How does skin change after 40? This is a common question, though not that relevant. Indeed, turning 40 is, especially for women, a dreaded "turning point" that leads us to check our skin more often in assess wrinkles, loss of firmness and elasticity. Nonetheless, ageing signs do not show at the same age in everyone, nor do they show to the same extent. A lot depends on the environment we live in, our habits and lifestyles.
Ageing signs - not just a question of age
Biological and exposome-induced ageing
In general, at the age of 40, wrinkles start to show more, especially in the areas of the face where skin is thinner, like around the eyes and lips and on the forehead (expression lines), as well as the nasolabial folds (the wrinkles that form on the sides of the nose). The skin of the face shows a loss of firmness and elasticity and appears less radiant and with a rougher surface. These ageing signs are due to genetics to a minor extent. As a matter of fact, skin ageing research has shown that the impact of biological ageing in causing wrinkles and skin sagging is around 10%, while the remaining 90% is due to to external factors and individual behaviour, which collectively make up what is defined as the "skin exposome".
How to address environmental and behavioural factors
We need to bear in mind that the ageing process is slow and gradual, yet it can greatly speed up under the influence off the elements that make up the skin exposome: environmental factors, such as sunlight and pollution, and behavioural factors, such as smoking, lack of sleep, nutrition and stress. The good news is that we can change how the exposome impact on our skin, thus delaying and countering ageing signs. Good examples of how we can diminish damage by the exposome are making sure we protect from the sun to reduce its harmful effects, quitting smoking, getting enough sleep, following a balanced diet, reducing stress and, especially, taking good care of our skin, both from the outside and from the inside. Proper skin care is certainly achieved by using state-of-the-art-technology cosmetic products, yet a lot can be done from the inside as well by taking food supplements.