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It’s no secret that signs of aging become much more apparent when we reach our 40s. Although fine lines, wrinkles, and a loss of elasticity are more common by this point, it doesn’t mean that it’s too late to start taking care of your skin.
At Nava MD, we know that it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the amount of anti-aging skincare solutions on the market.
We’ve put together this article to help you better understand how skin changes during your 40s so that you can find the right anti-aging products for your situation.
One of the main reasons that aging becomes more apparent during our 40s is because the skin’s turnover process begins to slow down.
Simply put, this means that the rate at which your body produces new cells to firm the skin and improve the complexion decreases.
During this normal process, our bodies not only bring new cells to the surface but also shed dead skin cells, leaving us with healthier-looking skin. This is how wounds and blemishes naturally heal, too.
Research shows that the skin typically regenerates every 40 to 56 days. However, it takes the skin even longer to produce fresh cells as we get older. This leaves us with more dead skin cells at the surface and less likelihood of fading blemishes, which is one reason that the signs of aging become more apparent. Due to a reduction in collagen and elastin production at the same time, the appearance of permanent fine lines and wrinkles also becomes more frequent during our 40s.
A few of the other signs of aging include:
It’s widely accepted that stress, smoking, and sun damage contribute to a decrease in the production of healthy skin cells. In the next section, we’ll take a look at why.
Studies by the Skin Cancer Foundation have shown that about 90% of skin aging is caused by the sun. Dermatologists call this “photoaging”, and dark spots are often one of the first signs of this type of skin damage.
Prolonged exposure to UV radiation causes elastin fibers to break down, which results in the skin stretching and sagging over time.
Incorporating at least an SPF 30 sunscreen into your daily skincare routine is one of the most effective ways to delay further skin aging. In fact, studies have shown that people who use sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day show 24% less skin aging than those who don’t.
In the last 20 years, scientists have been able to better pinpoint the relationship between stress and a variety of skin conditions.
When we experience high levels of stress, our bodies release a hormone called cortisol which causes elastin and collagen to break down. Cortisol also triggers inflammation and limits the skin’s ability to repair itself. This leads to the formation of permanent fine lines and wrinkles.
Nicotine and other chemicals found in cigarettes release unstable atoms into the skin.
Also known as free radicals, these atoms damage DNA and other healthy skin cells, which limits the production of collagen and elastin. Smoking also prevents the skin from absorbing moisture over time. Not only does this cause the skin to become dry, but it also makes fine lines and wrinkles more noticeable.
Colloquially known as the “powerhouse” of the cell, mitochondria are responsible for creating cellular energy.
As we get older, mitochondria start to deteriorate and prevent cells from functioning as efficiently as they used to. Current evidence suggests that mitochondrial dysfunction is one of the main driving forces behind accelerated cellular aging and decline.
To maintain these functions during your 40s, you need to find products that contain active ingredients like tretinoin that speed up the skin's cell turnover process.
We’ll go into more detail about tretinoin and how it helps create healthier and younger-looking skin later in this article.
As a naturally occurring coenzyme, NAD+ is essential for turning nutrients into energy and maintaining cellular energy production. NAD+ also plays a vital role in mitochondrial function, cellular repair, and metabolic health.
Although this coenzyme is crucial for maintaining vital daily functions, studies have shown that NAD+ levels decrease with age. When we have less NAD+ available in our bodies, the skin is more susceptible to UV damage and skin cell impairments. This leads to the skin being unable to repair itself as quickly as it used to and wrinkles, dark spots, and a loss of elasticity become much more noticeable.
Glutathione is often called the “master antioxidant” because it’s beneficial to our overall wellbeing. It assists with protecting our cells from oxidative stress, promotes mitochondrial health, and helps us to maintain a healthy immune system.
Even though glutathione is vital for healthy aging, its decline is inevitable. This leads to an imbalance between antioxidants and free radicals within our skin cells as we get older. This can cause damaged cells and inflammation, which accelerates the appearance of aging skin.
“Although the signs of aging become more noticeable in your 40s, there are steps you can take to ease fine lines and wrinkles, and boost elasticity,” says Dr. Lilliana Ramirez, a board-certified dermatologist and the director of skincare success at Nava MD. “Preventing further skin damage and nourishing your complexion should be your main priorities.”
Even if you’ve never committed to a skincare routine before, it’s never too late to start. The key is finding products with the right ingredients.
When you begin shopping for anti-aging products, make sure you find treatments that contain active ingredients. Most active ingredients can help accelerate the skin’s cell turnover process, smooth fine lines, even skin tone, and improve moisturization.
Retinoids are synthetic and natural derivatives of Vitamin A that reinvigorate mitochondria and speed up the skin’s cell turnover process. Retinoids do this by binding to Retinoic Acid Receptors (RAR) and Retinoid X Receptors (RXR).
This helps to increase the skin’s production of collagen, elastin and blood vessels to improve skin texture and appearance. Over time this results in a reduction in the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles hyperpigmentation and acne.
