Take your skincare routine to the next level with these expert tips & top product picks
The beauty industry is seeing a shift. With terms like ‘anti-ageing’ slowly (and rightly) being phased out, consumers and brands alike are making skin health the focus of their skincare routines instead of trying to turn back the clock. We want to give our skin the tools it needs to help with everything from increased dryness to sensitivity and signs of sun damage.
From lifestyle to life changes and late nights, there are a range of factors that could be dulling our skin’s glow. The good news is that there are some small but effective skincare swaps we can make to help our skin become better equipped to deal with its changing needs.
Whether hydration, radiance or more even-looking skin tone is your goal, we’ve got you covered. Scroll on for the answers to some of your most-searched-for questions – from how to cleanse to how often we should exfoliate mature skin – as well as our top skin health-boosting product picks to help you deal with everything from dryness in your 50s to sun spots in your 70s.
What is mature skin?
This could be a reduction in collagen production or an increase in dryness. It may feature noticeable signs of sun damage, such as age spots and pigmentation, or perhaps dullness due to slower cell turnover.
But everyone ages differently. While some of us may see changes to skin tone and texture most noticeably from our mid-forties and fifties, factors like how strict we’ve been with sun protection over the years and whether we smoke, can lead to these changes happening more quickly.
What are common skin concerns for mature skin?
Skin concerns will of course differ from person to person, but as Dr Mia Jing Gao, consultant dermatologist at the Cadogan Clinic, highlights, some concerns are more common than others during her appointments. “The most common skin concerns I see in patients over 50 are fine lines and wrinkles, pigmentation and sun damage,” she tells us.
Dr Gao highlights that issues regarding moles are also common. If you’ve noticed that a mole has changed in shape or looks uneven, has changed in colour, has started itching, crusting, flaking or bleeding, or has gotten larger and more raised, it’s important to book in with your GP.
You may also want to book in with the Boots Mole Scanning Service*, which can provide you with an assessment of any moles and pigmented lesions you’re worried about, and can help identify any that may be suspicious.
What is a good skincare routine for mature skin?
There are some key skincare foundations that apply at any age. Experts agree that the daily essentials tend to include the following stages:
1) Cleanse: morning and evening to remove make-up, dirt, pollution and SPF
2) Treat: using products like serums. A face serum is a more concentrated form of an active ingredient that can target a skin concern, such as pigmentation or help improve the appearance of skin texture
3) Hydrate: using a day or night cream to help skin attract and hold onto valuable moisture
4) Protect: applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen during the day to help protect skin against UV rays
Exfoliation can also be a great treatment step for your weekly skincare regime, as it helps slough off dead skin cells so that your skincare products can work more effectively. And a weekly face mask could be just the trick in our experience for giving skin some TLC or for a dose of pampering before a big event.
How to care for mature skin – 5 expert tips
1. Cleanse (but don’t over cleanse
As skin tends to get drier as it ages, it can be a good idea to use a mild, gentle cleanser in the first step of your skincare routine.
A cream, milk or oil cleanser can be a great option here. We also love to massage in a cleansing balm to help melt end-of-day dirt and tension away.
If skin’s feeling sensitive, try a fragrance-free formulation for a more calming cleanse and wash your face using lukewarm rather than hot water to avoid stripping skin of its natural oils.
2. Exfoliate once or twice a week
For a glow boost, try introducing exfoliation into your nighttime routine – it’s Dr Gao’s number one tip for helping to improve dull-looking skin.
“Use a chemical exfoliant twice a week (such as products containing AHAs or BHAs like salicylic, glycolic or lactic acids),” she recommends. “This can help skin cell turnover and make the complexion appear fresher and brighter.”
If you’re new to chemical exfoliation, it can be a good idea to go slowly at first and use a low concentration formula while your skin gets used to it. And always follow up with a broad-spectrum sunscreen in the morning as exfoliating acids can make skin more sensitive to the sun’s rays.
Another top tip? If you’re also using a retinol serum as part of your nighttime routine (more on this in a moment…), try using it on a different night to your exfoliator to avoid potentially overwhelming skin.
For helping to improve pigmentation
Try:: Versed Weekend Glow Brightening Solution
• Size: 120ml
This is one of Dr Gao’s favourite products – and it’s easy to see why. As well as AHAs, it contains a blend of other skin brighteners, such as kojic acid and azelaic acid, to help improve the appearance of texture and tone.
