People constantly evolve, grow, and change—from our hairstyles to the trends we follow and (yup!) our skincare needs. When you’re younger, you might not be as concerned with improving the texture of your skin or minimizing the appearance of dark spots and wrinkles. However, signs of aging become more prominent as time goes on and your skin’s supply of collagen and elastin (the stuff that keeps your skin looking youthful and plump) naturally depletes.
Aging happens—but you can feel confident and beautiful at any age with the right routine to give your skin the support it needs. While the skincare industry seems saturated with beauty products that promise to turn back the clock, there’s no such thing as a wrinkle eraser in a bottle. What you can do, however, is ensure you treat your mature skin the best you can with a skincare routine tailored to you.
While the term mature skin typically refers to skincare for over 50, the reality is there isn’t a specific number that indicates you’re dealing with a mature complexion, because how our skin ages is impacted by many variables including genetics, environmental damage, and how well you take care of your skin.
“I would consider skin “mature” when it shows visible signs of aging like fine lines and wrinkles, dullness, and reduced elasticity,” says Dr. Dendy Engelman, MD, FACMS, FAAD at Shafer Clinic Dermatology in New York City. While these signs show at different ages for different people, unfortunately everyone does experience a change in their complexion at some point or another. “In general, collagen production starts to drop off in our mid-twenties, and by age 30 we’re losing about one percent of collagen per year,” says Dr. Engelman.
Looking for skincare for your mature skin but not sure where to start? Well, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve rounded up our favorite products and some helpful skincare tips to care for mature skin and keep you looking (and feeling) beautiful at every age.
If you want to support your complexion and reduce signs of aging, the first thing you should do is increase hydration. “Hydrated skin is healthy skin, so to improve both appearance and function, it is important to stay hydrated. This is true at any age, but it is especially vital as our skin barrier matures and becomes vulnerable,” says Dr. Engelman.
By restoring much-needed moisture to your skin, you can minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, improve your skin’s texture, and even make your skin appear less dull. “As skin ages and our collagen levels decrease, it becomes harder for our skin to retain moisture and keep that healthy, hydrated look,” says Dr. Engelman. In order to improve the appearance of your complexion, reach for a thicker moisturizer that contains “humectants like hyaluronic acid to help the skin retain moisture,” says Dr. Engelman.
Environmental aggressors (like exposure to the sun’s harmful UV rays and pollution) accelerate the aging process and lead to premature signs of aging, like fine lines, wrinkles, and hyperpigmentation, which is why keeping your skin protected is important at every age. That’s where antioxidants like vitamin C come in.
“Antioxidants are crucial in preventing free radical damage and reversing signs of aging,” says Dr. Engelman. Free radicals are unstable compounds that search for electrons that they can steal to complete themselves. Once they do, it leaves more molecules unstable, which creates a harmful cycle. “This causes a domino effect that weakens the skin barrier and leads to premature aging,” says Dr. Engelman.
In order to prevent free radical damage, reach for an antioxidant serum and be sure to wear sunscreen every single day. “Antioxidants can help prevent visible signs of aging by pairing with free radical scavengers in search of a missing electron, thus neutralizing the damage before it affects your skin,” says Dr. Engelman.
Of all the ingredients in an anti-aging skincare routine, retinol is the holy grail. “Retinoic acid is the gold standard when it comes to anti-aging ingredients,” says Dr. Engelman. Retinol refers to an umbrella of vitamin A derivatives. As we age, our supply of vitamin A naturally depletes, which contributes to signs of aging.
“Retinoic acid (retinol/retinoid) is an extremely effective cell-communicating ingredient that has the ability to connect to almost any skin cell receptor site and tell it to behave like a healthy, younger skin cell,” explains Dr. Engelman. You’ve probably heard about retinol and know it’s an important step in any anti-aging skincare routine, but you might not realize just how incredible this ingredient really is. “When added to your skincare routine, it increases cell turnover, builds collagen, improves discoloration, hydrates skin, reduces acne, and with continued use strengthens the skin barrier,” says Dr. Engelman.
Since mature complexions are more prone to dryness, it’s important to select a cleanser that won’t further strip your skin of moisture. Instead, reach for one with gentle, hydrating ingredients (like an oil-based cleanser) that will wash away dirt and makeup without stressing your skin. We recommend this HUANGJISOO Pure Perfect Cleansing Oil t to gently wash away dirt, makeup, and grime while keeping things soft and hydrated. Bonus: it’s suitable for all skin types, including sensitive skin.