Another ingredient that has proven to have many benefits for people in their 40s is niacinamide.
This is a Vitamin B-3 derivative that helps to fight free radical damage, reverse signs of aging, and keep the skin hydrated. Niacinamide also helps build keratin to strengthen the skin barrier and produce ceramides to help cells retain moisture. It also has anti-inflammatory properties to minimize redness and blotchiness, as well as reduce the signs of sun damage.
Hyaluronic acid is a natural, glucose-based substance that helps the skin stay hydrated by maintaining moisture levels. One of the main signs of aging during the 40s is a loss of firmness and elasticity.
Hyaluronic acid is used in many anti-aging products to help keep the skin feeling supple and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It’s also a key ingredient to stimulate collagen production.Adding products that contain hyaluronic acid to your anti-aging skincare routine can also help promote healing from environmental factors like sun damage or smoking.
Although many moisturizers and serums contain ceramides, they also make up 30% to 40% of the skin’s outer layer. As we get older, the skin’s ceramide content decreases and becomes prone to dryness and irritation. Ceramides are often used in anti-aging products because they help keep skin hydrated and repel external toxins.
Vitamin C and E are two of the strongest antioxidants on the market. Antioxidant protection helps the body repair damaged skin cells.
Due to the fact that the body cannot produce these antioxidants naturally, we need to get them from our food or skincare products. Not only does Vitamin C help brighten skin, but it also reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and increases the production of collagen and elastin. Similarly, Vitamin E is effective for improving the appearance of dark spots and hyperpigmentation.
These antioxidants are often combined into a single anti-aging product. This is because they are most effective when used together.
Ingredients are not the only important factor to consider when buying anti-aging products.
It may seem trivial, but quality packaging is vital to the effectiveness of many over-the-counter (OTC) anti-aging products. There’s a subtle reason.
Active ingredients like retinoids can become unstable when exposed to excessive amounts of UV light through packaging. This could mean that by the time the OTC retinoid goes home with you, it may have degraded and not work as effectively anymore.
We recommend looking for the following:
Having a good understanding of your skin type can also help you find the right anti-aging treatments. This is because it will help you find products that are most effective for your skin’s sensitivities, as well as prevent irritation and breakouts.
Now that you know what to look for in anti-aging products, here’s what the dermatologists at Nava MD recommend.
Nava MD’s custom, all-inclusive anti-aging solutions were formulated by dermatologists and are prescribed by our team through virtual telemedicine visits, including with Dr. Lilliana Ramirez.
Not only are our anti-aging products dermatologist recommended, but they also contain tretinoin and niacinamide—two essential ingredients for fighting signs of aging during your 40s.
Nava MD’s skincare experts also specialize in creating personalized treatment plans based on each patient’s needs and sensitivities. This customized approach deploys trusted ingredients of variable strengths to suit your skin type.
If you have questions or concerns about your skincare regimen, a Nava MD clinician is only a message away.
Benefits of Nava MD:
Below, we’ve included some of the best OTC cleansers, moisturizers, retinol serums, and eye creams to help you manage signs of aging during your 40s.
In your 40s, it’s important to find a gentle cleanser that hydrates your skin and removes impurities for enhanced cell turnover.
This is why an effective cleanser should remove makeup and excess oil without leaving it feeling over-stripped or dry.
CeraVe Hydrating Face Wash
When we reach our 40s, dry skin becomes much more common compared to previous youthful years. This gentle, budget-friendly cleanser contains glycerin and hyaluronic acid, which draws moisture into the skin and repairs environmental damage. The ceramides are intended to help strengthen the skin barrier and ensure your skin is protected from external toxins.
Nava MD Daily Cleanser
This formula is free of abrasive sulfates and rich with emollient compounds to thoroughly clean skin without stripping it of essential oils and moisture. It preps your skin for other Clinical Skincare formulas, as well as prescription treatments you may be using. Its key ingredient Aquabeautine XL has been shown in studies to have a soothing effect on red, irritated skin.
Olay Regenerist Retinol 24 Face Cleanser
This is a good option for people in their 40s looking to add an OTC retinol into their skincare routine. Fragrance-free and packed with antioxidants, this creamy and gentle cleanser is also perfect for sensitive skin. It contains niacinamide to help the skin stay hydrated and improve elasticity.
Another notable ingredient is salicylic acid. Also known as BHA, it’s known for its exfoliating properties, improving dull skin to help your complexion look more radiant.
Peter Thomas Roth Anti-Aging Cleansing Gel
This gel-like cleanse contains glycolic and salicylic acids—two essential ingredients for a clearer and younger-looking complexion.
Glycolic acid exfoliates while maintaining moisture levels. It also stimulates the cell turnover process and improves skin texture. As mentioned above, salicylic acid exfoliates the skin and eases the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and dark spots.
Paula’s Choice Omega+ Complex Cleansing Balm
This triple-action cleanser gently removes makeup and impurities and is formulated with omegas -3, -6 and -9. This product is concentrated with a blend of fatty acids to help repair the skin’s natural barrier and boost firmness.
