In your 40s
"Hormones are playing havoc with me." The roller coaster of fluctuating hormones can lead to breakouts and then, when estrogen levels begin to drop, dryness. Fine lines begin to deepen, hyperpigmentation increases, and your skin is getting noticeably thinner and less even in texture. You might see some sagging along your jawline—the result of the loss of elasticity and of some underlying fat.
"I miss my old resilience!" At night, step up to Renova, the most moisturizing retinoid product, or if you're prone to breakouts, try a retinoid like Avita along with an oil-free moisturizer; use it on your neck and chest, too. You should be alternating between alpha hydroxy acids and lighteners to treat hyperpigmentation; if you're using hydroquinone, you might find the need to move up to a higher concentration (4 percent instead of 2 percent, prescription strength instead of OTC). "I recommend an eye cream if the thin skin around your eyes is becoming more sensitive and irritated by your regular moisturizer," says Waldorf. Consider a moisturizer with anti-inflammatory ingredients like polyphenol and grapeseed extracts as well as other ingredients that have been shown to improve skin elasticity and resilience—like coenzyme Q10, copper peptides, DMAE, and alpha lipoic acid. If you're not seeing satisfying results from topicals, "it's a good time for laser treatments—the Vbeam to zap broken capillaries and give you a little bit of a collagen boost, the diode to eliminate large brown spots," says Bank.
"Eating well is the best revenge." "A diet high in omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants can do more to help maintain radiance than a bagful of products," says dermatologist Nicholas Perricone, MD, who explains that the omega-3 fatty acids found in wild Alaskan salmon, avocado, flaxseeds, and spinach reduce the body's production of inflammatory compounds.