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6 Makeup & Skin Habits to Avoid After Your 40s

Your skin’s needs change as you age, and products you swore by for years may no longer be as effective or may even contribute to you appearing older than you look and feel. To support your skin in this stage of life, your beauty routine likely needs a refresh! Here are six makeup and skin habits you should avoid in your 40s.

1. Ditch the drying products

As we age, our skin gets drier, and it is critical to focus on hydration to support the shift in our skin’s ability to retain moisture. Many women and men seek anti-aging skincare to treat the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, but if you are 40 or older, be sure to focus on hydrating ingredients including glycerin, hyaluronic acid, and squalane: these will dependably plump the skin and reduce the appearance of wrinkles. 

Your efforts to keep your skin hydrated will see stronger results if you avoid ingredients that are known for drying out your skin, such as:

  • Alcohol (may be labeled as methanol or ethanol) 
  • Glycols
  • Fragrances
  • Salicylic acid
  • Benzoyl peroxide

Retinols are highly effective at increasing skin cell turnover to reduce common signs of aging and other imperfections but can be drying by nature. Thus we recommend layering a good moisturizer over your retinol, and, if that doesn’t suffice, check in with your aesthetician to see if you should modify your skincare regimen to give your skin a break! 

Tip: Seek out physician-only skincare products, which have higher concentrations of clinically-proven ingredients. We highlighted a few of our favorite medical-grade moisturizers here. And, don’t forget to share the love with your lips

2. Go easy on the eyes

The skin around the eyes is some of the thinnest and most sensitive on the entire body. Treat this area with the utmost care—do not excessively rub your eyes, as those motions stretch and tug at the skin, and when you remove eye makeup, let the makeup remover sit on the eyes long enough to help the makeup gently dissolve. 

If you’re using a nightly eye cream before you sleep, kudos! Just be sure you are applying as gently as possible: avoid pulling at the skin or stretching or pressing it too hard when you apply it.

Additionally, rubbing your eyes can break the tiny blood vessels under your eyes and cause a puffy, swollen appearance. To counteract this, you’ll be inclined to apply (and then have to remove) more products from this sensitive area; you can break this cycle by treating the skin around your eyes with a delicate touch. In sum, the less you touch and tug at your eyes, the better!

Tip: Apply eye products with the ring finger to avoid excessive pressure. 

3. Avoid heavy makeup

Although it may be counterintuitive, it is better to apply less makeup as you age, rather than more. You may feel like more lines and wrinkles need more coverage, but heavy foundations and cream blushes tend to sink into creases in the skin, thus exaggerating their appearance. Instead, opt for a lightweight foundation—specifically one specifically formulated for mature skin. This also applies to eye and lip makeup; heavier makeup with higher pigmentation levels can weigh down your features. Keep it light, fresh, and minimal to support a more youthful appearance! 

Tip: A current trend in makeup is skincare-infused makeup—select products have built-in ingredients to benefit your skin’s health while you enjoy the cosmetic effects! It’s a win-win for anyone with aging skin.

4. Never skip sun protection

If you have never been one to apply sunscreen every day, you might think—”why start now? It’s too late for me to bother with SPF.” Or perhaps you have avoided sunscreen thinking the formulas will always be greasy or won’t be compatible with your makeup. These notions could not be further from the truth! We cannot stress enough the importance of sun protection for people of all ages; additionally, products have advanced so that you can get full-spectrum sun protection with light-feeling, non-comedogenic products.

There is no such thing as a “healthy tan” when it comes to sun exposure. Whether your skin type darkens after sun exposure or burns, the change in color is actually your skin’s protective response against damaging ultraviolet (UV) light. UV rays damage your skin at the cellular level, impairing your natural collagen and elastin production (proteins you need to keep your skin plump and smooth); excessive sun exposure is also known to lead to skin cancer.  

So, find a sunscreen you like of at least SPF 30 or higher, and apply it last in your morning skincare routine. If you are going to wear makeup, let it fully absorb before applying those products. You’ll need to reapply if you are in direct sun for more than 2 hours; consider purchasing a powder-based sunscreen you can apply over your makeup to keep your skin safe without ruining your look. 

Sun damage, also called “photoaging,” cannot be 100% reversed, but there are products and treatments to help minimize the cosmetic imperfections it leaves behind. 

  • Chemical peels remove the dull, damaged outer layers of skin to visibly reduce the cosmetic effects of sun damage.
  • Microneedling treatments help stimulate collagen and elastin production to soften lines and plump the skin.
  • Dermaplaning uses a surgical scalpel to manually exfoliate your skin by gently scaping the surface of the skin. By removing peach fuzz and dry skin, dermaplaning can help brighten your skin, reduce flakiness, and make your face noticeably smoother to the touch.

If you also see questionable spots on your skin, make an appointment with us or another medical professional specializing in skin cancer. Early detection is key; these are some of the early warning signs of skin cancer.  

Tip: Be sure to protect sneaky areas of skin regularly exposed to the sun! This includes the neck, décolletage, ears, and tops of the hands and feet.

5. Avoid bacteria in beauty tools

When was the last time you cleaned your makeup brushes? Makeup brushes, beauty blenders, and other cosmetic tools can harbor surprising amounts of bacterial contaminants, so it is important to clean them about every 7-10 days. Regularly cleaning your beauty tools not only prevents issues, such as clogged pores and breakouts, but using clean tools also benefits your beauty products and the tools themselves! Maintaining your makeup applicators will keep them in good condition longer and achieve a smoother makeup application. Using clean tools to collect the product from its container will also prevent bacteria, dead skin cells, and other residues from contaminating the remaining product. 

Tip: You don’t have to break the bank to keep your brushes clean! A cleanser that is specifically marketed toward cleaning makeup brushes can get a bit pricey, but micellar water is a cheap, effective alternative.

6. Don’t neglect your hair health

Thinning hair and hair loss are very common as we age and can be caused by a number of factors, such as hormone changes, medical conditions, and genetics. To help support a healthy scalp and hair growth, try working regular scalp massages into your beauty regimen. Scalp massage is great for increasing blood circulation around the scalp and has been proven to increase hair thickness. There are affordable silicone scalp massagers available online that are perfect for an at-home head and scalp massage. Find a beneficial oil, such as Moroccan, argan, or rosemary oil, and apply that to your scalp before you massage to boost its effects. Just be sure to wash it out soon after so your scalp’s pores and hair follicles don’t get clogged! 

Visit Plastic Surgery Services for skincare advice & treatments for aging skin

Frederick plastic surgeon Dr. Henry F. Garazo and our licensed aesthetician Shelby are here to help you reach your goals for your appearance in the Hagerstown and Frederick areas. Dr. Garazo performs a range of plastic and dermatologic surgery procedures and injectables, while Shelby offers professional facials and skincare services. To learn more about our services, call (301)791-1800 to schedule your consultation or contact us online.

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