Skin-Care Tips

I’m a Derm, and These Are the Most Common Mistakes I See People Make on Mature Skin

Rachel Lapidos

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As we get older, our skin-care routines grow with us. In place of the acne patches we may have used in our early twenties are dark spot-banishing serums. Instead of a quest for dewy skin, we focus more on preserving and stimulating collagen production. In the quest of keeping your complexion as healthy as possible, there are best practices for mature skin that one should keep in mind.

To help, we’ve asked top dermatologists to share the most common mistakes they see their more mature patients making on their skin all the time. Whether you’re looking to treat adult acne or clear clogged pores, some beauty practices can cause more harm than good. Keep scrolling to avoid these common skin-care mistakes.

3 mature skin-care mistakes that derms see all the time

1. Over-exfoliating

“I see many patients exfoliate aggressively to treat dry skin, but this can just make it worse,” says Robert Anolik, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City. What should you do instead to keep dead skin buildup at bay? “Over-the-counter glycolic or lactic acid peels work well,” he says, noting that the top rule to keep in mind is that exfoliation should only be done sparingly. “If it’s done too aggressively without proper skin barrier restoration with moisturizers, then the skin just gets worse.”

2. Using the wrong ingredients for acne

Adult acne is extremely common, affecting roughly 15 percent of women. But these kinds of breakouts aren’t to be treated the same way that you would a whitehead as a teenager, for example. “One of the most common things I see is a lot of women, especially in their 40s, will get some adult acne on the chin, and get a teenage acne medication to treat it,” says Sandy Skotnicki, MD, a Toronto-based board-certified dermatologist. Those products typically contain ingredients like salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide. However, older patients may be experiencing hormonal acne, which calls for a different remedy.

“A lot of these older women, especially in their 40s, should turn to hormonal treatments, like either the birth control pill or Spironolactone,” says Dr. Skotnicki. “There are a few topical prescriptions as well, like Aczone, which is made for adult acne.” These types of breakouts can also be from rosacea, she adds, which would call for a rosacea-specific treatment. It’s best to consult your own dermatologist to figure out the treatment course that is best for you.

3. Using too many products

Another skin-care habit that Adarsh Vijay Mudgil, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and founder of Mudgil Dermatology, sees all the time? An over-crowded beauty routine. “As we get older, our skin doesn’t moisturize itself as well, and as a result, its natural protective barrier is impaired,” he says. “It’s for that reason that our skin can get more sensitive as we accumulate wisdom.” His advice is to keep your skin-care regimen simple and streamlined to lower the number of ingredients you’re feeding your skin (and lessen the chance of irritation). “A good sunscreen, a mild retinoid or retinol at night, and a solid moisturizer with hyaluronic acid or ceramides are really all that anyone needs.”

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