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  • Writer's pictureAnjana Rajbhandary

I'm 40, and here are my top 10 skincare must-haves

Updated: Nov 13, 2023


Skincare has been a constant in my life for decades, and as I continue to learn more about ingredients and products and how they work on my skin, I have learned to make more informed decisions on picking one that works for me.


I understand many people might not have the same amount of time or interest to invest in a skincare routine like me, but this is what I use because I genuinely enjoy the experience of applying serums, creams, and lotions. After all, they feel like magical potions, and I find it relaxing, too. My skin is naturally oily, but I have always preferred to use products for dry skin as it makes it feel more hydrated and moisturized. That being said, it's also crucial to choose nutrition-rich food and stay active to keep yourself healthy on the inside because it affects how you look on the outside. The focus should be on healthy aging and not trying to reject the changes that come with time.


(I love retinoids, but I'm not including one here as my favorite is 0.05% tretinoin, which you can get with a prescription from your dermatologist.)


Here are my top 10 skincare must-haves.


I recommend this cleanser to all my friends as it can get rid of dirt, grime, sweat, and makeup easily without your skin feeling dry afterward. It doesn't strip moisture from your skin and, despite being an oil cleanser, doesn't feel greasy at all. Plus, it has the goodness of hyaluronic acid, ceramides, squalene, and triglycerides for healthy skin.


I love exfoliating my skin with Exfolikate because it removes dead skin and gives me a smoother texture, so serums and moisturizers are absorbed better and work more effectively. It's like a mini facial because it has lactic acid (alpha hydroxy acid) and salicylic acid ( beta hydroxy acid) to chemically exfoliate without irritation to reveal glowing skin.


I discovered this filler-in-a-bottle serum and was skeptical, but I tried it and LOVE it. It has New Cellular Encapsulated Factors (NCEF), a blend of 50 ingredients like vitamins, coenzymes, antioxidants, and more that benefit your skin. Within a month of using this, my skin looked clearer, brighter, and smoother, so it's definitely one of my forever serums.

Vitamin C is one the first serums I added to my routine about a decade ago for its brightening benefits, and it also helps protect against sun damage when used with sunscreen. I chose TruSkin because it has great reviews and works well for my skin without irritating it. I also love that it's inexpensive and works very well to even out my skin tone.


Growth factors in skincare haven’t gained as much popularity as they should. They are polypeptides that rejuvenate and repair skin by reducing photoaging signs and promoting fibroblasts that increase collagen production. One of the best is this luxurious serum that supports skin health by fading fine lines and reducing sagging. It's not cheap but totally worth it.


The first time I tried Good Genes, my skin looked brighter and smoother within minutes, and I knew I would always stay faithful to it. I prefer lactic acid as it's less irritating than glycolic acid, and this serum gently exfoliates, reduces dark spots over time, and gives you an even complexion. It's definitely worth the hype.


I can't remember how long I have used this CeraVe moisturizer with SPF because my skin loves it. I use it 365 days a year as it hydrates, has three ceramides to keep my skin barrier strong, and SPF protects against UVA/UVB rays. It's non-greasy, works great under makeup, is affordable and dermatologist-tested. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends it, and I am never without it.


Aging can lead to skin volume loss because, with time, "the skin cells of the epidermis grow thinner" (via UCLA Health). Though we can't reverse it, we can increase collagen production and repair damaged elasticity; retinoids are great. Still, if your skin is too sensitive, bakuchiol is a great natural alternative that's less irritating, and this Regelica cream has it. In addition, it has seven seaweed extracts to hydrate, niacinamide to brighten, and five ceramides to protect the skin barrier.


If I could take only one skincare product to a deserted island, it would absolutely be sunscreen. After testing tons of sunscreens- my current favorite is this mineral sunscreen with vegan collagen and watermelon extract (Vitamin C, amino acids, and antioxidants) that keeps my skin well-hydrated and protected. I always carry this in my purse to use on my hands after washing them.

Red light therapy is an excellent treatment to reduce inflammation and stimulate collagen production to help fade fine lines, and this DDG LED Mask helps with it in the comfort of your own home. While it also has the option for blue lights for acne, I am a loyal fan of the red light therapy every day for only three minutes after washing my face. Over the last few months, my skin looks healthier and "fuller" with consistent use.

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