The Ideal Skin-Care Routine for Acne-Prone, 50-Something Skin

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For many women in their 50s, hormonal acne may send skin back to high school as menopausal breakouts develop in women for much the same reasons that pop up during puberty. Hormone imbalances during menopause affect our skin’s natural defenses and trigger constant acne breakouts. When she’s working with a client experiencing acne, no matter the age group, medical aesthetician Amy Peterson says the first step is the dermatologist’s office.“ You should visit a dermatologist to have your bloodwork done and get to the root cause of your acne and make sure you know what is causing it,” notes Peterson. Once the trigger has been identified, experts say these products and treatments have helped them lead maturing clients to clearer, healthier-looking skin. 

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Step 1: Cleanse (twice daily)

Peterson says her top pick for compromised skin for those over 50 is this gentle exfoliating cleanser. Reflekt Face Wash ($34) contains hyaluronic acid, vegetable collagen, vitamin B5 and jojoba esters which help to nourish and rebalance skin.

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Step 2: Tone

Aesthetician Danuta Detkiewicz with Paul Labrecque Salon and Skincare Spa says to incorporate a toner into your routine. “Go with an exfoliating toner that helps to neutralize the skin’s pH levels, while also making it look brighter, cleaner and clearer and helps to purify, regulate sebum secretion and more. The iconic Biologique Recherche Lotion P50 does all of this, and the Lotion P50W ($115) is the gentlest formulation in the range.”

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Step 3: Moisturize

It’s a moisturizer that feels like a serum and Peterson counts the Environ Skin Essential-A Vita-Antioxidant AVST Moisturizer ($61) as a real savior for mature skin. “It’s a mild, cooling gel that fights redness and inflammation with antioxidants and a low concentration of vitamins A, C and E.”

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Step 4: Protect

New York dermatologist Claire Wolinsky, MD says your SPF should be working with the rest of your routine to help protect and clarify skin and she likes Exuviance Daily Corrector SPF 35 ($50): “As a noncomedogenic and non-greasy formulated UV filter, this is a particularly good sunscreen for those with oily and/or acne prone skin,” she says. “Enhanced with SPF 35, this product helps protect against damage from the sun’s harmful rays, while neoglucosamine, B-resorcinol and turmeric extract reduce the look of discolorations while evening out skin’s tone and texture. Vitamin E and grape seed extract act as antioxidants to target the visible effects of environmental aggressors.”

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Step 5: Treat

Prescription Altreno (tretinoin) Lotion, 0.05% for Adult Acne is perfect for skin over 50 says New York dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, MD. This FDA-approved topical retinoid treats adult acne swiftly and as Dr. Zeichner points out has the dual benefit of reducing acne. “Tretinoin is estimated to be about 100 times more potent than retinol because it’s ready to go as soon as it’s applied to the skin and doesn’t have to go through a conversion process,” he says. In studies, the topical reduced acne by about 50 percent in 12 weeks.

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Step 6: Laser

In-office treatments can also make a huge impact on hormonal skin. New York dermatologist Dennis Gross, MD says the new AviClear laser that has been FDA-cleared for acne is a must for all women over 50 experiencing hormonal changes. “It targets the glands that produces excess sebum and most patients see a 50 percent reduction in the severity of their acne,” he explains. “It’s a great solution for this age group because you get all of the benefits of a laser treatment and it really rebalances oil production.”

Peterson says she like the Aerolase Neo as it can reduce the acne bacteria gently without heating up the skin too much which can lead to hyperpigmentation. “It destroys acne bacteria and reduces inflammation. By controlling the active acne, it can inhibit sebum production, minimizing the chance of breakouts.”

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