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Skin Care Routine For Your 40s: Time To Tighten Your Skin

Forties are the new thirties, right? If that’s the case, then why didn’t your skin get the memo? While it’s true that this decade brings more of the same changes that hit your skin 10 years ago (hi, collagen loss, slowing cell turnover and dehydration), it doesn’t stop there. In your forties, you start to see more visible changes – especially in the structure of your skin. Here’s a rundown of what’s happening this decade and how to adopt the best skin care routine for your forties.

What Happens To Your Skin In Your 40s

Collagen and elastin are important proteins that provide structure to your skin, keeping it firm, plump and youthful looking. Your body naturally produces collagen in abundance when you’re young, but once you reach your forties, collagen production declines to new lows; enough so that it makes a visible difference to your skin. The Eminence Organics Product Support Team explains that with less collagen in your forties, “this is the time when lines start to appear around your mouth.” With the loss of the structural support provided by important proteins, the skin begins to sag and lines and wrinkles become more apparent.

Not only does the skin lose its elasticity, the subcutaneous fat under the skin melts away as we get older. Without the padding that keeps the cheeks high and plump, the skin tends to droop and jowls make their first appearance. Keeping the skin firm and tight becomes priority number one during this decade.

As the years pass, you may also notice your complexion becoming more dull. Cell turnover starts to slow down in your thirties, meaning that dead skin cells shed less frequently and fresh new skin cells are sluggish to reach the surface. The end result? A complexion that’s more dull than dazzling. 

And while the skin is surrendering its natural radiance and elasticity, it also becomes dry. Continuing the process that started in your thirties, the skin produces less sebum, the oily waxy substance that moisturizes and protects those top layers on your face. With less of the body’s natural oils coating the skin, the complexion loses moisture easily, becoming both dry and dehydrated. Dry skin makes fine lines become more obvious, leaving the skin with more visible signs of aging.

Ingredients For Skin Care In Your 40s

To combat the acceleration in the appearance of aging during this decade, you’ll want to focus on specific skin care ingredients for your forties. Here are our top picks: 

Botanical Peptides

Plant peptides are some of the most powerful ingredients to target the look of aging. A type of molecule that makes up proteins, a peptide can signal to the body to create more collagen — a very useful function when your skin is rapidly losing this structural protein during this time of life. Topical products actually containing collagen, however, may not always deliver the intended effects. Collagen molecules don’t have the ability to penetrate the skin. Peptides, on the other hand, are smaller, which makes them a better option for topical use.

Natural Retinol Alternative

Like conventional retinol, our botanically-sourced retinol alternative can reduce the visible signs of aging, but without the harsh side effects that conventional retinol can cause. Extracted from plants like chicory root and tara tree, our Natural Retinol Alternative removes dead skin cells, tightens pores, smooths the skin, minimizes the look of lines and even fades the appearance of dark spots. 

You can find the Natural Retinol Alternative in our Monoi Age Corrective Exfoliating Cleanser, Neroli Age Corrective Hydrating Mist and the Bamboo Firming Fluid. According to happy customer Stephanie B.: "My esthetician recommended the Bamboo Firming Fluid as a more natural retinol alternative since retinol products were too harsh and drying on my skin. I have been obsessed with this ever since – definitely notice a difference in my skin when I am using it and a little goes a long way!"

Bakuchiol is another botanically-sourced retinol alternative that is becoming more popular for its powerful results that come without irritation, redness or UV sensitivity. Conventional retinol can cause dryness, redness and sensitivity and can cause a purging stage (essentially where your skin will get worse before it gets better). With retinol alternatives, you don’t have to put your skin through unnecessary stress before seeing coveted results.

Glycolic Acid

The most popular type of alpha hydroxy acid, glycolic acid is usually derived from sugar cane. It effectively exfoliates the skin, increasing cell turnover rate by breaking down the bonds between pore-clogging particles. It also smooths out the look of wrinkles, fades the appearance of dark spots and even prevents problem skin. A perfect exfoliant in your forties!

Botanical Hyaluronic Acid

When your skin is feeling parched, botanical hyaluronic acid is the thirst-quenching ingredient that it’s craving. Deeply hydrating, botanical hyaluronic acid replenishes the skin with moisture, smoothing out the complexion and minimizing the look of fine lines. To maximize the effects, be sure to layer with an emollient moisturizer that complements the acid's humectant effects. 

Best Skin Care Routine For Your 40s

Using the most potent ingredients that nature provides, here’s the skin care routine we suggest to tackle the issues of middle-aged skin head on, with perfect solutions for those in their forties.

Cleanse: Choose a cleanser that not only removes impurities but also restores the appearance of elasticity and firmness to the skin. Look for botanical hyaluronic acid, which hydrates and leaves the skin looking plump with fewer visible lines and wrinkles.

Tone: Complete the cleansing process with a toner that includes a Natural Retinol Alternative. Formulated with this natural ingredient that mimics the effects of retinol without the side effects, a toner with a Natural Retinol Alternative fights the visible signs of aging, appearing to lift and tighten the skin.

Exfoliate: Lift away dead skin cells with an exfoliant like the Firm Skin Acai Exfoliating Peel. Formulated with glycolic acid – the magic ingredient for the forties age group – this type of exfoliating peel revitalizes mature skin. Glycolic acid and lactic acid rejuvenate, balance and smooth away the look of wrinkles.

Product Picks

Treat: Check the ingredients list for a serum that contains botanical peptides. This skin care essential gives a boost to mature skin types, helping the skin look more elastic with fewer visible signs of aging.  

Moisturize: A high quality moisturizer is another vehicle for delivering botanical peptides to the skin. Double the impact with a peptide-packed moisturizer and reduce the look of fine lines and wrinkles. During the day, layer on an SPF moisturizer as well. A moisturizer with both UVA and UVB protection shields your skin from the aging, damaging effects of the sun. 

Night Cream & Mask: To combat the dryness of mature skin, invest in a good night cream. Since skin repairs itself while you sleep, a night cream works wonders while you catch your zzzs. Look for one containing additional oils like jojoba and grape seed oils. You can also add an overnight mask for ultimate hydration and to improve the appearance of elasticity with a mask to restore that youthful glow.

Eye Cream: Don’t forget the part of your face with the most delicate skin by applying an eye cream. Choose one that hydrates the eye area with hyaluronic acid and botanical peptides for bright eyes that look revitalized. Customer Lisa left a 5-star review about the Marine Flower Peptide Eye Cream saying: “Amazing results! Wrinkles are less defined and my eye area is more plump.”

Product Picks

  • Marine Flower Peptide Serum
  • Marine Flower Peptide Serum

Watch Lead Skin Care Trainer Natalie Pergar as she details the ingredients you need in a skin care routine for people in their 40s: 


Find out more about recommended products to build into your forties skin care routine at the nearest Eminence Organics Spa Partner. Which key ingredient are you already using for your mature skin care routine? Let us know in the comments or on social media. 

Not in your 40s? Find skin care information for your age group: 

This article was originally written in December 2019.