Why you can trust us

We may earn commission from links on this page, but we only recommend products we believe in. Pricing and availability are subject to change.

The best skin care routine for your 60s, according to dermatologists

The best skin care routine for your 60s, according to dermatologists

You're 60, sassy and classy, but just because your kids are grown and raised and you have one eye on retirement doesn't mean there aren't new challenges ahead — especially with your skin. You might be past the days of acne scars and pregnancy stretch marks, but those over 60 have their own hodgepodge of skin care concerns to deal with. From dry and flaky skin to wrinkles and "crepey skin," this is the decade where you'll begin to see a lot of your life showing up on your face. And while there might not be a ton you can do at this point to reverse decades of sun damage or erase fine lines and wrinkles permanently, it's never too late to kick off a preventative skincare routine that tackles the top problems of aging skin — i.e., hydration, volume, sun damage and wrinkles.

Quick Overview
See 7 more

"In the 60s, the skin tends to become drier, thinner and more delicate due to decreased natural oil production and a decline in collagen and elastin," said Dr. Hannah Kopelman, host of the podcast Derm Club and Chief Medical Officer for DermOnDemand. "It's crucial to focus more on hydration, gentle cleansing and ingredients that support barrier function and skin repair."

Building a dermatologist-recommended skincare routine for aging skin isn't as complicated (or expensive!) — as you might think. In fact, all of the dermatologists I spoke with said that it's the ingredients in the products — not fancy brands with triple-digit price tags — that matter the most when it comes to building an effective anti-aging regimen for your 60s."It’s important to use high-quality skincare from trustworthy sources, but it does not necessarily have to be expensive," said Dr. Rebecca Marcus, board-certified dermatologist in Dallas. "Skincare from reputable brands, backed by science, is available for a range of budgets."

To help you find the best products for your lifestyle and budget, I spoke with six doctors and dermatologists about the science behind aging, what ingredients and textures to look for in skin care products, and how to build a skin care routine that actually works in your 60s.

In this article: Face Wash | Moisturizer | SPF Moisturizer | Tinted Moisturizer | Serums | Retinols | Under Eye Cream | Sunscreen | Skin Care Devices

What key ingredients should you seek out in your 60s?

Hyaluronic acid, retinoids, niacinamide and other B vitamins, vitamin C, and peptides are hydrating, plumping and skin-rejuvenating ingredients to look for as you rethink your skincare routine in your 60s. "Hyaluronic acid, ceramides, peptides and antioxidants like vitamin C and E are beneficial," according to Dr. Anna Chacon, M.D. and board-certified dermatologist in Miami. "Retinol can help with wrinkles and spots. Always look for products with broad-spectrum SPF."

All of the experts we spoke with agreed that ingredients matter more than price tag when it comes to skincare. "Expensive does not always equate to effectiveness," Dr. Kopelman said. "Many affordable products contain the key ingredients mentioned above and can be just as effective as their luxury counterparts. The focus should be on the formulation and the concentration of active ingredients rather than the brand or price."

What ingredients should you stay away from?

Harsh alcohols, strong fragrances, aggressive exfoliants, sulfates and mineral oils. Alcohols, exfoliants and sulfates can dry out your skin further, fragrances can irritate sensitive skin and minerals oils can clog pores, according Dr. Harikiran Chekuri, certified dermatologist and Medical Head for ClinicSpots in Hyderabad.

What changes should you make in your 60s from your skincare routine in your 50s?

The over-60s usually have different skincare concerns, such as drier and thinner skin, so it's important to choose products with ingredients that focus on those symptoms.

"Switching from products that may have been suitable in the 50s to more hydrating, nourishing formulations is advisable," Dr. Kopelman said. "Additionally, incorporating products that address age spots and texture irregularities can be beneficial."

Dr. Chekuri advises switching to a higher SPF, especially if using retinol products, and switching from harsh scrubs to chemical exfoliants to avoid irritating skin.

What should you know about using retinol for the first time?

"Retinol is a type of retinoid, a derivative of vitamin A," Dr. Chacon said. "It boosts the amount of collagen your body makes and plumps out skin, reducing fine lines and wrinkles. It also improves skin tone and reduces mottled patches. Start with a lower concentration and gradually increase as your skin adapts. Use it at night and always apply sunscreen in the morning as retinol can make your skin more sensitive to sunlight."

If you're worried about introducing retinol into your routine, Dr. Kopelman has a simple hack—what she's dubbed "the retinol sandwich method." In this method, "a layer of moisturizer is applied to the skin, followed by retinol, followed by an additional layer of moisturizer."

Face Wash & Cleansers

Texture: Thick, hydrating gel | Ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, ceramides | Other benefits: Fragrance-free, non-comedogenic

You'll first want to start off your routine by choosing face wash and cleansers that are gentle and aren't too stripping and drying since our skin becomes drier as we age, according to Dr. Marcus. "It's crucial to focus more on hydration, gentle cleansing and ingredients that support barrier function and skin repair," she said.

