No matter your age, winter is hard on our skin. But it's especially rough the older we get, since the skin becomes naturally dryer as we age. While great for summer, the super lightweight moisturizers of the world aren't enough to really support and nourish mature skin in the colder months. That's why we tapped five dermatologists aged 50 and up to share their absolute favorite winter moisturizers for mature skin that keep their skin soft and radiant.
The best winter moisturizers for mature skin, at a glance:
- From Dr. Dina Strachan CeraVe, AM Facial Lotion With Broad Spectrum SPF 30, $19
- From Dr. Mary Lupo: Neova, Crème de la Copper, $123
- From Dr. Lynn McKinley-Grant: Namesake, The Daily Moisturizer, $60
- From Dr. Heidi A Waldorf: Alastin, Ultra Nourishing Moisturizer, $78
- From Dr. Loretta Ciraldo: Dr. Loretta, Anti-Aging Repair Moisturizer, $70
- Dina Strachan, MD, board-certified dermatologist
- Heidi A Waldorf, MD, board-certified dermatologist
- Loretta Ciraldo, MD, FAAD, board-certified dermatologist and founder of Dr. Loretta Skincare
- Lynn McKinley-Grant, MD, board-certified dermatologist in Washington, DC
- Mary Lupo, MD, board-certified dermatologist and founder of Lupo Center for Aesthetic and General Dermatology
What is the best way to hydrate mature skin?
Replenish the skin barrier
According to Lynn McKinley-Grant, MD, dermatology advisor at Namesake, as our skin ages it needs a little extra help retaining moisture. "When it comes to caring for your skin in our 50s and beyond, you want to look for a moisturizer that relieves some of the dryness that we start to experience as we get older," she says. That means prioritizing ingredients that replenish the skin barrier, such as ceramides, glycerin, and hyaluronic acid.
Prioritize gentle formulas
Loretta Ciraldo, MD, FAAD, board-certified dermatologist and founder of Dr. Loretta Skincare, says that hydration is only one part of the equation. "On the one hand, mature skin needs a moisturizer with hard-working actives that will give us visible improvement in our texture and tone and help to mitigate wrinkles," she says. "On the other hand, since the living layers of skin are slightly more sensitive over 50, we need very skin-friendly active ingredients." This means avoiding products with fragrances, sulfates, and parabens as much as possible, especially if you have a skin condition like rosacea.
Reap the added benefits
Not only is facial dryness uncomfortable, it makes wrinkles and fine lines appear deeper than they really are. When our skin is optimally hydrated and moisturized, it's plumper so lines are less visible. Products that provide moisture, as well as invigorating antioxidants, are a skin-care win-win.
Don't stop at your face
When it comes to skin care, our faces tend to get the most attention. But mature skin's need for TLC extends from the neck down, too, especially in the winter. Just like a facial moisturizer, be sure to prioritize a body moisturizer with a formula's centered around nourishing ceramides, lipids, and acids to keep your legs, arms, and torso hydrated.
Five derm-picked winter moisturizers for mature skin
From Dr. Dina Strachan:
“This year I am loving Cerave AM. It has sun protection and hyaluronic acid which is great for skin over 50, which is drier,” says Dina Strachan, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York. “I also love that it doesn’t leave a white cast.” It’s a mineral sunscreen that, like all CeraVe products, is packed with ceramides to restore the skin’s protective barrier. And, as an added perk, it’s widely available at drugstores.
Size: 3 ounces
Key ingredients: Ceramides, zinc oxide (broad-spectrum SPF 30), niacinamide, hyaluronic acid
From Dr. Mary Lupo:
“I love its ultra-rich yet fast absorption formula,” says Mary Lupo, MD, board-certified dermatologist and founder of Lupo Center for Aesthetic and General Dermatology. “It contains great ceramides that older skin needs and a well-known collagen-stimulating signal peptide to increase collagen, and a DNA-repair ingredient to reduce risk of skin cancers.”
Size: 1.7 ounces
Key ingredients: Ceramides, glycerin, copper peptide, sweet almond oil
From Dr. Lynn McKinley-Grant:
“I love Namesake’s daily moisturizer because it leaves your skin hydrated throughout the entire day without that end-of-day dryness that I have experienced with other moisturizers,” says Dr. McKinley-Grant. “If you wear makeup, you likely want your foundation to look natural. This daily moisturizer creates a dewy surface for your makeup to adhere to and creates a lit-from-within look.” Best of all, the fragrance-free formula contains hydrating glycerin and ceramides, as well as PHAs (polyhydroxy acids) for gentle exfoliation.
Size: 1.7 ounces
Key ingredients: Glycerin, ceramides, PHAs, rosehip oil
From Dr. Heidi A Waldorf:
“Alastin Ultra Nourishing moisturizer is ideal for skin over 50,” says board-certified dermatologist, Heidi A Waldorf, MD. “It helps maintain the epidermal skin barrier with water-absorbing glycerin and smoothing lipid hydrators. Oat kernel extracts calm sensitive skin. Proprietary peptides help the underlying dermis to remove damaged collagen and elastin and produce new.”
Size: 2 ounces
Key ingredients: Oat kernel extracts, glycerin, lipids, peptides
From Dr. Loretta Ciraldo:
“After 41 years of dermatology practice, I have a very keen sense of what over-50 skin needs. My own personal favorite, Dr. Loretta Anti-Aging Repair Moisturizer, fulfills that need for me,” says Dr. Ciraldo about this pick from her eponymous line. “This moisturizer has the strongest of all antioxidants, Lipochroman, paired with brightening and skin-firming actives. I use it twice a day all year long and find my skin smiles right back at me even in the colder, drier months.”
Size: 1.7 ounces
Key ingredients: Lipochroman, vitamin E, tetrapeptide-21, glycerin
Things to consider before buying a moisturizer for mature skin
Your mature skin-care goals
As our experts mentioned, mature skin requires powerhouse moisturizers to keep the skin barrier hydrated. But in addition to ingredients that provide moisture, it's important to consider your other skin-care goals. For examples, some of the formulas on our list also tackle dark spots or provide added sun protection. Take stock of your current routine to see where you may need a little additional support.
This one goes without saying, but keep your budget in mind while shopping for a winter moisturizer—especially if you think your needs will shift as the weather warms. Our derms provided products at a very wide range of prices (we're talking $20 to $120), so you can certainly find a recommendation that works for your skin and your wallet.
Your skin type
Not all mature skin has the same needs. Keep your sensitivities, allergies, and aversions in mind as you peruse these options to ensure you're choosing a formula that will work with your skin. Of course, if you're unsure what your mature skin needs at this phase of life, it never hurts to speak with your dermatologist.
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