The Best Skincare Products for Over 50

Updated 09/01/19
Over-50 Skincare Routine
Ann-Sophie Fjelloe-Jensen/Stocksy

Almost every time we enter a new decade, we have to switch up our skincare routines, and that definitely holds true for our 50s. Our hormones (or in this case, lack thereof) can introduce all kinds of new changes, so it's important to find the best skincare products for mature skin and come up with a new routine as soon as possible.

If you’re in your 50s, you likely know all about the ways in which a lack of estrogen can have effects on the appearance of your face and neck. “With the sharp decline of estrogen that accompanies menopause, our skin loses its resilience and youthful appearance,” Jennifer Herrmann, MD, FAAD, a Beverly Hills dermatologist, says. “Estrogen keeps the skin barrier robust, holds in moisture, and promotes healthy collagen synthesis. Without it, skin dries and becomes more easily irritated. Collagen synthesis and cell turnover also stall, which makes skin look dull and tired.”

As skin changes, so should our skincare routines to make use of products that foster hydrated, calm, and bright skin. Here, Herrmann describes the best skincare products for people over 50, along with which products and habits should be tossed or kept. She also details how to do this skincare routine every morning and night.

Ingredients to Use

Moisturizing agents: Hydration is key for those over 50. Look out for moisturizers that "contain ceramides and oils will help replenish the skin’s natural lipid barrier,” Herrmann says.

Growth factors: These are substances made by skin cells that keep your skin healthy. In skin care, they can come from human cells (grown in a lab) or even plants. “This helps target collagen synthesis to thicken skin and diminish lines,” she notes. You'll find a variety of names for them on a label, including TGF-B, HGF, and PDGF-AA.

Retinol or retinoids: Reach for a retinol (over-the-counter) or retinoid (prescription only) to turn over dull skin, and to help increase collagen production.“Because these can be drying, I typically recommend patients start with a retinol or micronized retinoid to decrease the possibility of irritation," Herrmann says.

DNA repair enzymes: By the time you hit 50, you've accumulated several decades of DNA damage, and your native reparative enzymes have declined. “By adding topical enzymes back into the skin, repair happens," Herrmann says. "This is important because unchecked damage accumulates, and in addition to aging skin, it can lead to pre-cancers and skin cancers.”

Ingredients to Avoid

Harsh exfoliants and gritty masks: These may have worked when you were fighting breakouts and oily skin, but in your 50s, it's best to skip the harsh exfoliants. “These strip too much oil from the skin and exacerbate dryness,” Herrmann says.

Lotions: According to Herrmann, many lotions can contain alcohol, a very drying ingredient for your skin. "Opt for creams or ointments that moisturize with a higher oil content."

Elements to Avoid

Unprotected sun exposure: It's never OK to skip the sunscreen when you're spending time outdoors. "Damage is cumulative, so it’s still important to protect the skin from UV rays,” Herrmann says.

Excess wind or cold exposure: Because both cold and wind can dry out the skin, causing redness and irritation more easily in your 50s, Herrmann advises avoiding them as often as possible.

Your Morning Routine

First things first; Cleanse with a gentle cleanser. Herrmann recommends EltaMD Foaming Facial Cleanser or Neutrogena Gentle Facial Wash. “Next, apply a growth factor serum-like DNA EGF Regeneration Serum, which contains skin-specific growth factors to target collagen synthesis and mitigate fine lines," she says.

After your serum, apply a cream-based moisturizer, like Cerave Moisturizing Cream, which has ceramides to help restore a healthy skin barrier. If you want to splurge a little bit, try Kate Somerville’s Goat Milk Moisturizing Cream. “Milk proteins soothe irritated, dry skin, while jojoba, avocado, grape seed oil, and vitamin E add natural oils for maximum moisture," Herrmann says. After, apply a reparative sunscreen, like DNA EGF Sheer Defense.

EltaMD Foaming Facial Cleanser, 7 Fluid Ounce
EltaMD Foaming Facial Cleanser $26
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DNA Regeneration Serum
DNA Regeneration Serum $145
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CeraVe Moisturizers, Moisturizing Cream, 16 Ounce
CeraVe Moisturizing Cream $14
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Kate Somerville Goat Milk Moisturizing Cream 1.7 oz/ 50 mL
Kate Somerville Goat Milk Moisturizing Cream $65
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DNA Renewal Defense SPF 50+
DNA Renewal Defense SPF 50+ $75
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Your Nighttime Routine

Cleanse with the same morning cleanser, or if you need some exfoliation, try a cleanser with a light acid to peel away dead skin cells and brighten skin. Herrmann recommends Glytone’s Gentle Gel Cleanser. Next, apply the same growth factor serum. "If the skin isn’t overly dry, swap out the growth factor for a retinoid once or twice per week. The gentlest option for drier skin is Renova," Hermann says.

If you have pigmentation, you can add in a brightening option, like SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic. "Its stabilized vitamin C helps lighten sun spots and brown patches," Herrmann says. Finally, apply a reparative enzyme, like DNA EGF Night Renewal. It contains DNA Repair Enzymes and intense moisture for overnight hydration.

Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Daily Cleansert
Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Daily Cleansert $24
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Glytone Mild Gel Cleanser $33
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Platinum Skincare REtinol Molecular Serum $62
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Skinceuticals C E Ferulic 1 Fluid Ounce
SkinCeuticals Skinceuticals C E Ferulic $166
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DNA Night Renewal $130
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