Our experts agreed that hyaluronic acid and ceramides, which can be found in CeraVe's Hydrating Facial Cleanser, are the key ingredients for hydrated, plump skin in your 60s. 

If your skin feels tight after cleansing, then your face wash is likely too aggressive and might be stripping too many of your skin's precious oils. Consider cleansing your face only at night if your skin feels too dry in the morning for a second cleanse.

$14 at Amazon
Explore More Buying Options
$14 at Walmart

Texture: Watery | Ingredients: Water, glycerin | Other benefits: Oil-free, alcohol-free, fragrance-free

After washing your face with a gentle cleanser, micellar water can be used to clear away any residual dirt, oil and makeup without harsh scrubbing that can irritate sensitive, aging skin. Dr. Chacon recommends Garnier's SkinActive Micellar Water.

But micellar water isn't like the stinging and drying alcohol-heavy toners of your youth. Because it's made without oils, alcohols and fragrance, skin feels cleansed without overly dry. Use it both in the morning and at night — no need to rinse. 

$9 at Amazon
Explore More Buying Options
$9 at Walmart


Texture: Liquid serum | Ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, vitamin B5 | Other benefits: Fragrance free

Skin becomes drier and thinner as we age, which is why, according to Dr. Chekuri, you should "opt for gentle cleansers, hyaluronic acid serums, and richer moisturizers" to care for mature skin. 

Hyaluronic acid, in particular, is the key ingredient in skincare. It infuses loads of hydration and plumps up the skin in the process. It's a miracle little ingredient that can be found in everything from eye creams to facial cleansers.

But you don't have to splash out on three-figure products to take care of your skin. In fact, all of our experts agree that ingredients matter much more than brand or price tag.

"Expensive doesn't always mean better," Dr. Chacon said. "Many affordable products contain the same active ingredients as their pricier counterparts. It's more important to look at the ingredients list than the price tag."

$10 at Amazon
Explore More Buying Options
$10 at Sephora


Texture: Rich cream | Ingredients: Niacinamide, B3 vitamins, hyaluronic acid | Other benefits: Fragrance free

When reaching for a moisturizer after cleansing, you might've noticed that many anti-aging moisturizers are quite thick and creamy. There's a simple reason for that: They lock in more moisture than lighter creams.

According to Dr. Marcus, "Rich, creamy textures can be beneficial to mature skin because they act as a barrier, reinforcing and lubricating increasingly delicate skin."

Because mature skin is drier, you'll want to slather on a thick and emollient moisturizer to lock in hydration for as long as possible.But what you reach for ultimately depends on your skin type and personal preference. "Some may find heavy creams too occlusive, so opting for lighter lotions or serums that still offer potent ingredients might be preferable," Dr. Kopelman said. "Look for products that absorb well without leaving a greasy residue." 

And if you have oil skin? "Opt for gel-based moisturizers or serums if oily skin persists in your 60s," Dr. Chekuri said.

$22 at Amazon
Explore More Buying Options
$25 at Walmart

Texture: Rich cream | Ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, time-released retinol, vitamins C and E, peptides | Other benefits: Free of parabens, sulfates and phthalates

Alternatively, you can reach for a moisturizer with anti-aging retinol in it. Retinol is a derivative of vitamin A that's used to improve skin's texture by speeding up cell turnover and stimulating collagen production, which in turns helps with reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It also improves skin's elasticity and fades some hyperpigmentation. Some little miracle ingredient, right?

Dr. Marcus recommends Charlotte Tilbury's Magic Cream because of its unique "time-released encapsulated retinol" that helps promote cell turnover, stimulate collagen production and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. "The rich, emollient texture of the cream also helps to nourish the skin barrier and decrease the risk of potential irritation from retinol," she said.

All of the experts we spoke with cautioned that one should introduce retinol into their skincare routine slowly, and take special precautions to wear sunscreen throughout the day since retinol makes the skin very sensitive to the sun.

$64 at Nordstrom
Explore More Buying Options
$65 at Sephora

Moisturizer With SPF

Texture: Lightweight cream | Ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, ceramides, B3, niacinamide; Homosalate, Meradimate, Octinoxate, Octocrylene, Zinc Oxide (sun protection) | Other benefits: Oil free, non-comedogenic, fragrance-free

Every dermatologist we spoke with emphasized the importance of SPF in a skincare routine at any age. According to Dr. Natalie M. Curcio, M.D., founder of Curcio Dermatology in Nashville, it's the most important skin care product you can use to prevent wrinkles and other signs of aging.

The most important thing is including some type of sun protection into your routine that's easy for you to stick with consistently, said Dr. Elle de Moll, M.D. and board-certified dermatologist at Dermatology Physicians of Connecticut.

"I'm a big believer in using what you like," Dr. de Moll said. "I feel like patients hate to tell me that they use spray sunscreen, but honestly — you're way more likely to use what you like —and that counts for a whole lot more!"

