"When your skin ages, the outer layer becomes a little bit thinner and that's why it becomes more fragile," says Dr. Berson. "It's less likely to retain moisture, which is why it becomes dry and flaky and itchy. And there's been damage to the collagen and elastin in the dermis which makes it wrinkle."
Three factors play into these changes: chronological aging, environmental and sun damage, and for women, loss of estrogen after menopause.
"Sunlight ages to the skin, causing things like discoloration, thinning of the surface, loss of collagen and elastin, wrinkles, dullness, and roughness," she says. "And we know that estrogen interacts with certain skin cells, the keratinocytes, which are in the outer layer of the epidermis, which make the epidermis nice and thick, and protect the skin from outside irritants. Estrogen also interacts with the fibroblasts, which are the cells that stimulate collagen production, which makes the skin feel supple and wrinkle-free."
Dr. Berson says the most important thing to do with aging skin is make sure it's getting enough moisture. When it comes to ingredients, you'll want an emollient such as ceramides, which are the glue that keeps all the surface cells together. Next, you'll want a humectant like hyaluronic acid or glycerin, which help bind water to the skin. For very dry skin, she says to look for an occlusive like petrolatum, which helps seal in moisture. Lastly, she says to still pay attention to sun protection, because sunlight exacerbates damage.
"We give the same advice to our patients of all ages and we usually tell them to protect their skin in the morning and repair their skin at night," she says. As you age, "you might want to use a moisturizer that might be a little greasier or heavier for your extremities, which she says get more dry the older you get."
Below, shop the products Dr. Berson loves for herself and her patients.
10 derm-recommended products for skin-care over 50
1. SKINCEUTICALS C E FERULIC, $166
Dr. Berson isn't the only skin expert who loves this serum. It provides environmental protection, while also lightening lines, firming skin, and brightening your complexion.
Dr. Berson says she uses this compact after she's applied her makeup. She loves that it provides an extra layer of sunblock. Consult with your dermatologist, or find a partnered dermatologist in your area, to purchase.
4. SKINMEDICA TNS ESSENTIAL SERUM, $281
This dual formula gives you the benefits of two serums in one. One side houses a protein- and amino acid-rich serum to reduce inflammation, and the other side includes a mixture of anti-aging ingredients, peptides, and antioxidants to strengthen sagging skin.
Dr. Berson says she loves this mineral sunscreen because it contains DNA-repair enzymes and antioxidants that provide an even stronger layer of protection to your skin.
6. SENTÉ DERMAL CONTOUR PRESSED SERUM, $198
Dr. Berson says she loves this serum for repairing the skin at night. It contains heparin sulfate analog, or HSA, "which is an ingredient in the dermis that plumps the skin and stimulates collagen production," she says. The formula is a hybrid of a cream and a serum, and it works to firm, repair, and hydrate your skin.
7. EMEPELLE NIGHT CREAM, $195
This night cream contains methyl estradiolpropanoate, or MEP, which Dr. Berson says is a game-changer for menopausal skin. She says it looks like estrogen and binds with estrogen receptors in the skin. "It causes all of the benefits that estrogen would give in terms of plumping the skin, promoting collagen, thickening the dermis, thickening the epidermis, making the skin look and feel smoother and more plump, but it's not a hormone," she says. The cream also contains antioxidants, hyaluronic acid, peptides, and retinol.
This cream, perfect for day or night, is formulated with vitamin B3 and hyaluronic acid to exfoliate and improve the look of wrinkles. Dr. Berson says she loves this one because it's budget-friendly, and is packed with great ingredients.
9. La Roche-Posay Redermic R Anti-Aging Retinol Serum, $45
Dr. Berson is a strong believer in retinol, and loves this one from La Roche-Posay. It helps reduce wrinkles, smooth skin texture, and even tone.
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