How to Determine Your Skin Type After 40


As women mature, it’s common to notice changes in our skin that require adjustments to our skincare approach. Are you over 40 and realizing your complexion doesn’t behave the way it once did? You’re not alone! Read on for a comprehensive guide to identifying your current skin type so you can address new needs and concerns.  

Pinpointing your accurate skin type is the first step toward assembling skincare that truly serves your needs. Because our skin often transforms as we mature, reassessing after 40 enables you to tackle aging considerations. Use this straightforward sequence to conclude whether your complexion is normal, dry, oily, sensitive or mixed.




. Cleanse Your Face 

Use a gentle cleanser and lukewarm water. It’s vital to opt for lukewarm over hot water, which can rob skin of natural hydration and provoke dryness or irritation. Pat delicately with a fresh towel instead of rubbing to avoid stimulating unnecessary inflammation. Allow your fresh face to dry for 10-15 minutes before reviewing. This allows your skin to return to its natural state.

Recommended Gentle Cleansers: 

  • Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser
  • La Roche-Posay Toleriane Hydrating Gentle Cleanser  
  • Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Cleansing Lotion
  • Aveeno Ultra-Calming Foaming Cleanser
  • Simple Kind to Skin Refreshing Wash
CleanserBrandKey FeaturesSkin Type SuitabilityTextureNotable Ingredients
Cetaphil Gentle Skin CleanserCetaphilHydrates and soothes, fragrance-free, non-irritatingAll, especially sensitiveLotionMicellar technology, glycerin
La Roche-Posay Toleriane Hydrating CleanserLa Roche-PosayMaintains skin’s natural pH, hydrates, ceramides, niacinamideNormal to dry, sensitiveCreamyCeramides, niacinamide, glycerin
Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Cleansing LotionNeutrogenaGently cleanses, removes makeup, non-comedogenicAll, including oilyLotionMinimal ingredients for sensitivity
Aveeno Ultra-Calming Foaming CleanserAveenoReduces redness, soothes irritation, fragrance-freeSensitive, prone to rednessFoamingFeverfew, glycerin
Simple Kind to Skin Refreshing WashSimpleVitamin enriched, no artificial perfume or color, dermatologically testedAll, especially sensitiveGelVitamins B5 and E, triple purified water
Expert Tip
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Clare Clarke

Lukewarm water helps prevent stripping moisture. Pat gently without rubbing to avoid inflammation.


. Evaluate Oil Levels

Lightly blot your T-zone (forehead, nose and chin) with a tissue or oil blotting paper. Inspect the result – abundant oil removed signifies an oily complexion. Shine confined to your nose among clean cheeks indicates combination skin. Minimal oil points to normal or dry skin. Remember that oil production fluctuates during the day. If you notice a slick sheen everywhere later on, you likely have entirely oily skin. If it’s restricted to your T-zone, while your cheeks remain shine-free, that denotes combination skin. Tracking when and where oil emerges assists with selecting suitable skincare.

Expert Tip
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Clare Clarke

Make note of timing and location of slick zones to conclude if your skin is wholly oily or mixed. Combination skin concentrates shine in the T-zone alone. 


. Evaluate Texture and Feel 

Normal skin feels balanced, neither too parched nor too slick. It typically owns a supple, smooth surface. 

Dry complexions may display a rougher composition with a coarse or uneven handle. Skin can pinch taut, especially surrounding the eyes, mouth or cheeks, potentially with visible flakes or peeling patches. As collagen wanes with age, aridness arises for many as oil glands produce less sebum, diminishing moisture.  

Oily skin imparts a slick, greasy sensation. It tends to look shiny across the T-zone (forehead, nose and chin) with enlarged, congested pores. Aging impacts oily types too, enabling fine lines and wrinkles to amass more quickly as excess sebum leads to breakouts and inflammation over time.

Expert Tip
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Clare Clarke

Make note if dryness, flaking or tight feeling is generalized or localized. This assists in concluding overall dry or combination skin.


. Inspect Pores Closely 

Minimally discernible pores indicate normal or dry skin types. On the flip side, expanded, clogged pores signal greater oiliness. If you notice a patchwork of pore sizes, with some bigger and some smaller, this flags combination skin. Carefully examine your nose, chin and cheek zones. Visible pores across your nose plus congested pores on your chin and scattered onto both cheeks typically spotlight oily skin. For enhanced magnification, use a lighted, magnifying mirror like the Jerdon Tri-Fold Two Sided Lighted Mirror. This provides detailed texture analysis.

Expert Tip
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Clare Clarke

Look beyond just your nose when assessing pores for fuller representation of pore health everywhere on your face. 


. Analyze Wrinkling and Elasticity 

When reviewing your skin, it’s useful to separate standard aging indicators from inherent skin type qualities. Aging signs encompass wrinkling, fine lines and age spots – all inevitable results of declining collagen, elastin and cell turnover over time. 

Alternatively, skin type markers constitute behaviors and needs dictated by your complexion. These entail oiliness, sensitivity, breakout tendency and hydration demands. Genetics, hormones and environment inform these trait, which govern suitable products and routines.

If your skin skews dry and more creases are surfacing, this could signal aging, moisture-deprived skin. Here, you’d want to blend anti-aging actives like retinol and hyaluronic acid with nourishing, emollient elements to hydrate. 

If your skin is oily and you note enlarged pores and regular breakouts, those imply an innately oily skin type rather than maturity. In that case, reach for oil-balancing and pore-clearing ingredients like salicylic acid or niacinamide instead of anti-aging items. 

Recognizing the variance between run-of-the-mill aging indicators and ingrained skin qualities assists with building regimens addressing your unique needs and concerns.

