A Dermatologist Shares the Over-50 Skincare Routine That Helps Defy Time

Updated 04/29/19
Over-50 Skincare Routine
Ann-Sophie Fjelloe-Jensen/Stocksy

Pop quiz: Name the hormone that’s often attributed to women and is essential to soft and smooth skin. If you answered “estrogen,” you’re correct—and we’re impressed because this hormone isn’t necessarily known for its attributes toward an impeccable skin tone.

But then again, if you’re in your 50s, then you likely know all about the ways in which a lack of estrogen can have negative 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.”

While any woman in her fifth decade has a fair share of wisdom, which is why she probably aced that aforementioned test, it would be understandable if her medicine cabinet reflected the needs of the past. As skin changes, so should our skincare routines, and someone at this age should consider restocking their shelves with products that foster hydrated, calm, and bright skin. Obviously, since these are qualities that all women want, we asked Herrmann to elaborate on which products, in particular, will deliver those results to women in their 50s.

Below, Herrmann describes which items should be used regularly, and which products and habits should be tossed or reeled in. She also details how to apply this skincare routine every morning and night, so that your regimen meets all of your present needs. Read on to get Herrmann’s tips, and you’ll be ready for any test your skin poses in this decade.

Which ingredients should you buy?

Moisturizing agents: “Ones that contain ceramides and oils will help replenish the skin’s natural lipid barrier,” Herrmann says.

Growth factors: “This helps target collagen synthesis to thicken skin and diminish lines,” she notes.

Retinol or retinoids: “These help turn over dull skin and also kick collagen and elastin synthesis into gear,” she adds. “Because these can be drying, I typically recommend patients start with a retinol or micronized retinoid to decrease the possibility of irritation.” 

DNA repair enzymes: “In someone’s 50s, significant DNA damage has accumulated over several decades, and native reparative enzymes decline,” Herrmann says. “By adding topical enzymes back into the skin, repair happens. Why is this important? Because unchecked damage accumulates, and in addition to aging skin, it can lead to pre-cancers and skin cancers.”

Which products and habits should be avoided?

Stay away from harsh exfoliants and gritty masks. “These strip too much oil from the skin and exacerbate dryness,” she says.

Don’t use lotions. “Some lotions may contain alcohol, which will dry out the skin,” Herrmann notes. “Instead, opt for creams or ointments that moisturize with a higher oil content.”

Avoid excess unprotected sun exposure. “This is still important in someone’s 50s! Damage is cumulative, so it’s still important to protect the skin from UV rays,” she says.

Shield yourself from excess wind or cold exposure. “Both elements dry out the skin and can cause redness and irritation more easily in this decade,” Herrmann continues.

What’s the best morning routine to follow?

“Start by cleansing with a gentle cleanser, like EltaMD Foaming Facial Cleanser or Neutrogena Gentle Facial Wash,” she says. “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.”

“After, apply a cream-based moisturizer, like Cerave Moisturizing Cream, which has ceramides that help restore a healthy skin barrier. Another more pricey option with added benefits is Kate Somerville’s Goat Milk Moisturizing Cream,” Herrmann adds. “Milk proteins soothe irritated, dry skin, while jojoba, avocado, grape seed oil, and vitamin E add natural oils for maximum moisture. After, apply a reparative sunscreen like DNA EGF Sheer Defense.”

Foaming Facial Cleanser, 7 Fluid Ounce
EltaMD Foaming Facial Cleanser $25
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DNA Regeneration Serum $145
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Moisturizers, Moisturizing Cream, 16 Ounce
CeraVe Moisturizing Cream $12
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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+ $75
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What nighttime routine should become a habit?

“Cleanse with the same morning cleanser, or use one with a light acid to peel away dead skin cells and brighten skin, like 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.”

“After, if pigmentation is a problem, add in a quality brightening option like SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic. Its stabilized vitamin C helps lighten sun spots and brown patches. Finally, apply a reparative enzyme, like DNA EGF Night Renewal, which contains DNA Repair Enzymes and intense moisture for overnight hydration.”

Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Daily Cleansert $25
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Glytone Mild Gel Cleanser $35
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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 $183
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DNA Night Renewal $130
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