I have been blessed my whole life with the gift of “can I see your ID please, Miss?” skin. (All credit goes to my mom and grandmother for that one.) But now for the first time, I am grappling with — cue the horror movie music — aging skin.

I know I’m fortunate that it took until my 40s to start grappling with issues like dryer skin and crows feet, so I can’t complain. Much. Also, inevitably the effects of the sun, pollution, crappy food (guilty), and childrearing on no sleep takes its toll.

But hey, that’s life! I’m good with it.

Skincare tips for aging 40-something skin: Liz Gumbinner of Cool Mom Picks

I do admit it’s a little weird to start browsing the beauty aisle for skincare products marked “anti-aging” instead of “for normal skin” or “for occasional breakouts.” So I’ve gotten a little obsessive, talking with all kinds of experts and aestheticians about the best products and tips to help me keep my skin in good shape.

Even if I don’t get carded much anymore, ha.

And I’m really happy to introduce you to another great product, thanks to the sponsor of this post, Esthechoc. You guys…It’s beauty chocolate. I’m not even kidding.

Like, real, delicious chocolate. That you eat. For your skin.

Esthechoc is the first beauty chocolate: packed with powerful antioxidants that deliver proven skin benefits with less calories | sponsor

Esthechoc is packed with powerful antioxidants that have scientifically proven impact on the metabolism of aging skin and it’s now part of my routine. More on that later. (Plus a great offer for our readers!)

So in addition to trying out a daily dose of chocolate chocolate (I know, weep for me), here’s what else I’ve doing to make the admittedly tough adjustment to caring for more…mature skin.


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1. Get on the retinoid train

Tips for aging skin: Use a non-prescription retinol product every othe rnight, like Cosmedix Serum 16 which is gentle but works wonders
I’ve never really tried Retinol products because it sounds scary and prescription-y to me. So I kind of stumbled into it accidentally and I’m sold.

My genius facial guru recently recommended the amazing Cosmedix Serum 16 and….I love it.

I use it every other night now after washing, and before moisturizing and I absolutely see the difference in my skin.

I’ve found it to be really hydrating and smoothing, leaving my skin tone looking more even without irritation. They claim it take a couple of months or so to see results because evidently non-prescription creams take some time to convert into retinoic acid. But my skin feels great, and it’s only been a few weeks.

2. Sunscreen. Daily. No exceptions. Also, hats.

I’m going to skip the lecture and say this instead: If you ever get the chance, sit down at one of those cosmetic counters with that machine that will show you the sun damage to your skin. Your life (and gorgeous teenage complexion) will flash before your eyes and you will never ever “sunbathe” again.

Also, I will never sit down at one of those machines again. Holy moly.

So, wear hats, and wear sunscreen. Better late than never.

Anti-aging sun tips: You need a big, floppy wide-brimmed hat! This one from Nordstrom

Floppy straw hat: Just $22 from Nordstrom. 

3. More moisture! More moisture!

You know that feeling when a product just doesn’t seem to work anymore? That was happening with my moisturizers big time because aging skin is drying skin. (Sniff.)

Anti-aging skincare tips: Switch to a moisturizer with antioxidants and other anti-aging ingredients like Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair

So I started using the Cosmedix moisturizer called Phytoharmony, and I love the results! But…it’s definitely spendy. And I’m only using it for the winter because it doesn’t have SPF (see #2) — but that’s okay because my beloved Delilah Time Frame Foundation does have SPF 20.

For a more affordable moisturizing option that gets high marks from beauty editors everywhere, I’d recommend Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Moisturizer with SPF which hydrates and protects nicely and is reported to reduce those fine lines.

Just know it has Retinol SA in it so, ease in, and be sure your skin tolerates it.

Whatever you use, you want to look for ingredients like peptides to encourage collagen production; phytohormones and phytoestrogens which use plant-based molecules to provide the naturally positive effects of estrogen; ceramides which help retain moisture and keep the skin pump;  and antioxidants like resveratrol, lycopene, Vitamin E, lipoic acid, glutathione, or niacinamide which are considered THE ultimate secret weapon to help prevent premature aging. They help defend skin from environmental stress and inflammation.

4. Nourish from the inside

So let’s talk about Esthechoc because I know you’re all, age-defying chocolate…WHAT THE WHAT?

So let me start by saying I get the skepticism. I felt the same way until I really started to investigate it. Turns out it’s been highly lauded by all kinds of beauty experts, and on Huffington Post, it was even named one of the top anti-aging products to prepare you for a TV appearance.

Or you know, your smartphone holiday videos.

Aging skincare tips: Esthechoc is a beauty chocolate packed with powerful antioxidants for proven results. And it's chocolate! | sponsor

It took scientists from Cambridge University ten entire years to develop it — just in time for my own skin to need it, ha. And the result is pretty awesome.

