40-Something Skin Love – How to Save Your Skin

Q: I‘d be interested to hear about what women did/wish they did in their 20’s to “preserve” their youth.

We’ve all heard about sunscreen, but what else? Is it ever too soon to start? When is it too late? Does it even make a difference? Do any of these products, creams etc.  EVEN WORK? I’d like to avoid botox and plastic surgery as long as possible, ideally forever, so insight on natural, preventative measures would be great.

A. I get this answer a lot from 20-somethings. And yes the most common answer I get from 40-somethings is sunscreen.


And strangely enough Vaseline. One of the more unusual answers I got from a 40-something was from a woman whose mother was French. She said that she never used soap or hot water on her face as that was an old French secret. Have to admit I googled this to see if I could find any other reference to this but I couldn’t. But you never know. I do recall when I was younger hearing an interview with Paul Newman, who many of you only recall from his salad dressing label, but who was known way back when for his eternal youthfulness. He said that every morning he stuck his face in a sinkful of ice water. I’m sure he was teasing, just to see how many women and men started freezing their face every morning. I imagine either way it is a great wake up. But to answer this question. I have a mix of answers from everyday women, a well-known and wise dermatologist and a 40-something beauty blogger, both of whom I had previously interviewed for 40:20 Vision.


Me, I wish I had used a little more sunscreen. I did recently have a skin cancer scare which ended up to be okay. But it reinforced the importance because I never even spent that much time in the sun growing up. And it does appear in small ways. I’m not a fanatic about sun spots but as you get older they do show up on parts of skin that are more prominent. Your nose and your cheekbones. When they hit your cheekbones they can dramatize the appearance of  dark circles under your eyes.  And don’t miss your lips or above the lips as feather lines there show up earlier and could be the effect of more exposure to sun — in addition to smoking which is the other universal no no for avoiding wrinkles.

Beyond that I believe in anti-oxidant serums (SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic) for preventative measures, a moisturizer you love, sunscreen, weekly exfoliation and Retin A. And now here is from some  40-something women who look wonderful in their skin:

A dedicated answer from 40-something beauty expert, TV host and author of the Chic Mom Guide.

“I truly wish that Botox had been available when I was in my 20’s! As a wrinkle freezer, it actually does help to prevent future wrinkles- so truly once you start seeing some forehead lines and wrinkles around your eyes, it is a good idea to start. Yes, some may say it’s too young, but done is moderation (say twice per year),  It can be a truly preventative procedure! This is the only ‘procedure” I think anyone under 30 should consider.


In terms of natural products/procedures, Frownies are a good alternative to Botox in your 20’s. They work in a similar fashion- they prevent your face from making the facial movements that cause wrinkles.


Other really important things in addition to sunscreen are a good pair of sunglasses and hats – very important. Sun damage is a big part of premature aging. Also, start using a retinol or glycolic product on a regular basis to increase cell turnover at night. Those are probably the easiest things that can be done and I wish I had known in my 20’s!


One other good idea is to start sleeping on a silk or satin pillowcase; it also helps to prevent wrinkles. Other obvious choices are to drink at least 8 glasses of water per day and exercise daily and of course do not smoke! ??Finally, remember your hands and neck! These are the first places to show age and I really, really wish I had started earlier using exfoliating products and sunscreen on my hands.



“Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. And don’t smoke. And drink tea. And get lots of calcium and Omega 3-6-9s.”– 40-something, NYC


“Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen. Sun is the number 1 thing that ages you. As my model friend tells me, if you do one thing everyday put sunscreen on your face, chest and the back of your hands. And remember suns harmful rays can get through glass and also burn you in the winter. Nothing will keep you younger than sunscreen.” – 40-something, NYC


“Now I’m in my mid-forties, my big thing is skin. I got to get a facial as many times as I can afford it which is usually like maybe 3 times a year. A real one not like when you go to a hair salon and they have a facial person. I go to a real place that is really going to advise you about what your skin needs and what you should be doing and how you can take care of it for the long run. That’s my big thing right now.’  – 40-something, Cleveland, OH


“Retinol is the one thing I’ve (apart from sunscreen of course) that definitely helps skin if started earlier. For sure. Natural preventation would be no smoking, stress reduction techniques and fish oils. Watch out for too much sugar and gluten, — 40-something, wellness expert, NYC


“Wash your face every night…don’t ever go to bed with day old makeup and dirt still on your face! And moisturize your whole body EVERYDAY. Find the potions that work for you…serum, retinol products, eye cream, moisturizer with sunscreen for the day and a different one for night. I like the DDF and Peter Thomas Roth products. Origins has a new serum out that is supposed to be 88% as effective as retin A but not as harsh but haven’t tried it yet. Hope that is helpful! – 40-something, NYC


“Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen, huge, huge, huge. I would definitely encourage. I wear that daily. The other thing is Obagi.  It’s omething that you get from a dermatologist’s office but I just absolutely love the 5 step process. It’s amazing. That’s it. That’s all I do really, it’s the sunscreen and the Obagi.” – 40-something, Larchmont, NYC


“Pay attention to your skin now because damage does not show up on your skin until 20 years later and it is much easier to prevent something than to fix it.  You don’t have to spend a lot on skincare and don’t underestimate the effect of emotional stress on your skin.  For prevention, Sunccreen. Omega-3 supplements. Retin A does work. And your diet can help.  I eat almonds. They contain essential fatty acids, which help put the brakes on inflammation that accelerates fine lines, sagging, and blotchiness. Salmon, tuna, and halibut are good lunch/dinner sources.  – Dermatologist, NYC


I will definitely keep this conversation going and share the things that have worked for 40-somehtign women. The products that have stood the test of time and that women felt made a difference. One last note, whatever women use their doesn’t seem to be a relation between cost and effectiveness. Can’t tell you how many women talk about how great their grandmothers skin was and usually they used something like Olay!

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