Skin care at 50 can be daunting to navigate, especially when you search the thousands of creams, serums and treatments claiming to brighten, tighten and smooth mature faces. It’s smart to see a dermatologist for skin cancer checks, rosacea or dermatitis, and perhaps a little Botox … but deciding which moisturizer, cleanser or eye cream to use? No way. Not when you’re the real expert on your own skin care history, sun damage and daily habits. Here are six simple fixes that will improve and upgrade your self-care strategy.
1. Fix: a daily SPF 30 + sunscreen you’ll actually wear
If you do one thing to thwart incoming brown spots, wrinkles and skin cancer, add a daily sunscreen to your everyday routine. Many people dutifully apply sunscreen for outdoor sports and sun at the beach but skip it on cloudy, rainy or cold days, when wearing face makeup or working indoors. Big mistake! Skin-damaging UVA/UVB rays are relentlessly beaming 365 days a year right through foundation, self-tanner, car, home and office windows and nasty weather. The best “lifestyle” protection is the double-dip method. Start the day with a double-duty moisturizer/sunscreen like Olay Regenerist Vitamin C + Peptide 24 SPF 30 Moisturizer ($30, target.com) or Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hyaluronic Acid Moisturizer SPF 50 ($30, ulta.com) and simply reapply as needed to refresh protection, or top with a serious sunscreen when the seasons and outdoor time demand it. Makeup wearers can double protect by whisking on a portable brush-on powder sunscreen like Colorescience Unforgettable Total Protection Brush-On Shield SPF 50 ($69, colorescience.com) — this comes in fair to deep shades — as a topcoat. So handy for T-zone shine control in humid summer temperatures, too.
2. Fix: cleansers that improve mature skin
Bet your face cleanser doesn’t get the attention your creams do. It should, since washing is the first line of defense against dryness and wrinkles — but don’t use any old soap or cleanser. A creamy hydrating formula with hyaluronic acid and/or glycerin like CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser for Normal to Dry Skin ($14, cvs.com) or Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser ($12, ulta.com) can soften skin, plump up lines and complement all serums and moisturizers without a conflict of ingredients. Power washing once every seven to 10 days with a mild exfoliating cleanser such as La Roche-Posay Ultra-Fine Face Scrub Exfoliating Face Wash for Sensitive Skin ($19, cvs.com) or Aveeno Calm + Restore Nourishing PHA Exfoliator ($13, target.com) — both are nonabrasive, non-drying and kind to thin, sensitive, skin — will help loosen the bonds between dead cells and buff them off. This additional cleansing step prevents slowed cell turnover from blocking penetration of the serums and creams you apply.
3. Fix: moisturizers that plump up wrinkles
Ever look in the mirror and pull back your face for a face-lift effect? Me, too, and so do plenty of 50-plus women who wonder about taking the scalpel or filler route to firmer, smoother skin. Drastic and dreamy thoughts aside, the right moisturizer — one with hyaluronic acid and/or peptides — can truly improve lined, saggy, wrinkled skin. Here’s why: Hyaluronic acid attracts water like a sponge, drenching the skin and plumping up lines and expression creases like a before-and-after balloon that’s blown up. Peptides help reboot collagen and elastin (the underlying support fibers of the skin) for a bouncier, firmer texture. Look for moisturizers that emphasize one or both ingredients like L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Hyaluronic Acid Line-Plumping Water Cream ($32, target.com), Clinique Moisture Surge 100H Auto-Replenishing Hydrator ($28, clinique.com) with hyaluronic acid, and Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream Moisturizer ($29, kohls.com) with hyaluronic and peptides. Don’t forget to apply to your neck and décolletage!