3. Add in a serum
If you’re not sold on serum as part of your skincare mix, you may be missing out. Lightweight and moisturising, serums contain a higher concentration of active ingredients, such as peptides to help firm, hyaluronic acid to hydrate and niacinamide to calm.
If a key concern is loss of elasticity, Dr Gao recommends adding retinol, such as a retinol serum, into your nighttime routine. “Retinoids help improve skin firmness and elasticity by stimulating fibroblast cells in our skin to produce more collagen,” Dr Gao explains. “They also speed up the turnover of the top layer of skin, so our skin looks brighter.” Consider us sold.
What’s the best way to apply a serum? Smooth on after cleansing, but before moisturising, waiting a few minutes before applying your day or night cream to hydrate.
For a brightening serum
Try: No7 Menopause Skincare Instant Radiance Serum
• Size: 30ml
• Comes with a cooling applicator
Skin prone to hot flushes? Help it stay cool and calm in the heat with this radiance-boosting serum, which contains the brand’s well-known firming Matrixyl 3000+ technology. Apply it using the instantly soothing and cooling applicator.
For a peptide serum
Try: No7 Future Renew Damage Reversal Serum
• Size: 25ml
Containing a patent-pending world-first technology, think of this serum as the next frontier in peptide serums. Designed to harness the skin’s natural repair process to help reduce visible signs of skin damage, it also contains niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, vitamin C and hydrolysed rice proteins to help skin look and feel smoother, more hydrated and well-rested.
4. Make time for moisturiser
They may lack the glamour of serums, but there’s a reason moisturisers are long-standing staples in our skincare routines – they help lock in moisture and prevent water loss, which can become even more important as we get older.
Dr Gao’s top tip for dehydrated skin? “Use a moisturiser with hyaluronic acid – this is a great ingredient for hydration as it pulls in water molecules around it, to help lock moisture in the skin,” she says.
For an SPF moisturiser
Try: Clinique Moisture Surge SPF25 Sheer Hydrator
• Size: 30ml
Hydration meets sun protection in this multitasking moisturiser. Its light, cream texture leaves skin feeling super soft and silky and, while it looks opaque going on, it blends in sheer to create the perfect canvas for make-up.
For a hyaluronic acid moisturiser
Try: L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Filler Plumping Water-Cream
• Size: 50ml
We love this cream’s barrier-supporting blend of ceramides, niacinamide and hyaluronic acid, as well as its handy pump. It also sinks in well and sits brilliantly under make-up. The perfect combo.
5. Protect your skin from the sun
Dr Gao’s top tip for improving the appearance of signs of sun damage is daily sun protection. “Prevention is key. Studies show that using adequate sunscreen every day can help reduce patches of sun damage,” she tells us.
The research doesn’t lie. In fact, one study found that people who used sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher daily showed 24% less skin ageing than those who didn’t use sunscreen every day.
The higher your sun protection factor, the better. The NHS recommends looking for an SPF30 as a minimum and at least 4-star UVA protection. UVA protection can also be shown by the letters ‘UVA’ in a circle (which shows it meets the EU standard).
Using a broad-spectrum sunscreen will help take your sun safety plan up a notch and remember to seek shade when the sun is strongest (in the UK, this is between 11am and 3pm).
Today’s impressive line-up of sun shields offer UV protection and more. Here are three of our favourites…
For high protection
Try: Soltan Once Age Defense Advanced 8hr Protect Facial Sun Care SPF50+
• Size: 50ml
As well as an SPF of 50, this impressive sunscreen has the highest UVA star rating (five stars) and a formula that contains hyaluronic acid. It’s also non-greasy and easily absorbed to slot into your skincare routine seamlessly.
For an award-winner
Try: La Roche-Posay Anthelios UVMUNE 400 Invisible Fluid SPF50+
• Size: 50ml
• Water-, sweat- and sand-resistant
• Boots Beauty Awards 2022 winner
Probably the most famous sunblock on the block (and definitely worth the hype), this sunscreen has a non-greasy and ultra-resistant formula that doesn’t leave a white cast behind. No wonder it won the ‘Desert Island Must-have’ category at the 2022 Boots Beauty Awards. It’s a vacation and staycation staple.