially around the eyes. Sorry.

Let’s talk about the outside.

Tweaking what skincare you use as well as where and how often you use it can be the simple trick to looking like your best self at any age, but particularly as we move into our 40s (and after that, too).

Consider switching your cleanser. Try going from a gel or foam cleanser to a cream or milk consistency. It’ll still do its job of washing your face but will help retain precious moisture and natural oils.


Call on a potent active serum. This is to address concerns of fine lines, dullness and/or pigmentation. Look for ingredients like Pro-xylane, Vitamin A or Retinol, Vitamin C, antioxidants and hyaluronic acid.

Use adequate sun care every single day. This is not negotiable. After all, a daily SPF is counted as an anti-ageing product (in addition to protecting us from skin cancer of course), and will shield the skin from any further uneven tone or damage. This is, as a rule, on top of a hat, shades and a shirt whenever you know you're going to be spending time directly in the sun.

Skincare for over 40s
These guys are your complexion's best friends when you're out in the sun. Always.

Extend your skincare. Don’t forget to continue your skincare all the way down to your boobs. That’s right - don’t just swipe your serum and creams to your jawline - you need to continue them down your neck and across your chest, stopping at your nipples. This’ll ensure your décolletage will look as fresh as your face.

Up your weekly exfoliation. As cell turnover slows down (thanks again, collagen and estrogen), we need to sloth away dead skin cells a little more frequently than we used to. Use either a scrub or a chemical exfoliant (glycolic pads are great for this) a few times a week to gently remove dry top layers and prep the complexion for the skincare it’s about to receive on top.

A thorough (yet simple) regime for anyone who might be overwhelmed by all the aisles of confusing skin care out there is to tick off a routine that consists of:

Possible procedures.

For many the abovementioned lifestyle tweaks and great skincare will be enough. Though others might like to look into professional treatments and procedures for a little extra help on the outside, and that's okay, too.

Any in-clinic service needs to be prescribed after a thorough diagnosis by nurse or doctor, so we'll leave it to them as the qualified experts. To kick off your own research, you could look into options such as Botox, Dermastamp, Light Therapy, chemical peels and Fractional laser. Each to their own.

What's your best tip you can recommend for taking care of your skin post-40?