By nature of time and gravity, the markers of aging—deep wrinkles, sun spots, crepe-y texture, and loss of volume—present themselves most conspicuously mid-life onward, which is why many look to overhaul their above-neck routines in search of the best skin care for women over 50. From the best way to reduce the appearance of wrinkles to the most robust brightening and resurfacing masks, here skin-care pros share the best strategies and ways to build your arsenal for an ageless complexion.
Vogue’s Top Picks for the Best Skin Care for Women Over 50
The Facial Massager: Joanna Czech Facial Massager, $189
Cleanse and, Yes, Tone
Needless to say, the best skin care for women over 50 begins with daily face-washing. Mature skin should be treated with a mild, non-irritating cleanser that won’t strip the skin of its natural oils or irritate dry and sensitive skin. For those with dryer skin, New York dermatologist Patricia Wexler, M.D., cautions that because it’s usually sensitive, it’s best to use a face wash that provides a good barrier protection with skin-protective ingredients like ceramides. “After an initial oil cleanser to remove my makeup, I use a cream cleanser, then use a lukewarm water to rinse, and pat my skin dry with a soft cloth,” Wexler explains. To help maintain the pH balance of the skin after cleansing, celebrity facialist Joanna Czech recommends using a pH-controlling toner, which can also supply an extra layer of moisture and “act as carrier” for the skin care steps that come next.
Exfoliate—But Don’t Overdo It
In terms of exfoliation, both physical (scrubs) and chemical (AHAs and BHAs) may be used on mature skin—but proceed with caution. “Yes, exfoliation is necessary, but don’t overdo it,” Czech instructs. “With women over 50, the outer layer of skin becomes thinner and more delicate.” To avoid aggravation, Czech recommends taking a minimal approach to physical exfoliation, which can cause micro-tears on the epidermis if you get carried away. To buff away dead skin cells safely, Wexler recommends using a gentle scrub, such as Tata Harper’s Regenerating Exfoliating Cleanser with its apricot microspheres, no more than three times a week, and following it up with a calming elixir with soothing ingredients such as ceramide and chamomile. For mild chemical exfoliation, try M-61’s Powerglow Peel squares, which are presoaked with glycolic and salicylic acids, as well as acne-scar-healing vitamin K and skin-tone-evening bilberry extract, and are gentle enough for daily use. Or, consider a weekly peel treatment like Drunk Elephant’s resurfacing T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial, which is formulated with 25% AHAs with its blend of glycolic, tartaric, lactic, and citric acids.
Give Yourself a Facial Massage
A daily facial massage does wonders for the skin at any age, but is especially transformative for mature complexions. These beauty tools can work to sculpt the facial muscles (think: more defined cheekbones and jawline) and reduce fluid buildup, as well as improve blood flow, cell turnover, tissue toning, and boost collagen production. “Collagen is the support net of our skin—it’s what gives the structural integrity of the skin and as it declines, skin becomes looser, sags and wrinkles form,” explains Rochelle Weitzner, founder and CEO of Pause Skincare, a line developed for women going through menopause. Because women experience a dramatic reduction in collagen synthesis after menopause, Weitzner designed a special tool to stimulate fibroblasts, which are the cells that produce collagen. Using your fingertips or a tool, such as Pause’s Fascia Stimulating Tool, knead and contour the facial muscles, moving along the jawline and upward toward the highs of the cheekbones, under-eye region, and across the forehead. For an extra boost at the end, wrap gauze around ice cubes infused with anti-inflammatory green or chamomile tea, then glide them over the skin, says Czech.