Each piece of Esthechoc contains 72.6% dark, delicious chocolate, plus cacao polyphenols to protect the skin against oxidative damage — and then, astaxanthin, which is a super powerful antioxidant.

Antioxidants are great for your skin. You can get them from pecans, kidney beans, wild blueberries, red and purple grapes, plums, red berries, kale broccoli…and best of all, dark chocolate.  And as you can imagine, ingesting them is more powerful than just applying them topically.

There’s even a JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) report on Web MD about the proven benefits of the antioxidants in dark chocolate to combat free radicals in your body before they can damage your skin’s DNA and speed up signs of aging.

How the antioxidants in dark chocolate help with aging skin

So think of Esthechoc as super-powered antioxidant dark chocolate that’s been proven to improve skin biomarkers in a statistically significant way.

One 7.5g piece contains the same amount of astaxanthin — that’s one of the most powerful antioxidants anywhere — as 300g of wild salmon. I’m not saying to skip salmon. But you know, all things being equal, yadda yadda yadda…chocolate.

You can read the science behind it for more details.

PS Because I know you’ll ask, one piece has 38 calories and 2g sugar.

Special Offer:

Last minute holiday gift: Esthechoc is chocolate...that's also proven to help anti-aging skin. And it's delicious! | sponsor

If you want to treat yourself or someone else this holiday, you can now buy one box of Esthechoc and get one free through this link when you use promo code ACOOLMOM — also good on Amazon purchases through Cambridge Chocolate Technologies. Be sure to add 2 boxes to cart, and the 2nd will be free.

Bonus: The first 50 Cool Mom Picks readers to order will automatically receive a free gift of ReChoc, which is a $25 value.

5. Even MORE moisture

For the winter months, the best beauty tip I ever got came from our resident beauty pro, Kristyn Rudnet, whose 3 easy winter skincare tips includes adding a few drops of serum to your moisturizing lotion.

She recommended the Mario Badescu Hydrating Serum which nourishes, protects and hydrates. But I’ve been using the luxurious Olie Biologique Huile Claire Calming Oil which I received in a gift bag somewhere and totally forgot about — until I remembered Kristyn’s post.

Anti-aging skincare tips: Olie Biologique calming face oil is absolutely amazing for adding more moisture, especially in the winter

I cracked it open, and started adding a drop to my moisturizer when my skin was really battling dryness, and she’s right! Huge difference.

While it’s for all kinds of skins, for those of us with forty-something issues, it’s got organic Camelia oil which naturally promotes collagen production, organic Marula oil which reportedly helps reverse signs of aging, and natural Vitamin E to neutralize free radicals. Plus it smells delicious.

Yes it’s spendy. But one bottle lasts pretty much forever.

6. Undereye cream. 

Great tips for aging skin: Use a hydrating undereye serum like this one from Tatcha

Believe it or not, I’m a pretty low-maintenance skincare gal so one more thing to do always feel like a lot to me. I’ve tried a few products and haven’t yet found one I can swear by, TBH. But two friends have recently recommended Tatcha Luminous Deep Hydration Firming Eye Serum which gets a kick from the caffeine in green tea, plus it gets great reviews on Sephora, so I’m trying it next.

I also like that it’s fast-absorbing because most under eye creams really are greasy and settle into fine lines, and we can’t be having that.

If you need something for more coverage than prevention, I’d also check out IT Cosmetics Bye-Bye Under Eye Illumination Anti-Aging Waterproof Concealer. Like, way to get all the hot keywords into one product, It Cosmetics! And yay, it’s only $24.

7. More sleep.


I know, right?

But truly, I see a major difference now in my skin when I’ve gotten 8 hours of sleep, versus when I binged an extra two episodes of the latest Netflix series until 1 AM.

Hey, old habits die hard. But then, looking fresher in the morning is pretty much worth the trade-off.


Esthechoc: Antioxidant packed beauty chocolates. Really! | sponsor

Thanks so much to our sponsor Esthechoc for helping us look more youthful while eating chocolate. OH THE PAIN OF IT ALL. If you want to treat yourself or someone else this holiday, for a limited time you can buy one box of Esthechoc and get one free through this link when you use promo code ACOOLMOM — also good on Amazon purchases through Cambridge Chocolate Technologies! Just add 2 to your cart and the 2nd is free.

PLUS The first 50 Cool Mom Picks readers to order will automatically receive a free gift of ReChoc, a $25 value!

Note: I am not a dermatologist or scientist. All opinions here about products are my own based on research and personal use. You can find scientific support for Esthechoc claims and proven effects on their website. Data nerds like me will be fascinated!