5 Products Every 40-Something Should Start Using, According to Skin Experts

It’s no secret that the skin’s ageing process differs from person to person. While some people might start forming wrinkles in their late twenties, others might remain youthful and wrinkle-free until they hit 50Skin ageing is a fact of life, and while genetics and lifestyle choices might delay the effects, at some point, it will catch up with you. And for most of us, this happens at some point in our forties. "Unless you’ve struggled with a specific skin condition like acne or psoriasis, during your twenties and thirties, you skin is likely to have been ticking along nicely, living off its own elasticity and hydration,” explains skincare specialist Jane Scrivner.

So what exactly happens when we hit our forties? "It’s time to start replacing what your skin is losing during the ageing process. Your forties are the time to put in the groundwork before menopause, to really improve and maintain the condition of your skin, otherwise there will be a lot of catching up to do in your fifties,” says Scrivner. To really dig deep on exactly the sorts of ingredients and products we should be introducing to our routine in our forties, we have reached out to some of our go-to skin gurus to reveal their top five most important tips. Keeping scrolling to find out what they had to say.

1. High-Strength Retinol


(Image credit: @THETENNILLELIFE_)

We’re assuming that by the time you hit your forties, you’re already using a plumping and hydrating hyaluronic acid serum, as well as a hardworking vitamin C to fend off damage caused by environmental aggressors. However, it is perfectly likely that, up until this point, you haven’t really wanted to experiment with retinol, but now is the best time to start. While prior to this, your skin might have found retinol sensitising or difficult to manage, your forties is the time that you will most likely start to see the most visible benefits from it. "Due to the changes in your skin, your skincare focus should be on stimulating the skin’s cell turnover, regeneration and repair. I definitely think increasing the topical vitamins you apply to your skin is important, specifically vitamin A (retinol) to increase cell turnover,” explains Scrivner.

2. Broad-Spectrum SPF


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We would love to think that every single person has been applying facial SPF every day for the entirety of their lives, but we know that’s optimistic. The key to prolonging the effects of skin ageing is without a doubt down to prevention through daily SPF application. However when we reach our forties, this becomes more important than ever. Define Clinic’s Benji Dhillon reveals, "Skin requires daily protection from the sun, and even more so in our forties as we can’t regenerate our skin as quickly as we could when we were younger.”

The way in which you’re applying your SPF makes all of the difference, too. While using a foundation that contains SPF might have felt sufficient in your twenties and thirties, your forties is officially the time to invest in a daily sun cream. "In the same way cheap, ineffective cleansers might have got you through your twenties and thirties, SPF contained within makeup is no longer sufficient,” says Dhillon. Instead, it’s time to introduce a broad-spectrum cream or gel as the last step in your morning routine.

3. Resveratrol


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Whereas you are likely to have already heard all about the skin benefits of retinol, vitamin C and maybe even niacinamide, resveratrol is an ingredient that has been sat waiting patiently for its moment in the spotlight. Similarly to vitamin C, resveratrol is a powerful antioxidant that helps to fend off damage caused by ageing aggressors such as UV rays and pollution. However, unlike vitamin C, resveratrol is remarkably soothing, helping with redness and irritation too. "As we enter our forties, skin may start to dry out more due to a reduced ability to generate naturally occurring hyaluronic acid. It’s worth adopting specific ingredients that target those aspects of skin ageing too, such as resveratrol,” advises Dhillon.

4. LED Mask



There’s a very high chance that you have seen many celebs and influencers modelling LED light masks on their Instagram pages. The likes of VB and Chrissy Teigen swear by LED therapy to help combat the signs of ageing. But with the masks costing a pretty penny, it’s worth knowing exactly what they do first. Scriver reveals, "If you’re looking for a new, more high-tech treatment to include in your routine now that you have hit your forties, I would recommend LED masks. Red Light Therapy is fantastic for stimulating collagen and elastin, exactly what skin needs in your forties!”

5. Acids


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We get it, reaching for acids as your skin gets older and drier almost feels counterintuitive, right? However, experts explain that actually, because the skin’s natural cell turnover starts to reduce, it’s more important to use acids in your forties than ever. "Alpha-hydroxy and beta-hydroxy acids are great to include as a daily liquid exfoliation to slough away dead skin cells and stimulate skin, which will need more of a kick start now you’re in your forties,” says Scrivner. Every few days, apply an acid solution to skin in the evening after cleansing—just make sure you’re not skipping on your SPF!

Freelance Beauty Editor

Shannon Lawlor is a renowned beauty journalist and has contributed to Who What Wear’s beauty content since 2020. As a leading beauty editor, expert and brand consultant, she has over eight years of experience working for some of the industry’s most esteemed titles, including Who What Wear (of course), Glamour UK, Stylist, Refinery29 and Fabulous. Having also worked behind the scenes with some of the industry’s biggest brands and retailers, Shannon has a unique insight into what people really want from their beauty routines. Understanding that beauty lovers seek honest, open and responsible advice, she has it made her mission to demystify the intimidating world of beauty, taking a no-frills approach to the most relatable topics. While Shannon is the first to admit she doesn’t hold the answer to every beauty question out there, she is dedicated to sharing her expert insights in a bid to help. As a self-proclaimed lazy girl, Shannon has an affinity for easy-to-use, foolproof beauty products and has made it her mission to scope out the best of the best. When she’s not working, Shannon is likely soaking in the bath or giving no-holds-barred beauty reviews on Instagram from her bathroom floor.