Do you feel like your skin is visibly aging? Are you noticing more fine lines, wrinkles, age spots, or hyperpigmentation? Are you over the age of 40?
Like death and taxes, aging is inevitable. But if you're trying to live more holistically and naturally, and you'd rather age gracefully than use treatment like injectables, you're in the right place. Many injectables are unethical and, well—needles in the face? No, thank you.
But there are ways you can keep your skin in top shape without the need for excessive force. In today's article, we'll talk about how the skin changes in our 30s, and we'll highlight the best natural ingredients for glowing skin over 40.
Skin Concerns After 30
Around the age of 30, many things, including our collagen production, begin to slow down. You'll notice things like fine lines and wrinkles form in your most expressional areas. And your skin won't feel as plump or "bouncy" as it starts its journey to the middle ages.
Three of the most common first signs of aging are:
- Fine lines, particularly around the eyes, mouth, and forehead.
- Dark circles under the eyes.
- Hyperpigmentation and sunspots.
You can combat these concerns using some of nature's most potent and effective ingredients, which we'll talk about later.
Why do we see the first signs of aging around our eyes? A few reasons.
- The skin around the eyes is much thinner than the rest of the face, so it's susceptible to more wrinkling.
- As our collagen production slows down, our thin eye area is the first place to lose that elasticity.
- Appropriate products aren't used around the delicate skin around the eyes.
- 9.5% of the face gets missed when people apply sunscreen — 13.5% of the time, the eyelids get missed, and 77% of the time, the inner corner of the eye and bridge of the nose get missed, thus causing sun damage and premature aging (1).
The other thing you may have noticed pop up on your face in your 30s is hyperpigmentation. Hyperpigmentation is darker spots or patches on your skin, usually caused by sun exposure, but can also be hormonal (melasma) or result from an injury. It's an excess of melanin, which gives us the color of our skin.
Melasma is common in pregnancy or when taking certain medications and usually goes away by itself. But for those pesky patches of damage done to the skin from the sun or injuries, you may need beauty intervention to fade hyperpigmentation.
If you're white or fair-skinned, you are no stranger to using sunscreen. However, during our youth, having a tan was seen as more desirable, so often, we didn't reapply sunscreen as frequently as we should. And if you're naturally olive or dark and rarely burn in the sun, it can be challenging to know when you need to reapply sunscreen.
Hyperpigmentation is also more prevalent and more noticeable in those with medium to dark skin tones due to containing more melanocytes. It can also take longer to treat on darker skin than its fair-skinned counterparts.
Post-40 Best Skin Practices
The beauty of being over 40 is we often have better taste in everything and (hopefully) more income than when we were in our 20s and 30s. So we are able to choose products for their quality rather than their price.
While a generalization, it is a fact that Millennials and Gen X are more likely to splurge on their skincare because they are more financially able to do so.
The best practice for any age is to always look at the ingredients when choosing products. As we age, we want to avoid anything that dries out the skin and anything that can cause irritation or inflammation. Many synthetic ingredients, like sulfates and retinol, are big culprits of skin inflammation.
This is why you'll notice many brands are now formulating their products with "No Sulfates," and some brands are now creating retinol alternatives in their products. Take Earth Harbor's Samphire Sea Retinol Digital Serum, for example. It contains Samphire, a marine succulent that boasts the same properties as retinol, without irritation.
But let's start from the top. A skincare ritual can be anything from a one-step up to a 12-step (or more) ritual. But most commonly, a skin specialist will prescribe a 5-step ritual:
- Eye cream
Add an exfoliant and mask once or twice a week, and that's the gold standard. But if you're doing something different, it doesn't mean, by any means, that you're doing it wrong.
Natural Ingredients for Glowing Skin
We're all trying to be a little better when it comes to the ingredients we expose ourselves to. We want our skincare to contain no parabens, sulfates, fragrance, synthetic colors, etc. And as we get older, it's essential also to choose ingredients that nurture and nourish our skin. Let's go through each step and a key ingredient to look for.
Cleansing is a core step in any ritual. One tip is, as long as you've performed a full ritual the night before, you can skip the cleanse in the mornings. This is a great step for anyone with particularly dry or sensitive skin and is also great in the cooler months when everything tends to be a lot drier.
But if you don't like skipping the cleanse in the morning, you can opt for an oil cleanser, such as Earth Harbor's Sunshine Dew Antioxidant Cleansing Oil. Oil cleansers are best not to strip the skin and help fortify the skin's barrier while giving a thorough cleanse.
It's also recommended to perform a double cleanse in the evenings — first to remove makeup and pollutants, and second, to cleanse the skin. Use an oil cleanser followed by a second cleanser, or you can use the oil cleanser twice.
As for a key ingredient in your cleanser, look for Marshmallow Root (althaea officinalis). "Altho" in Greek means "to heal". Marshmallow root has been used since ancient Egyptian times in skincare rituals.
Skin Benefits: Incredibly hydrating, softening and balancing.
Earthwise Beauty has nailed this cleanser. It's great for all skin types, particularly sensitive, inflamed, or acne-prone skin. With its unique blend of natural, vegan ingredients, this cleanser lightly foams and gently removes any debris from the skin's surface without drying it out. The addition of marshmallow root and vegetable glycerin leaves the skin feeling supple.
Use this cleanser morning and night.
Alcohol used to be a popular ingredient in toner formulations because of its ability to cleanse bacteria off the skin. But if you're cleansing properly in your first step, you certainly don't need a toner with alcohol.
A quality toner will add hydration to the skin and balance the pH so your skin can prepare for more products. Look for Rosewater.