For people in their 40s that worry about moisture loss and dry skin, the jojoba and meadowfoam seed oils in this cleanser can keep skin feeling hydrated and nourished. Although this is suitable for all sensitivities, it’s a particularly good option for people with very dry, sensitive or rosacea-prone skin.
As we’ve seen, the skin’s ability to retain moisture and produce collagen or elastin decreases significantly during your 40s.
Not only does dull-looking skin also become more common, but our natural skin barriers begin to sag and thin as we age.
To manage these signs of aging, finding a good moisturizer that hydrates your skin and keeps it radiant is ideal.
Below, we’ve outlined some OTC moisturizers that will get the job done.
CeraVe Moisturizing Cream
This everyday go-to is a lightweight moisturizer, and it’s powerful enough to restore your skin’s natural barrier without causing irritation or redness.
Unlike many other moisturizers, it’s unlikely to clog pores. This is essential for people in their 40s who are looking to increase the skin’s cell rejuvenation process. It also contains hyaluronic acid and essential ceramides to keep the skin hydrated and protected.
This is a good option for aging skin because it helps boost moisture levels and strengthens the skin to prevent further damage.
Nava MD Moisturizing Cream
This cream is not your traditional moisturizer. Aquabeautine XL® effectively, gently dissolves dead skin cells leaving you with a youthful-looking glow.
Aside from being hydrating, it can help to visibly shrink the look of pores, fade dark spots, and reduce the appearance of redness and irritation — including the kind that comes from using prescription retinoids like tretinoin.
Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream
This moisturizer is rich in antioxidants and contains hyaluronic acid to moisturize and prevent your skin from looking dry or dull. It’s fragrance-free, and it also contains ingredients like niacinamide and peptides that deeply hydrate skin to create a visibly firmer appearance.
The combination of anti-aging ingredients in this moisturizer also helps smooth fine lines and wrinkles, making it an ideal choice for those in their 40s.
La Roche-Posay Toleriane Double Repair Moisturizer
Some of the notable ingredients in this moisturizer include niacinamide, ceramide-3 and glycerin.
This combination helps to restore the skin’s natural barrier, keep skin hydrated and maintain a healthy-looking complexion. The two main benefits are that it provides 48-hour hydration and is suitable for all skin types.
Pause Collagen Boosting Moisturizer
One of the main causes of aging skin is a decline in collagen production. This moisturizer helps to hydrate, add volume and tighten facial contours by boosting collagen production.
Not only does it help to maintain the skin’s moisture levels, but it also improves the appearance of uneven skin tone and reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Dr. Ramirez recommends not only nourishing but also protecting your complexion to ease the appearance of aging skin during your 40s. One of the more effective ways to do this is to use products with active ingredients like retinol and pure vitamin C. These ingredients can stimulate collagen production and increase the cell turnover process to help improve your complexion and smooth fine lines and wrinkles. Here are some top recommendations for the best anti-aging serums and retinoids.
SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic
The sun is one of the main contributors to skin aging. If you’re looking to improve the appearance of sun damage, this OTC serum is a great option.
This serum neutralizes free radicals caused by UV rays and helps to reduce fine lines and wrinkles. When used together with an SPF, this serum offers double protection against the sun.
One of the other notable ingredients is ferulic acid. It helps protect the skin from environmental toxins like pollution. For people in their 40s who spend a lot of time outdoors or in urban areas, this serum can offer effective protection from free radicals and sun damage.
RoC Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Night Cream
This oil-free, non-comedogenic night cream offers intense hydration and anti-aging benefits on a budget. It also contains a blend of different retinoids, including retinyl acetate, palmitate and propionate, which can help treat and prevent wrinkles. This product also contains glycerin and RoC’s mineral complex to hydrate the skin and prevent irritation or redness.
Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Multi-Recovery Complex
This serum has a variety of anti-aging benefits. Hyaluronic acid helps keep the skin moisturized for up to 72 hours, which boosts the skin’s natural repair process. This is also a good choice for people in their 40s looking to protect their skin from free radicals and stimulate collagen production.
Avène Retrinal 0.05 Cream
This is great for people in their 40s who’ve noticed a loss of firmness and elasticity in their skin.
The retinaldehyde found in this product is a functional retinoid. This means that it helps reduce the appearance of deep wrinkles, and helps plump and firm the skin. One of the other notable ingredients in this product is Avène Thermal Spring Water, intended to help soothe the skin and maintain a more radiant complexion.
It’s normal to worry about aging skin becoming more noticeable during your 40s.
Choosing the right products is essential to restore brighter, firmer skin. However, navigating the world of anti-aging skincare can be overwhelming.
That’s why at Nava MD, we make it easy to get the best anti-aging skincare advice from licensed medical professionals.
After an online consultation, our clinicians can prescribe the right products for your skin’s needs and sensitivities, including custom prescription formulas for your specific needs. If approved, your treatment is delivered straight to your door.
This article is intended for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice.
Consult a healthcare professional or call a doctor in the case of a medical emergency