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Where to start if you've never had a skincare routine in your 50s, according to a dermatologist.

Starting a skincare routine can be confusing - especially if you've never really had one before. There are so many different products, so many brands and so much advice floating around out there. It can all get a little... overwhelming.

But if there's anyone who knows best when it comes to starting a skincare routine in your 50s (and the products you *actually* need), it's a dermatologist.

Because skin doctors know their stuff. And if they recommend something to use in your routine - you know it's going to be for good reason.

Watch: Here are seven ways to improve your skin while sleeping. Post continues below.


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From the very best products you need in your routine to everything you should avoid, we asked dermatologist Dr Eleni Yiasemides for her advice on starting a skincare routine in your 50s.

So, let's get into it!

How do you start a skincare routine in your 50s?

According to experts, everyone at any age can care for their skin and have a skin routine - it’s never too late to start looking after your skin. So, get that sneaky myth out of your mind!

Dr Yiasemides said, "Generally, the earlier you start, the better, but you can still have significant improvement with a good skincare plan."

To start, try figuring out what your major skin concerns are. Is it redness? Dryness? A combination of both?

"You need to look for key ingredients to target key issues with the skin. For most, more intense hydration is required," shared Dr Yiasemides.

"Many women in their 50s still suffer from acne or rosacea - so specific skin conditions need proper care."

If you're confused about your chief skin concerns, Dr Yiasemides said, "It’s a great idea to see a dermatologist to have your skin assessed and a specific skincare plan devised for your skin."

Needless to say, the best skin care for women over 50 includes diligent sun protection. "It doesn’t have to be expensive with lots of affordable great options on the market," adds Dr Yiasemides.

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The products every woman in her 50s should use.

1. Sunscreen

As we were just saying, if you're going to add one product into your routine, make it sunscreen.

"A sunscreen-containing product in the morning is a must. You should aim for a 30+ SPF product. If you work outdoors, you will need a 50+ and you will need to reapply," said Dr Yiasemides.

"For office-based indoor work, applying in the morning is enough if you don’t leave the office until later at night."

As Dr Yiasemides pointed out before, there are a lot of great affordable options out there - something like Bondi Sands Daily Moisturising Face SPF 50+ Sunscreen Lotion, $12.99 would be a great pick.

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So, slather on the SPF!

2. Vitamin C serum. 

If you're looking for brighter, healthier-looking skin, incorporating a vitamin C product into your routine is another good idea. You can find cleansers, serums, moisturisers and toners formulated with vitamin C.

Dr Yiasemides recommends reaching for a vitamin C serum. Serums are your heavy-lifters and are more highly concentrated than other product.

"In the morning I recommend applying a vitamin C serum. These are generally hydrating and have potent antioxidants that help repair and brighten the skin."

If you're looking for a good beginner serum, La Roche-Posay Redermic Vitamin C10 Serum, $60.99, is a great place to start.

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3. Vitamin A.

Vitamin A (retinol) can sound 11/10 scary - but it's one of the best active ingredients you can incorporate into your routine, if you're looking to target the signs of ageing. 

Just take care when you're first introducing it into your routine, and don't go too hard too fast.

"At night, the most powerful anti-ageing ingredient is vitamin A or retinoids. You will need to introduce this slowly if you haven’t used a vitamin A product before," said Dr Yiasemides.

"Start applying it at night after cleansing initially twice a week, then slowly build up to nightly."

If you're worried about irritating your skin, a good trick is to 'sandwich' your vitamin A by layering a moisturiser below or over the top.

There are a lot of great beginner options on the market - like Medik8 Crystal Retinal, $79 or No7 Advanced Retinol 1.5% Complex Night Concentrate, $61.99.

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4. Vitamin B3.

Heard of vitamin B3 before? It's more commonly known as niacinamide - and it's a hardworking ingredient that doesn't get nearly enough airtime. 

Whether you're dealing with acne, sensitive skin, dryness or dark spots - niacinamide is a great multi-tasker.

"Vitamin B3 also has excellent antioxidant and anti-ageing benefits. It also helps with pigmentation and helps keep moisture in the skin."

Something like The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%, $10.60, is a good, affordable option.

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5. Moisturiser.

One of the main issues you'll need to focus on in your 50s is the importance of hydration. As we age, the loss of hormones during menopause, an increase in sun damage and decreased cell renewal can result in drier, rougher skin. 

That's where moisturisers become important. "Moisturisers containing peptides and hyaluronic acid are hydrating and anti-ageing too," said Dr Yiasemides.

There are TONS of great options to choose from. One of our faves? Avene Tolerance Extreme Renovation Cream, $49.99.

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6. Hydroxy acids.

If you're not yet familiar with hydroxy acids, this is another ingredient you need to be cautious with when first starting out. Similar to vitamin A, if you go too hard, too fast - you can end up really irritating your skin. So, tread carefully with these guys, yeah?

Dr Yiasemides said, "Some people will benefit from hydroxy acids. Perhaps not needed every day, but these are great for exfoliating the skin to produce even, smooth and more youthful appearing skin."

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While it will depend on your individual skin type and concerns, Alpha-H Liquid Gold, $69.95, is generally a good all-rounder option (it's formulated with glycolic acid - a type of alpha hydroxy acid).

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7. Creamy cleanser.

Dr Yiasemides said mature skin should be treated with a mild, creamy cleanser that won’t strip and irritate dry and sensitive skin. 

"As we get older, most need to use a gentle creamy cleanser. I don’t recommend scrubs at this age or ever. They can damage the delicate barrier of the skin," she said.

We recommend a gentle cleanser like CeraVe Hydrating Cream-to-Foam Cleanser, $21.99.

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What skincare products to avoid in your 50s.

When it comes to what you should and shouldn't do when starting a skincare routine in your 50s, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Dr Yiasemides tells us that because mature skin is usually sensitive - there are certain products you should steer clear of.

"Avoid scrubs or harsh cleansers especially," she said. "If your skin is sensitive, then don’t use exfoliating ingredients such as hydroxy acids."

If active ingredients confuse the absolute life out of you (don't worry - we're with you!), and you're worried you might choose the wrong ones for your skin type and concerns, Dr Yiasemides said the best thing to do is to see an expert.

Rather than trialling and testing a bunch of different options and potentially messing with your skin barrier, an expert can point you in the right direction.

"An expert can clinically assess your skin and let you know what key issues are present and how to address them with the right skincare and treatments."

And above all, remember that consistency is key. Results won't happen overnight - but sticking to a solid skincare routine will help improve your skin overtime.

"Good skincare is the fundamental basis for good skin. Once you are on to the tight program, you need to stick to it over long time in order to get the best results," Dr Yiasemides said.

"Then you can consider other treatments such as injectables and laser. It’s more important to get a strong foundation for skincare ahead of spending money on treatments."

Looking for more skincare advice? Check out You Beauty Collective member Teresa McNamara's article on the best skincare routine for women over 50.

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What are some of your skincare non-negotiables? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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