Reaching the big 5-0 is fabulous! You’ve finally come into your own, and your confidence is soaring to new heights. But just as you’re feeling more comfortable in your skin than ever before, your skin throws you a curveball. Changing hormones, menopause, and advancing years all affect skin’s appearance and function. Suddenly, the holy grail products you’ve relied on for years no longer seem to work. While this might be discouraging, a few tweaks to your skincare routine will help you get your glow back in no time.
Keep slathering on the sunscreen
It’s not exactly news at this point, but nothing damages the skin quite like sun exposure. It’s the leading cause of every gripe that comes hand in hand with aging skin, including wrinkles, brown spots, and even skin cancer. Select a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 40 and block both UVA and UVB rays, and reapply throughout the day as needed. Top tip: don’t forget your hands and neck. Both give away your age, no matter how youthful your face looks.
That youthful radiance you’re lamenting the loss of is still there, under the surface — and that’s no metaphor. Gently exfoliating with a scrub twice a week sloughs off the top layer of dull, dead skin cells and stimulates circulation, which tends to slow down as we get older. Your skin will look brighter and revitalized almost instantly.
Oil yourself up
Oils are one of the trendiest skin care products today, and for good reason. They soak right into your skin, leaving it dewy, plump, and nourished. If you’re worried about clogged pores or breakouts, don’t be — the oils of today are non-comedogenic and won’t leave your face looking like an oil slick.
Retinol: the youth serum
You might not be able to turn back time, but a good retinol cream might be the next best thing. There was a time when pharmaceutical-grade retinoids were only available by prescription, but you can now buy them over the counter at your local drugstore. The Vitamin A derivative penetrates skin right down to the collagen layer, diminishing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Just make sure you use extra sunscreen — the potent product can make skin extra sensitive to the sun.
Say “aye” to eye creams
Our eyes might be the window to our soul, but unfortunately, they’re a window to our age too. Those fine lines and dark circles that were once side effects of tiredness and stress start taking permanent residence on our peepers over time. You can stave them off with a good eye cream, which tends to be a thicker and more potent version of your favorite moisturizer.
Be a balm-shell
There once was a time when washing your face with a bar of soap and a splash of water did the trick. Now that you’re in your 50s, it’s all about protecting your skin’s moisture balance. Cleansing balms are rich, creamy soaps that remove dirt and makeup without stripping your skin of hydration. Gently massage the product onto dry skin, then wash it away with a muslin cloth or a cotton ball soaked in warm water.
By the end of your 50s, you start to see spots. Literally. Blotches of hyperpigmentation start cropping up on your chest, hairline, and on top of your hands as you get older. The good news is, that you can purge the pigment with brightening complexes, like hydroquinone, or HQ. Of course, the best way to stave off spots in the first place is with the daily use of high-SPF sunscreen. As always, make sure you keep up with your regular skin checks and report any changes to your skin to your doctor.
Protect your pout
Our pouts are particularly prone to wrinkles and collagen loss because they’re almost constantly in motion. As we get older, our lips start to lose shape and eventually get that “bar code” of wrinkles above the upper lip. A fast fix for this, of course, would be hyaluronic acid filler injections. But for the needle-phobic among us, a peptide-rich, collagen-boosting formula works just fine in a pinch.
Don’t forget your neck
Skincare shouldn’t stop at your jawline. Your neck needs some love too! Necks are constantly being pulled down by gravity, making them especially prone to sagging. They also lack oil glands, and the skin is thinner. While you don’t need a separate neck cream, you should use generous dollops of the thickest moisturizer possible —even a hand cream works in a pinch. Then, up the ante once or twice a week with a retinoid to thicken up the skin.
Fight the dryness
Shifting hormones and diminishing estrogen levels mean that your skin texture is probably out of whack. Most likely, the skin on your face and body will start to take on a dry and crepey texture, and adequate daily hydration is essential to combat this. Look for formulas that include glycerine, shea butter, skin-soothing ceramides, and hyaluronic acid.
It seems this one appears on just about every list of health and beauty tips, but when it comes to skincare in your 50s, it’s definitely not one to skip. Drinking plenty of water is one of the fastest ways to shave years off your skin. It erases fine lines, plumps up the skin, and flushes out toxins. You’ll feel younger too because you’ll have more energy, and your mind will be sharper. Water is an all-around winner.
A sensitive matter
Changing hormones can make skin extra sensitive, and it can take longer to bounce back from redness or irritation as blood vessels are less able to re-constrict. You might notice your favorite products now burn or sting. Using formulas targeted at sensitive skin and avoiding products with added fragrances can make a huge difference in how comfortable you are in the skin that you’re in.
Sleep on it
The benefits of catching enough Z’s can’t be overstated when it comes to both health and beauty, but when you reach your 50s, how you sleep matters too. Always slather on a thick, rich nighttime moisturizer before crawling into bed, and treat yourself to an overnight mask once or twice a week too. The position is important, too. Sleeping on your face or sides can result in sleep wrinkles that won’t fade away as quickly as they once did. Back is best.