Expert Tip
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Clare Clarke

Contrast wrinkling on areas formerly oilier like your forehead and nose compared to typically drier cheeks for clues on skin changes over time. 


. Note Sensitivity and Reactivity  

Frequent flare-ups, redness and reactions to products often indicate sensitive skin. This grows more prevalent with age as lipid barriers deplete, compromising protection from irritants. For example, if a new serum stings and reddens your skin after several days of use, that’s likely sensitivity arising. Keeping an app like Skincare Tracker helps you cross-reference product ingredients and reactions over time. Common sensitizers involve fragrances, dyes, sulfates and certain alcohols. 

You may also pinpoint uneven tone or hyperpigmentation. Tackle these with brightening agents like vitamin C, niacinamide and azelaic acid. Don’t forget daily sun defense, as UV exposure can worsen these woes. For personalized guidance on your distinct sensitivities, check in with a dermatologist. Always patch test new products and phase them in slowly when using irritated skin.  

Expert Tip
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Clare Clarke

Document products used and any reactions in a skincare diary to identify specific ingredients triggering sensitivity.


. Treat Uneven Tone and Dark Spots   

Lackluster skin lacking its signature radiance plus dark spots, uneven areas or sallowness indicate mature skin grievances like sun damage. Amend your regimen accordingly with targeted treatments.

Expert Tip
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Clare Clarke

Compare pigmentation patterns on your face, chest and hands to observe where age spots and solar injury accumulated first.


. Consult Your Dermatologist  

Still uncertain what skin type aligns with your current skin status? Book time with your dermatologist for their knowledgeable perspective. As skin experts, they can examine your skin more thoroughly, accurately diagnose your classifications and recommend personalized solutions aligned with your needs. 

It’s especially prudent to request professional advise on skin condition changes after 40, as maturing introduces intricate transformations best navigated with expert guidance. Inquire about topics like: “How might my skin type evolve with age?”, “What precise products do you suggest for my skin category presently?” and “What are signs I should reassess my skincare approach?”

Remember your dermatologist aims to assist your skin health amid the fluctuations that accompany aging. Don’t delay seeking their wisdom to ensure your skin thrives later in life!  

Expert Tip
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Clare Clarke

Present your dermatologist pictures of breakouts over time and products attempted plus effects for helpful background on your skin’s journey.

Expert Q&A

10 Responses

    1. Shifting hormones plus declining lipid synthesis as we advance in years indicate your skin likely won’t behave identical to its younger self. More prevalent dryness, sensitivity and breakouts emerge thanks to these internal modifications.

    1. Yes, a precise, localized regimen works best! Deploy oil-absorbing masks or mattifiers to manage shine in oilier t-zone areas. Quench cheeks using rich creams with hydrators like hyaluronic acid and ceramides without risking congestion.

    1. Assess seasonally, around 3-4 times yearly. Skin can shift alongside external climate and environment changes. Also scrutinize closely with major hormonal influences like perimenopause.

    1. Absolutely – research shows genetics contribute mightily to variables like oil output, collagen breakdown caliber and pace of visible aging. Contrast your skin beside close female family members to predict what expect.

    1. As skin loses suppleness and moisture over time, target ingredients like peptides, retinoids, AHAs, niacinamide and vitamin C to rejuvenate tone, texture, firmness and glow. Diligent sun defense remains non-negotiable too!

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  • Use a magnifying mirror occasionally to examine your pores, skin texture, and pigmentation patterns closely. The magnification allows you to notice changes precisely.
  • Keep a diary of any skin reactions to products. Note ingredients and irritants so you can pinpoint sensitivities.
  • Compare oiliness, flaking, and wrinkling across different areas of your face to identify combination skin or areas of greater concern.
  • Find clues by looking at older female relatives to see what aging issues may lie ahead based on genetics.
  • Adjust your skincare routine as you notice your skin changing with age or the environment. Seasonal modifications are often needed.
  • Judge your skin type based only on how it used to look in your youth. Focus on its current mature state.
  • Neglect sun protection if you have increased sensitivity and dark spots. Greater precaution is needed as skin ages.
  • Overly strip the skin moisture barrier with harsh foaming cleansers or products loaded with alcohol. This can encourage oiliness and irritation.
  • Determine your skin type after recently using at-home peels or laser treatments. Wait until skin normalized before properly assessing again.


  • Don’t rely on past knowledge: What worked for your skin at 25 likely won’t suffice at 45. Resist falling back on old staples without reconfirming needs – your skin type likely shifted over time. Reevaluate frequently as you mature.
  • Don’t confuse signs of aging for skin type signals: Separate standard aging traits like wrinkles and spots from skin type markers that dictate product choices like oiliness, sensitivity and breakouts. Address both aging and skin type needs in your regimen.
  • Skin can fluctuate – recheck seasonally: Your skin type may oscillate a bit depending on climate, life stages and other factors. Reassess each new season to keep your routine aligned with your skin’s current condition.
  • Menopause can change skin behavior: Plummeting estrogen during perimenopause and menopause often profoundly alters skin balance, moisture, sensitivity and oil regulation. Closely monitor changes here with consideration to hormonal influence.
  • Don’t assume products will perform the same: If longtime products suddenly start stinging or breakouts emerge with no explanation, your skin likely changed. Old favorites may need to be swapped out for formulas better suited to your new skin type.
  • Patience is key with skin changes: Give skin time to settle into its new normal before concluding you have a new type. Temporary sensitivity, dry skin after travel and other fleeting bumps differ from an overall change. Assess over weeks, not days.

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The content of this article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, examination, diagnosis, or treatment. You should always contact your doctor or other qualified healthcare professional before starting, changing, or stopping any kind of health treatment.

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