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Retinol, vitamin C, glycolic acid—these are the best skincare products packed with anti-aging ingredients for your 40s, according to dermatologists.

By Kathleen Felton
October 15, 2019
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It's no secret that when you hit 40, skin develops a whole different set of concerns. Hopefully, by this age you've conquered the breakouts that may have plagued your 20s and 30s (although some women continue to experience acne beyond that, experts say), but now you're probably noticing deeper-set lines, dark spots, and a general loss of plumpness.

New York City dermatologist Dendy Engelman, MD, tells Health that skin begins to lose about 10% of its collagen once we turn 30—which means that by 40, complexions can be dull-looking and uneven. "Wrinkles may be more predominant," she adds, "and because of hormonal changes, dryness and discoloration can become an issue."

Another concern? Skin that's 40-plus doesn't bounce back as easily as it once did. "In our 40s, our skin's turnover rate has slowed down," says Debra Jaliman, MD, a New York City dermatologist and author of Skin Rules. "It takes longer to heal."

As a result, you may find yourself grappling with aftereffects of years spent in the sun, such as hyperpigmentation and fine lines. "We have most likely spent plenty of time in the sun [by 40], which has broken down our collagen levels faster than we can replace them," says Dr. Jaliman.

Your skincare routine in your 40s

Establishing a skincare routine that works for you is especially important in your 40s, experts say. "Consistency with your regimen is key," says Anna Guanche, MD, a dermatologist and celebrity beauty expert based in Calabasas, California. "Great skin takes discipline."

In the morning, gently cleanse before putting on moisturizer and sunscreen (wearing it every day is crucial, Dr. Guanche stresses). As you apply your products, start using the thinnest first (such as an essence), then work your way up to heavier formulas. In general, you may want to incorporate products that deliver more moisture at this age, experts add.

Proven anti-agers like retinol, antioxidants such as vitamin C, and gentle exfoliators can help keep 40-plus skin healthy and hydrated. As for ingredients you can scale back on? "If you're not really suffering from acne anymore, you can stop using harsh astringent toners and salicylic acid," says Dr. Guanche.

Below, we asked dermatologists to share their top picks for skincare products worth adding to your routine at this age. From a budget-friendly hyaluronic acid to so-worth-it nighttime serums, these finds will help you achieve the best skin in your life in your 40s.

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