Mature skin has unique needs. Here's how to treat it properly and look your best for years to come.
You don't wear the same clothing you did 20 years ago or style your hair the way you did decades ago, so why should your skin care routine be stuck in the past? While a few old favorites might still have a place in your beauty arsenal, don't be afraid to give most of them the boot. Mature skin has unique needs, and it deserves to be treated properly.
As you get older, skin tends to become thinner, duller, and less even. You might also have fine lines, deep wrinkles, or age spots. And of course, dryness is a major issue. "With lower levels of hormones that help keep skin hydrated, older adults, on average, have a need for deeper moisturization," says Tanya Kormeili, M.D., a dermatologist in Santa Monica, California.
The following dermatologist-approved products are designed to help protect and preserve senior skin so you can look your best for years to come. Prices and retailers are listed as examples only, and many products are available at a variety of retailers.
1. Dove Beauty Bar
It’s a classic for a reason. This hydrating non-soap cleanser helps neutralize skin’s pH balance so it can function optimally, says Mona Gohara, M.D., an associate clinical professor of dermatology at Yale School of Medicine and a dermatologist in private practice in Connecticut. It contains moisturizing cream, and it won’t strip your skin of precious oils. Plus, it’s a bargain! ($5, walmart.com)
2. Vaseline Intensive Care Advanced Repair Unscented Lotion
“With age, our skin cannot protect itself as well as it should,” says Joshua Zeichner, M.D., director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. “This leads to microscopic cracks in the outer skin layer with loss of hydration and inflammation.”
The fix: a thick product that locks in moisture. “This lotion can be conveniently spread, yet it contains triple-purified petrolatum, which forms a protective seal to help maintain hydration and allow the skin to heal itself,” Dr. Zeichner says. ($4, target.com)
3. Aveeno Active Naturals Skin Relief Moisture Repair Cream
Another good allover moisturizer, this rich formula comes in particularly handy when the temperature dips. "In winter months, many people experience drier skin, which is compounded by the fact that one's skin produces less oil as you get older," says Nada Elbuluk, M.D., an assistant professor of dermatology at NYU Langone Health.
This cream boasts an oat complex that fights itchiness and inflammation. It also contains ceramides, which are waxy molecules that are naturally found in healthy skin. ($13, walgreens.com)
4. Cetaphil Restoraderm Body Moisturizer
If you have eczema or hypersensitive skin, consider this soothing product your new go-to, Dr. Elbuluk says. Preservative- and fragrance-free, it sports a Seal of Acceptance from the National Eczema Association. ($16, target.com)
5. SkinMedica HA5 Rejuvenating Hydrator
It’s definitely a splurge, but Dr. Gohara thinks it’s worth it. “This serum provides an immediate plumping effect, but it also increases your body’s own production of hyaluronic acid,” she explains. That’s a big deal because this molecule holds onto water—which is key to youthful-looking skin—but it naturally declines with age. “Hyaluronic acid is the reason babies are all cute and pudgy,” she says. ($178, dermstore.com)
6. SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic
Another pricey serum, this one is packed with vitamins C and E, antioxidants that are crucial for fighting off damaging free radicals. Despite the high price tag, this product is a favorite of Dr. Gohara's and other derms because it works so well and a little goes a long way.
If you don’t want to double up on serums, she suggests applying an antioxidant one (like this product) in the morning and a hyaluronic serum (like the one noted above) before bed. ($166, dermstore.com)
7. Aveeno Positively Radiant Daily Facial Moisturizer with Broad Spectrum SPF 30
“I always recommend that all my patients, seniors included, wear broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher every day year-round, regardless of the climate they live in,” says Dr. Elbuluk, who’s also a Skin of Color Society board member. “This product has the added bonus of soy, which can help with evening out skin tone for my patients that are dealing with any skin discoloration.” ($14, amazon.com)
8. Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel-Cream for Extra-Dry Skin
“Using large molecule hyaluronic acid—which absorbs 1,000 times its weight in water—this product delivers extra moisture to mature skin without robbing the bank,” says Maritza I. Perez, M.D., director of cosmetic dermatology at St. Luke’s Roosevelt Medical Center in New York City and a member of the Skin of Color Society. ($17, riteaid.com)
9. La Roche-Posay Anthelios Mineral SPF 50 Tinted Face Sunscreen
“This tinted sunblock is another one of my favorites because it provides great coverage and protection,” Dr. Perez says. Its universal shade blends easily with most skin tones and provides a matte finish. ($34, walgreens.com)
10. EltaMD UV Lotion Broad-Spectrum SPF 30+
This brand is loved by many derms, including Lauren Ploch, M.D., a member of the American Academy of Dermatology. “This UV lotion is great to use on your neck, chest, and arms daily,” she says. ($35, dermstore.com)
11. RoC Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Facial Night Cream
"UV light from the sun damages collagen, leading to lines and wrinkles in the skin," Dr. Zeichner says. While wearing sunscreen daily helps protect your skin, it can't undo past damage. That's where retinol comes in.
“Retinol is the best-studied antiaging ingredient that’s available over the counter,” he explains. “It stimulates collagen production to help strengthen the skin foundation and minimize the appearance of fine lines and crepey skin.” ($17, amazon.com)
12. SkinCeuticals Retinol 1.0 Maximum Strength Refining Night Cream
“My favorite over-the-counter retinols are made by SkinCeuticals,” Dr. Ploch says. This one is the strongest option, which is great for highly damaged skin—though it may be too strong for some people. If your skin is easily irritated or exceptionally dry, consider the version with 0.5 retinol instead. ($76, dermstore.com)
13. Neutrogena Rapid Tone Repair Dark Spot Corrector
Another retinol-based product, this one is aimed at brightening and smoothing out skin that's marred by age spots. "Dark spots often become very noticeable by the time you reach your 60s," Dr. Zeichner says.
This product is also loaded with vitamin C. “Antioxidants like vitamin C are a cornerstone treatment for dark spots because they help reduce skin inflammation and directly interfere with pigment production,” he says. ($23, ulta.com)
14. Olay Professional ProX Intensive Wrinkle Protocol Set
If you’re hoping to reduce wrinkles and improve your skin’s texture dramatically without the help of a doctor, this kit might just fit the bill. It’s been clinically proven to work as well as Renova, a prescription-only product, Dr. Perez says. She suggests applying the Wrinkle Smoothing Cream twice a day and the Deep Wrinkle Treatment at night around the eyes. ($38, amazon.com)
Want more dermatologist recommendations? Check out these top drugstore skin care products for mature skin.
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