Ageing in your forties and what you can do about it

Life begins at 40 they say or 40 is the new 30. Living in the 21st century is a blessing if you want to maintain a youthful appearance because you have so many options to prevent ageing and restore a youthful appearance.

As we enter into and move through our forties the signs of ageing can be accelerated. In these years, there are changes in the skin, muscle and fat pads and although you will only see effects on the skin, ageing is also happening at a deeper level.

Even when people have looked after their skin and minimised wrinkles, changes in the fat and muscle placement can contribute to the skin sagging. The midface and the under eye areas are the most noticeable areas on the face to age in our 40s. Towards the late 40s ageing on the lower part of the face including the jowls and neck area can also be noticeable.

In order to rejuvenate the face, we need to begin looking at the changes in the upper, middle and lower thirds of the face.

Let’s look a bit closer!

To understand how our face ages in our 40s, let’s look at the structure of the skin at a cellular level and consider the changes that occur.

The layers of the skin

Epidermis – this is the outer layer of the skin.

Dermis – the middle layer that contains the tough connective tissue, hair follicles and sweat glands. Fibroblasts are also here and are very important when we consider how the skin ages

Hypodermis – the deeper subcutaneous tissue made of fat and connective tissue.

From the age of 28 (often younger) the fibroblasts in the dermis that produce collagen are in decline meaning there are fewer of them producing less, and often, poorer quality collagen bundles.   These fibroblasts also produce elastin fibres that provide the skin with firmness and suppleness. By the time we have reached our 40s these changes are very visible.

Environmental factors such as smoking, sun and stress massively impact on the quality of both collagen and elastin fibres, thus contributing to premature ageing.   If you have smoked but managed to avoid premature ageing, you will likely see an acceleration of ageing at this stage.

It is a fact that the cells in the skin will perform less well as we age. If you have looked after your skin and your health in your 20s and 30s you will have encouraged optimum skin cell performance. This will have delayed the onset of the appearance of ageing but it will not have stopped ageing as such.

As you move into your forties it is not too uncommon to consider a more aggressive form of anti-ageing treatment to give a better-rejuvenated appearance.

How much you have aged is largely down to genetics, lifestyle and the type of anti-ageing care you have had in your 20s and 30s.

When your skin has less collagen and elastin fibres it looks dull, tired, it produces more wrinkles and loses its firmness and suppleness; often when we look in the mirror we can begin to pull up the skin to the place it was in our youth. We all do it!

When designing treatments we have to consider volume restoration, skin improvements and wrinkle reduction. Consideration is also given to the jowls, neck and décolletage as this area is a common concern for people in their 40s.


What can you do to delay ageing and reduce the visible signs of ageing?


  1. Stop smoking if you do. It is never too late to stop smoking, yes, the skin will have a lot of damage from the effects at this stage but by stopping you encourage blood flow to the periphery of the skin, increasing oxygen and nutrients reaching the cells. The years of pursing of lips around a cigarette or e-cig also creates overactivity of the lip muscles and increases wrinkle formation around the lips known as peri-oral lines. If you are investing in rejuvenation treatments, smoking will hinder the result that you are able to achieve.


  1. Reduce sun exposure and wear a minimum of 30 SPF even in the winter. The sun on the skin produces free radicals that destroy cells. When cells are destroyed changes in that tissue occur. Melanocytes are stimulated (this is what creates tanning of the skin). Any colour change in the skin is a sign of skin damage. You will see these unsightly pigmentation patches that are signs of damage incurred in your teens and twenties. These unsightly patches do make the skin look older than it is.


  1. Reduce stress in your life as much as you can and focus on mental wellbeing, good nutrition and exercise which release endorphins, the happy hormones. Stress is always underestimated when we think of ageing but it can really play a big part in premature ageing.


  1. Stimulate the skin to increase cell turnover. Remember what is happening to the fibroblasts that produce less collagen and elastin; we need to focus on stimulating these fibroblasts and improve the skin cell function. Laser treatments and skin peels are able to target these cells to improve skin cell turnover. As well as treatments carried out at a skin care clinic, you need to have an anti-ageing skin care programme to keep the skin fresh and receptive to the anti-ageing ingredients in your skin care regime.


  1. A more intensive repair and anti-ageing programme such as ZO prescription care or Obagi prescription care work wonders on the skin condition and appearance. These products work on the skin cells at a deeper level and actually train them to perform better. The results of these products are transformational on the skin. Strong, healthy skin creates a canvas that supports injectable treatments.


  1. Your skin will develop wrinkles in your 30s. There are 2 types, dynamic wrinkles that are present upon muscle contraction and static wrinkles that are present in the skin at rest. In our 40s most people have established wrinkles in the common areas such as frown, forehead and crows feet around the eyes.

Toxin injections work on dynamic wrinkles, and by having these wrinkles treated regularly you are reducing the onset of static wrinkles. We can’t really say that toxin treatments eliminate static wrinkles, but injecting toxin to reduce movement does have a surprising effect on the reduction of these wrinkles. In your 30s we do see that regular injections enhance this effect of static wrinkle reduction.  People who have had regular toxin injections can look wrinkle-free in the upper part of the face in their 40s.


  1. Changes to the mid and lower parts of the face can be starting and this is where individuals’ anatomy, genetics, lifestyle and skin care can play a role in how much these parts age or not.


Changes in the fat pads in the cheeks can give the appearance of ageing and can also contribute to nose to mouth lines. The lips and tissue around the lips could be ageing and this is more particularly more noticeable in smokers. We are able to place dermal filler in the areas where volume is required. Placing dermal filler in the midface restores the changes created from a shift and reduction of the fat pads and acts as a framework for dermal fillers to be placed on the lower third of the face.


If you want to restore a more youthful appearance, start with a consultation with an experienced aesthetic practitioner. Understand what is going on with the different aspects of your face. Be knowledgeable about the treatment benefits and risks and develop a plan for both the short and long term.

Love your skin, enjoy your skin, respect your skin and intervene to restore and rejuvenate and you will move towards your 50s with confidence in knowing you are doing all you can.