Last updated: Aug 25, 2009
skincare-aging

Todays skin moisturizers are worlds better than the one you started using in your 20s. Heres how to find your perfect product for gorgeous grown-up skin.

In Your 30s

Whats Going On
Luckily, your skin is in good shape, so you dont have to waste a second worrying about deep wrinkles. However, you might notice fine lines and age spots, says Anne Chapas, MD, a 35-year-old dermatologist in New York City. Also, “women in their 30s may have redness from sun damage or flushed skin caused by rosacea,” a skin condition that often appears for the first time in your 30s, she notes. Another occasional issue? Under-eye circles. (Blame genetics or the stress and sleepless nights this decade often brings.)

What You Can Do...Your morning routine
After cleansing, hydrate and protect your skin with a lightweight lotion that has sunscreen. If you have any unwanted rosiness, look for one that also contains feverfew. “Its a natural ingredient that reduces redness,” Dr. Chapas says. On mornings when dark under-eye circles are a problem, apply a cream that has caffeine, which helps shrink capillaries so discoloration is less noticeable.

Your evening routine
Now is the time to start using a night cream that treats fine lines and your first age spots. Look for one with ingredients like arginine, an amino acid that helps fade spots, and retinol, which “helps build collagen and reduce fine lines,” according to Dr. Chapas. If you still get occasional breakouts, Dr. Chapas says a prescription-strength retinoid like Retin-A is a good idea because it treats pimples and signs of aging.

Your best Moisturizers

In Your 40s

Whats Going On
This decade brings lots of happiness—youre enjoying great sex, and studies show your confidence is high. Unfortunately, all that smiling youre doing may reveal crows-feet and lines at the sides of your mouth.

“Estrogen levels decline in your 40s, decreasing collagen levels and making your skin thinner and more prone to wrinkling,” says Jessica Wu, MD, a 41-year-old dermatologist in Los Angeles. Plus, those spots that looked like cute freckles 10 years ago now may appear larger.

What You Can Do...Your morning routine
By now you probably know that you should apply a moisturizer with sunscreen every morning, but Dr. Wu recommends stepping it up to one that also has antioxidants. “They boost the protective power of your skin, helping to prevent more age spots,” she says.

Your evening routine
At night, use a moisturizing cream that contains retinol, which speeds the exfolia­tion of dead skin cells, giving your complexion its glow back. As for the lines around your eyes? Retinol can help there, too. According to Dr. Wu, most women in their 40s could benefit from using an over-the-counter eye cream with retinol or a prescription-strength retinoid. “Last year, I started using Renova, a prescription-strength retinol cream, to treat the fine lines that Im seeing around my eyes,” Dr. Wu says.

Your best Moisturizers

In Your 50s

Whats Going On
You finally have a little time to focus on yourself. Plus, those healthy habits you have picked up over the years (regular workouts, eating fresh farmers market produce) are great for your skin. Still, there is no hiding the signs of a life well-lived. “Your 50s are when you may see deeper wrinkles and a hollowness around your eyes that causes shadows,” says Audrey Kunin, MD, a 50-year-old dermatologist in Kansas City, Missouri, and the founder of DERMADoctor. And menopause (as well as perimenopause) dries your skin and disrupts its ceramide barrier, which can lead to sensitivity.

What You Can Do...Your morning routine
Smooth on a cream (they tend to be more moisturizing than lotions) that has antioxidants and SPF as well as ceramides, which boost hydration and reinforce your skins protective barrier. For under-eye discoloration, look for a moisturizing eye cream with vitamin K. “Because you have less fat under your skin at this age, the blue color of blood vessels close to the skin surface becomes more visible,” Dr. Kunin explains. In one study, vitamin K was found to improve the look of dark under-eye circles, perhaps because it helps blood clot, preventing seepage from the capillaries under your eyes.

Your evening routine
There are plenty of ways to describe the dry skin this decade brings—papery, parched—but, no matter what you call it, its treatable. To rehydrate at night, smooth on a cream that has rich moisturizing ingredients, like shea butter. And since wrinkles are more apparent on dry skin, make sure your product pick also has retinol. “It builds collagen, which can help make wrinkles less noticeable,” Dr. Kunin says. Another option? Prescription-strength Renova, which contains a more potent form of retinol and a moisturizing base.

Your best moisturizers