Cellular turnover slows down as we age, which is why exfoliation is crucial if you want to unveil a more even skin tone and brighter complexion. Three times a week, follow up your oil cleanser with a chemical exfoliator, like MURAD’s AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser, to encourage cellular turnover, improve skin texture, and slough off dead skin cells. Instead of using a manual exfoliator which can strip your skin of moisture, a chemical exfoliator made with one or a combo of glycolic acid, lactic acid, and salicylic acid gets the job done without any rubbing or scrubbing.
One common issue in mature skin is discoloration. You can lighten dark spots caused by sun damage with niacinamide, which is the star ingredient in the VERSO SKINCARE Hydration Serum. The formulation is also packed with ceramides, vitamin E, and fatty acids to repair your skin barrier and moisturize. If you want to brighten your complexion and arm your skin with antioxidant protection, what you’ll need is a hefty serving of vitamin C. Not only will a vitamin C serum combat dull skin, but it also improves your skin texture. We especially love DERMA E’s Vitamin C Concentrated Serum, which also contains hyaluronic acid to boost collagen health, plump, and protect against environmental damage.
Give your skin love while you sleep with the KATE SOMERVILLE® Kx Bio-Mimicking Peptides Serum. This highly-activated formulation will improve your skin’s firmness and elasticity, leaving you with smooth and fresh skin.
We've already established the importance of incorporating retinol into your mature skin routine, however, when and how you use it is equally important. If you've never used retinol before, start with an over-the-counter night cream or serum, like SUNDAY RILEY’s A+ High Dose Retinol Serum. Start using it once or twice a week at night to slowly build up a tolerance. Eventually, you’ll be able to use it every evening to promote cellular turnover, reduce the appearance of fine lines and deep wrinkles, encourage collagen production, improve skin texture, and strengthen your skin barrier. Retinol makes your skin more sensitive to the sun, so be sure to wear sunscreen every single day.
While you can visit your dermatologist for a potent, in-office treatment, you can also incorporate an at-home peel into your skincare routine. Gently exfoliate using the MURAD Replenishing Multi-Acid Peel, which contains a potent combination of AHAs and BHAs. AHAs (including glycolic acid, lactic acid, and malic acid) combine to improve skin texture and brightness, while salicylic acid (a potent BHA) removes pore-clogging debris and tranexamic acid soothes and brightens. Use it every other night (alternating between this and retinol) for best results.
The skin around our eye area is thinner and more delicate than the rest of our face, which is why it;s one of the first areas to exhibit signs of aging. If you want to improve the appearance of discoloration and/or wrinkles, reach for the FIRST AID BEAUTY Eye Duty Niacinamide Brightening Cream. A combo of niacinamide, caffeine, and sodium hyaluronate work together to reduce the appearance of fine lines, puffiness, and dark circles by helping to fade hyperpigmentation and gently plump up the skin, leaving you looking refreshed (even if you didn’t get a full eight hours of sleep).
Hydration is an important building block in any skincare routine, however, if you’re dealing with a mature complexion, moisture is especially important. While you should use a thick moisturizer twice daily, you can reach for an even heavier cream during your evening routine. Charlotte’s Magic Cream by CHARLOTTE TILBURY is like a tall drink of water for your skin as it floods your skin with moisture, plumps fine lines and wrinkles, and leaves you with a gorgeous, dewy glow come morning. In the a.m., reach for The Dewy Skin Cream by TATCHA, which serves up a heaping dose of ceramides to reinforce your skin’s protective barrier and lock in moisture. Both moisturizing lotions will restore hydration to dry skin.
A non-negotiable part of every skincare routine? Sunscreen. You should use a broad-spectrum SPF, like the TULA SKINCARE Protect + Glow Daily Sunscreen SPF 30 Gel, every single day to protect your complexion from the sun’s UV rays. It also contains probiotics and wild butterfly ginger root to protect against blue light damage, which accelerates aging and causes inflammation.
The secret to supporting mature skin starts with a skincare routine that focuses on key ingredients. Whether you decide to shop online or at your local drugstore, you can easily find products that can give your complexion the support it needs.
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