What would I be doing for my face if I was in my forties? Great skin care, obviously (see below for that). But what about tweakments? What would I be trying? And which do I think is the most important?
Wrinkle relaxing toxin
If you’ve got frown lines that are setting in between your eyebrows, maybe now it’s time to try a tiny bit of toxin to soften them or to relax any stress-induced clenching in your jaw muscles. I know that there are arguments for starting toxin earlier, as a preventative measure, and I still feel a bit dubious about this as a strategy in that it tends to make younger people think that wrinkles are something terrible that you want to avoid at all costs. I never had toxin until I was 40 when people (eg my mother) started asking why I looked worried the whole time, and it seems to have done its wrinkle-relaxing trick perfectly well. Just saying.
Pigment busting with lasers or IPL
If you have patchy pigmentation starting to show up from earlier sun damage, you can get on top of this with a few sessions of laser or IPL, or a series of skin peels. If you’re struggling with melasma or rosacea, find a dermatologist or practitioner who can help you with specific, possibly prescription, skincare, and use it diligently (plus, always, SPF).
Softening contours with fillers
You may be wary of fillers, but in your 40s, a small amount of filler can go a long way to prop up the bits of your face that are starting to annoy you, like a drooping mouth, or, if you have a face like mine that gradually goes hollow with age, to stop it looking gaunt. Find the right practitioner, and you’ll get a lovely result, with no pillow-face in sight.
The big one: collagen banking
But most of all, I would be thinking about treatments that boost collagen density in the skin – because, in your 40s, you have more collagen in your skin than you’ll have when you’re older, and the more collagen you have in your skin, the more of a result you will see from collagen-boosting treatments such as ultrasound, laser, radiofrequency, microneedling, RF needling… And if the muscle-toning EMFace treatment had been around when I was in my 40s I’d definitely be trying that, to see what it could do to keep my face looking like itself before it all began to slide south.
And the skincare!
In your 40s, it’s worth stepping up your skincare routine just enough to keep your skin healthy and stimulated, without stressing it out. How would you do that? Here are some suggestions:
- With an antioxidant serum, maybe Vitamin C, in the mornings, to strengthen and brighten your skin
- A hydrating serum or lightweight moisturiser, because hydrated skin is happier skin
- SPF, every day, just because
- A retinoid at night, to stimulate the skin into keeping itself fresh and strong and functioning at its best.
- A glycolic acid product for night-time skin brightening on a non-retinoid night
- Peptides, as a nighttime alternative to retinoids/ glycolic acid.
Was I doing all this in my 40s?
Yes! At least, I was just getting started – a bit warily – with tweakments. I’d spent a few years on reporting on procedures and observing them, and then I reached a point (when my mother asked me once too often why I was looking so anxious) where I thought, ‘Right. I’m going to try that toxin stuff…’ And, as you know, I haven’t looked back. I wasn’t exactly doing any of these procedures regularly until my late 40s (and energy-based treatments like RF and microneedling only became popular later in the Noughties, and ultrasound/HIFU wasn’t even around til I was 50), but I was certainly finding out what they could do.
This lovely pic of me aged 43 was taken by Romas Foord for the Observer Woman magazine in 2006
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