Every decade of age brings with it the signs that your skin has changed over the years. In your 50s, you may notice more fine lines and wrinkles; in your 60s, you’ll experience sagging skin and more rough patches. After age 70, watch out for more age spots.

 However, not all these changes are inevitable, according to the American Association of Retired People (AARP). With proper care, your skin can look much younger than its years.

 Here’s your skin care “wish list” for each decade:

In your 50s and 60s

Step 1: Cleanse

 Look for cleansers that remove the dirt without taking moisture away from your skin. Products containing natural exfoliators, such as alpha hydroxyl acids, help slough away dead skin, clear up acne from menopause and stimulate collagen production. Your skin cells are constantly regenerating, even in your 50s, and exfoliating encourages the process.

TIP: Choose a cleanser that doesn’t dry out your skin.

Step 2: Protect

 Using sunscreen every day can reduce your skin’s aging process by 24 percent, according to one Australian study. In your 60s, you may need to change to a heavy cream to help retain moisture. Watch for pimples that don’t heal, bumps that easily bleed and rough patches on your skin — these could all be precancerous. A dermatologist can freeze the area with liquid nitrogen or prescribe topical creams, which can wipe out precancers in eight to 12 weeks, according to AARP.

TIP: Sunscreen should block a full range of UV light and have an SPF of 30 or higher.

Step 3: Smooth

 Retinoids increase collagen production, which promotes more youthful-looking skin and minimizes skin imperfections including wrinkles, fine lines and age spots. Many of the most effective formulations require a prescription, so speak to your dermatologist. Also, use antioxidant creams, lotions and serums with vitamins C and E to help soften and smooth the skin.

 In your 60s, you may want to mix these products with a moisturizer to make them less irritating. If you’ve got dark spots on your face and/or hands, consider a daily spot treatment using hydroquinone, a topical skin bleaching agent.

TIP: Try over-the-counter formulations of retinoids first, then ask your dermatologist if you need a prescription strength formulation.

In your 70s and beyond

Step 1. Cleanse

Instead of using harsh exfoliating cleansers, which can irritate sensitive skin, choose moisture-rich, creamy products.

TIP: Choose products that won’t dry out your skin.

Step 2: Protect

 Continue using a sunscreen SPF 30 or higher every day. You may need to change to a heavy cream to retain moisture.

TIP: Use barrier creams and serums designed to hydrate the skin and even out skin tones.

Step 3: Smooth

 Moisturizer is the key to a smoother, younger-looking complexion in your 70s and beyond. Consider double-duty formulations that contain a humectant (this draws in water) and a sealer (to prevent it from evaporating). Some people prefer antioxidant serums, which are more like any oily liquid. Look for ingredients such as vitamins C and E, and coenzyme Q10, a natural antioxidant synthesized in the body. 

TIP: Moisturizers and antioxidant creams offer even more hydration for aging skin.

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