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Well+Good: ‘I’m a 61-year-old Dermatologist, and these are the skin-care products I use myself every day’

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While lot of skin-care maintenance has to do with combating the effects of aging, it’s about more than just vanity. We take care of our skin so it stays healthy and strong. Diane Berson, MD, FAAD, a 61-year-old dermatologist in New York City, says your skin-care routine should evolve as you age—especially if you’re over the age of 50. Like mature people, mature skin has different needs.

“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.”

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.

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