Skin Benefits: Anti-inflammatory and hydrating.
This toner does not contain alcohol so that skin won't become dry or irritated. It's formulated with seaweed extract, known for its anti-inflammatory properties, and white tea extract for its antioxidant properties.
The special ingredient in this toner is the rose quartz-infused rosewater. Rosewater is the star, and it has a wildcrafted rose quartz stone inside. Rose quartz is said to have positive effects on our well-being.
Just spritz this toner on your skin after cleansing.
There are thousands of serums that promise you the world in a tiny little bottle. So as a consumer, it's confusing to know what to look for in a serum. But basically, you want to use serums as a daily treatment, so you don't want anything harsh that will irritate or aggravate the skin. Retinol may be effective, but it is a known skin irritant. So instead, look for Sea Buckthorn Berry.
Skin Benefits: An incredible natural antioxidant found in the Himalayan region. It can help soothe and heal acne and scarring and is also effective at boosting the skin's collagen production.
Top Pick: UpCircle Beauty's Coffee Face Serum
This 100% vegan serum brightens, refreshes, and renews tired-looking skin. With ingredients like sea buckthorn (of course); coffee seed oil for evening-out skin tone and brightening, and rosehip oil is known for its exfoliant and antioxidant properties to protect and nourish the skin.
Press 2-3 drops into your skin after toning.
Another crucial step in any ritual is moisturizing. Without it, we leave our skin unprotected and opened to all kinds of damage. Many moisturizers that offer nourishment and protection contain mineral oils or petroleum-based ingredients because of their ability to sit on the skin and protect. But these are terrible for the planet and for our health. Look for Jojoba Seed Oil.
Skin Benefits: Anti-inflammatory, Natural Exfoliant, Nourishing.
As we get older, our skin needs formulas that are designed to nourish, protect, and brighten our complexion. Apart from Jojoba Seed oil, this moisturizer contains neem for hydrating and protecting; Gotu Kola for regeneration and collagen-boosting; Rosewater, which, as you know, is great for inflammation; and a range of other natural ingredients popular in Ayurvedic traditions for centuries.
Use morning and night after serums.
A facial oil should generally be the last step in a ritual. This is because oil can act as a barrier on the skin, stopping anything on top from absorbing. Some facial oils are pretty greasy and can leave an unpleasant residue, generally due to the carrier oils. So it's important to choose an oil with known lightweight ingredients and high concentrations of active ingredients.
See your facial oils as a booster to the rest of your ritual. For a radiant glow, look for Noni.
Skin Benefits: Healing & Rejuvenating
Top Pick: Honua Skincare's 'Ōlena Beauty Oil
This oil is an excellent last step in a ritual. It contains Noni for healing and rejuvenating and other natural ingredients found in Hawaii, like Kukui nut for nourishment, Kamani seed oil for antioxidant protection, and Olena for brightening.
Apply 2-3 drops over your moisturizer to seal-in products and boost the skin's radiance.
If you're using face moisturizer on your eye area, please stop. The eye area is delicate, and the skin is thinner than the face, so it's imperative to use ingredients that can penetrate those more delicate follicles. Using a moisturizer on the eyes can result in milia, hardened lumps of sebum. Not to mention, you won't get the results you're looking for.
For a boost of nutrients and vitamins, look for Andiroba Seed Oil.
Skin Benefits: Antioxidant Protection & Anti-Aging
Top Pick: Earthwise Beauty's Passion Eye Serum
Formulated with unique botanical extracts, many found in and around the Amazon, this eye serum boasts fast-absorbing, hydrating, and firming properties. This product is waterless, so you get the full potency of the ingredients.
Press gently into the eye area.
Our skin is constantly changing and regenerating. Approximately every four weeks, our skin sheds the outermost layer of our epidermis to reveal fresh, renewed skin underneath. Skin specialists recommend exfoliating at least once a week to facilitate the skin's natural shedding process. If we don't exfoliate, the dead skin cells slough off (pronounced "sloff") unevenly, leaving rough patches of dead skin behind. This makes it harder for our skincare to absorb, our makeup doesn't go on as smoothly, and it can leave us with a dull complexion.
There is an extensive range of exfoliants found in nature. Look for Pumpkin Enzymes.
Skin Benefits: Brightening & Antioxidant-rich
This exfoliant goes on like a mask and works in less than 10 minutes. With powerful botanicals like pumpkin to speed up cell regeneration, bilberry extract for tightening and toning, and lemon and orange peels to brighten your complexion.
Use once a week after cleansing.
To complete your ritual, a face mask is in order. As mentioned before, there are thousands on the market, so what should you choose? Something that targets hydration, inflammation, and signs of aging. Our favorite face mask ingredient right now is neem.
Skin Benefit: Hydrating & Anti-Inflammatory
Top Pick: Earthwise Beauty's Catharsis Face Mask
This formula comes as a powder that activates with water. It contains neem for dehydration and inflammation; aloe leaf for soothing; green algae for rejuvenating; and spirulina for anti-aging and protection against free radical damage.
The anti-aging market is the largest in the beauty industry. So it is overwhelming to know which products to choose. But hopefully, this article gave you some ideas on some key ingredients to look for in your anti-aging skincare ritual so that you can age gracefully.
Emma Jade has been a trained esthetician for over 15 years. She is a sustainable skincare writer, educating and building awareness around proper skin health that doesn't cost the earth.
Some of the products promoted in our blog are from our online store. Many others are brands we have researched and found to be great examples of sustainable, ethical, and innovative brands in their field, and we don't profit from mentioning them in our blog. #CollaborationOverCompetition