The Best Cleansers for Skin Over 50, According to Dermatologists

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“As we age, our sebaceous glands produce less oil, which leads to drier skin,” explains Dallas dermatologist Rebecca Marcus, MD. “In addition, cell turnover slows, and collagen and elastin are less plentiful. When choosing a cleanser for mature skin, it’s helpful to look for products that hydrate, promote collagen production and encourage brightening.” These are 12 multitasking cleansers recommended by top dermatologists for skin over 50.

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GlyDerm Gentle Cleanser ($30)

“For 26 years, I have highly recommended this cleanser. This is a great cleanser for all ages with a glycolic acid base for gentle exfoliation of dead, dull skin cells. I recommended it at least five times today.” —Monroe, LA dermatologist Janine Hopkins, MD

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NeoStrata Repair Exfoliating Wash ($40)

“Alphahydroxy acid exfoliation is helpful when using retinoids at night, and still appropriate as skin ages and becomes drier.” —Nanuet, NY dermatologist Heidi Waldorf, MD

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Caudalie Vinoclean Micellar Cleansing Water ($28)

“I also highly recommend this cleanser. This is always in my travel bag and on my vanity table. This product gently cleanses while also hydrating and soothing skin. Soap- and water-free, it’s all in one.” —Dr. Hopkins

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Avène Tolerance Extremely Gentle Cleanser ($25)

Mature skin, over 50 years old, tends to be more fragile and dry. The goal is not to degrease the skin because there are rarely acne issues, but rather to remove makeup without being too aggressive with the skin barrier. The skin should be washed gently with either using water or a wipe on/off-type cleanser with no water. Avene Tolerance Extremely Gentle Cleanser is my over-50 go-to product. Alastin and SkinCeuticals also have gentle-wash cleansers that my patients like.” —Delray Beach, FL dermatologist Dr. Janet Allenby

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ALASTIN Skincare Gentle Cleanser ($45)

“In general, gentle cleansers that cleanse the skin without overdrying it are my favorites for skin over 50.  Overdrying the skin emphasizes pore size and wrinkles, while hydrated skin with a ‘dewy’ appearance is more forgiving and more youthful. Mature skin also tends to be more sensitive, so these gentle cleansers that protect and cleanse the skin without irritation are essential. Alastin’s Gentle Cleanser does this beautifully. —Houston dermatologist Jennifer Segal, MD  

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Revision Skincare Gentle Cleansing Lotion ($38)

“For mature skin, I like mild, cream-based cleansers versus foams and gels. Creams are more hydrating and less drying, and can help to remove makeup without upsetting the skin’s delicate moisture balance, making them ideal for dry or sensitive skin. This product is free of fragrance and artificial colorants. It helps the skin with marine-derived red and brown algae, and has an antioxidant-rich apple amino acid.” —Dallas dermatologist Elizabeth Bahar Houshmand, MD

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DefenAge 1-Step Multi-Cleanse ($62)

“This hydrating cleanser contains natural prebiotics and helps to support the skin barrier, making it good for those with mature skin. It works to enhance the DefenAge core defensin technology while helping to dissolve makeup and lift away dirt and debris.” —New York dermatologist Marisa Garshick, MD

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La Roche-Posay Toleriane Hydrating Gentle Facial Cleanser ($16)

“This is an excellent gentle cleanser for dry and sensitive skin. It’s fragrance-free and contains brightening niacinamide and skin barrier–boosting ceramides.” —Dr. Marcus

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CLN Facial Cleanser ($32)

“I also frequently recommend this cleanser for my patients who are active in tennis or at the gym and may need a stronger antimicrobial cleanser that is still gentle to the skin.” —Dr. Segal

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CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser ($15)

“This cleanser effectively gets rid of dirt and buildup without leaving the skin feeling dry. It contains hyaluronic acid to hydrate the skin, as well as ceramides to support and strengthen the skin barrier. It is a great option for all skin types, including those with sensitive skin, as it is fragrance-free.” Dr. Garshick

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iS Clinical Cream Cleanser ($48)

“This cleanser is gentle and hydrating for dry, extra-sensitive, and delicate skin. Gycerin, squalane, coconut oil, and safflower oil work together to deeply hydrate and protect the skin barrier while also providing a through cleanse that effectively removes makeup and sunscreen. It can be used with or without water, which is a bonus for those with very dry skin who may better tolerate a waterless cleanse.” —Dr. Marcus

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Dove Beauty Bar ($2)

“For those who prefer a bar, I recommend this one from Dove, as it effectively cleanses and washes away dirt without drying out the skin. It helps to replenish moisture lost, unlike ordinary soaps that can strip the skin of its natural oils. This makes it a great multipurpose option, as it can be used for the face, body and hands. It is formulated with one-fourth moisturizing cream, which helps to leave skin feeling soft and nourished. It is easy to use and can be used by all skin types.” —Dr. Garshick

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