Coming Of Age: The Best Skincare Routine For Your 40s

Hormonal shifts can lead to many skin changes for women in their forties, but caring for your complexion doesn’t have to be complicated.
Written by Jeannine Morris Lombardi
Is this article helpful?5 min read
Coming Of Age: The Best Skincare Routine For Your 40sJack Frog/Shutterstock

When should I start getting Botox®? Is it time to incorporate retinol into my skincare routine? What is a “mommy makeover”? How about a “daddy do-over”? Do I really need to, as the saying goes, sacrifice my ass for my face? Should I swap my hyaluronic acid fillers for something a bit more permanent?

When it comes to beauty and aesthetics, there is no such thing as one -size -fits-all. But there are some tried and true principles that will keep you looking and feeling your best. In this series, Coming of Age, The AEDITION answers your most pressing questions about the best treatments, procedures, and practices — from surgery and skincare to health and wellness and everything in between — to consider at any age.

Hormones play a role in the state of the skin at any age, but their influence is especially felt as women enter their forties. Estrogen and progesterone levels become imbalanced, many women start to experience perimenopause, and the skincare routine that worked wonders in your twenties and thirties may not do the trick anymore.

“Your skin is hormone-dependent and, when there’s a fluctuation of estrogen, it gets dry and the production of collagen and elastin decrease,” says Julie Russak, MD, a NYC-based board certified dermatologist and founder of Russak Dermatology Clinic. “It’s important to pay attention to these external signs and address them as needed.”

So, how should your skincare routine evolve as you enter this new decade? We spoke with top NYC dermatologists and a cosmetic chemist to find out exactly what your regimen should look like.

The Best Skincare Routine for Your 40s

If you’ve been following this series, you know we established a well-curated skincare routine of five products that women should start using in the twenties. In your thirties, our experts recommend adding a vitamin A derivative (think: retinol or retinoids) into the mix. Once you hit your forties, you may want to consider adding a couple new products to your vanity.

Here’s what the ideal skincare routine for your forties should look like:


  • Cleanser
  • Eye Cream
  • Probiotic Serum or Booster
  • Vitamin C Serum
  • Moisturizer with Peptides
  • Sunscreen


  • Cleanser
  • Eye Cream
  • Probiotic Serum or Booster
  • Retinol
  • Moisturizer with Peptides

As a reminder, many of the products can be used twice a day — with the exception of sunscreen and retinol, of course. When it comes to applying skincare, the more area you cover, the better. In addition to slathering your face, use any excess product on your neck, décolletage, and backs of the hands, as all three areas are prone to aging.

The Best Skincare Ingredients for Your 40s

While the active ingredients that have long been in your skincare routine (i.e. vitamin C) continue to be important, changes in hormones and body processes require some reinforcements. “Your ceramide levels continue to drop in your forties to 64 percent, which can bring on an onset of rosacea, rough skin, and weaken it’s barrier function,” says Dendy Engelman, MD, a board certified dermatologist in New York City. Adding products with probiotics and updating your A.M. and P.M. moisturizer to one that contains peptides are crucial to keeping your skin’s barrier healthy.


Because there are over a trillion bacteria on our skin (yes, that’s right, bugs), the use of probiotics in skincare have become popular in the last decade, as research has explored the importance of the microbiome (the ecosystem that consists of fungi, viruses, and bacteria living on the skin). “Probiotics are beneficial live bacteria and yeasts that help your skin's microbiome,” explains Shuting Hu, PhD, a cosmetic scientist and founder of Acaderma. “Probiotic skincare can aid all skin types, but is especially beneficial to those with chronic inflammation, acne, or skin conditions like rosacea and eczema.” Probiotic-infused skincare helps to boost microorganisms on your skin and keep it healthy. Dr. Engelman recommends using Elizabeth Arden SuperStart Skin Renewal Booster in the morning and evening after cleansing.


Ceramides are lipids (a.k.a. fats) that make up the top layer of your skin and hold moisture. “Your skin is like a brick wall,” Dr. Russak explains. “Your cells are the bricks and ceramides are the mortar that act as glue between the cells.” In order to keep your skin looking firm and healthy, it’s important to maintain ceramide levels topically as they naturally drop. Keeping the barrier of the skin supported in this way will lock in moisture, smooth compromised texture, and protect the skin from environmental aggressors like pollution. Try SkinMedica TNS Ceramide Treatment Cream.

If You’re in the Market for a Professional Treatment…

A good skincare routine is the foundation of good skin, but that doesn’t mean you can’t complement it with in-office treatments. As we outlined in our guide to the best cosmetic procedures to consider in your forties, modalities that tighten, brighten, and smooth the skin are popular options.

The Lutronic Genius™ combines radiofrequency and microneedling technology to stimulate collagen production. “I really like Genius™ to address textural irregularities and to help tighten the lower face,” Dr. Engelman shares. To start, three successive treatments can reduce fine lines and wrinkles, rid scars, firm the face, and reduce pore size. “It’s something you can use continuously as you age for maintenance after a series on higher settings,” she adds.

Laser skin resurfacing is another effective option for treating the skin concerns that women often experience in their forties. “Fraxel® helps to reverse signs of aging, stimulates collagen and acts preventatively for more aggressive signs of aging,” Dr. Engelman explains. The non-ablative fractional laser creates micro-injuries in the skin to trigger healing and can address fine lines, scars (acne or otherwise), and uneven skin tone and texture.

When it comes to these more invasive professional treatments, Dr. Engelman has one piece of advice: Don’t go bargain shopping for your face. “Just like with most things, you get what you pay for,” she cautions.

You Are What You Eat

Nutrition continues to play an important role in skin health at any age. Opt for an antioxidant-rich diet and consider taking supplements for collagen and probiotics. “When trying to boost collagen, ingesting it can only help, not hinder, your skincare results,” Dr. Russak says. We like Evolution_18 Beauty Collagen by Bobbi Brown because it’s a powder that can easily be added to your daily smoothie or morning cup of water. Probiotics like Nature Made Digestive Probiotics Multi-Strain 12 Ultra-Strength are also important to take daily (in addition to applying topically!).

All products featured are independently selected by our editors, however, AEDIT may receive a commission on items purchased through our links.

Was this helpful?
JEANNINE MORRIS LOMBARDIis a contributing writer for AEDIT.

Related Procedures



‘Try on’ aesthetic procedures and instantly visualize possible results with AEDIT and our patented 3D aesthetic simulator.

App QR Code