CeraVe's AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion is an easy way to incorporate SPF into your skincare routine without having to think about it. And because it's formulated with those hydrating and plumping ingredients to maintain supple, dewy skin — hyaluronic acid, ceramides, B3, niacinamide — it's a powerhouse product that deserves a spot in your beauty cabinet.

$15 at Amazon
Explore More Buying Options
$13 at Walmart

Tinted Moisturizer With SPF

Texture: Lightweight, liquid cream | Ingredients: macadamia and kukui seed oils; Avobenzone, Octinoxate, Octocrylene and Oxybenzone (sun protection) | Other benefits: Free of parabens

Laura Mercier's Natural Skin Perfector SPF 30 is Dr. Chacon's pick for those who want a little bit of tinted coverage as well as sun protection. 

As we mentioned earlier, retinol is one of those superhero ingredients that you'll find in a lot of anti-aging beauty products designed specifically for mature skin. But using retinol comes at a price, and it's that your skin becomes super sensitivity to sunlight. "Sun protection is crucial: Retinol makes skin more sensitive to sun, so use SPF 30+ daily," Dr. Chekuri said.

Products with a minimum SPF of 30 should already be part of your skin care routine, but especially so if you're using retinols. Laura Mercier's Natural Skin Perfector SPF 30 is a good option if you want some color to your complexion without wearing a face full of makeup. The formula includes hydrating oils that'll soothe aging, overly sensitive skin that's being introduced to retinols, while the sun protection ingredients will save your skin from the damaging effects of UV radiation. 

$54 at Sephora
Explore More Buying Options
$54 at Nordstrom


Texture: Lightweight, silky cream | Ingredients: Niacinamide, B3, hyaluronic acid, zinc oxide (sun protection) | Other benefits: Non-comedogenic, oil free, fragrance free, paraben free

No skin care routine is complete without sunscreen, and EltaMD is the No. 1 dermatologist-recommended sunscreen brand.

"While creams directed at anti-aging or wrinkle reduction are important, the most important product to prevent wrinkles and skin damage from UV light is sunscreen," said Dr. Curcio. 

Both Dr. Curcio and Dr. Chekuri recommend a sunscreen with an SPF minimum of 30, even on cloudy days, that's reapplied every two hours when outdoors, especially on exposed skin.

EltaMD's UV Clear Sunscreen SPF 46 can be used by those with sensitive skin, as well as those with oily, acne-prone skin and those with rosacea.

$43 at Amazon
Explore More Buying Options
$44 at Walmart

Night Cream

Texture: Silky cream | Ingredients: Retinol, shea butter, glycolic acid, squalane, niacinamide | Other benefits: Non-greasy, non-comedogenic, fragrance free

Skin becomes drier and thinner as we age, which is why it's especially important to pay attention to the ingredients in the skin care you reach for in your 60s and beyond. 

Ingredients like retinoids, hyaluronic acid and niacinamide are important in a lot of ways. Dr. Kopelman says that niacinamide is good for protecting your skin's barrier and reducing inflammation while hyaluronic acid provides "hydration and plumping."

Our experts agreed that you'll want to stick to using intense retinol serums and creams at night when you're out of the sun. Pairing a retinol with an ultra hydrating night cream, like RoC Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Anti-Aging Night Cream, is a good way to make sure that hydrating ingredients balance out the intense effects of the retinol.  

But if you're new to retinol, our experts recommend easing into it, using it two or three a week to start. "Use it sparingly; a pea sized amount is enough for the entire face," said Dr. Marcus. "Apply a moisturizer on top, and if necessary, use the retinol sandwich method, in which a layer of moisturizer is applied to the skin, followed by retinol, followed by an additional layer of moisturizer."

$18 at Amazon
Explore More Buying Options
$18 at Walmart

Under Eye Cream

Texture: Lightweight cream | Ingredients: Retinol, hyaluronic acid | Other benefits: Fragrance free

Eye creams are necessary for hydrating the thin, delicate skin around your eyes, especially as you age.They can also help reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, under eye bags, dark circles, puffiness and more. You can find eye creams with and without retinol, and that eye creams can be a good introduction to retinol products.

All of the experts we spoke with agreed that it's not necessary to use multiple retinol products as part of your skin care routine. In fact, they tend to recommend against it as it can sometimes lead to over-irritation of the skin. 

"If you're new to retinol, a moisturizer or eye cream with retinol might be a good starting point as they're often less concentrated," according to Dr. Chacon.

Neutrogena's Rapid Wrinkle Repair Retinol Eye Cream is a good entry point into retinols, especially if you're concerned with crow's feet, fine lines, wrinkles and dark circles. It's also loaded with hyaluronic acid so it'll keep skin hydrateda and plump while turning over newer, younger-looking cells.

$17 at Amazon
Explore More Buying Options
$18 at Walmart

Skin Care Devices

Technology: Red light therapy | Price: $$ | Benefits: Portable, affordable, easy to use

Red light therapy uses low wavelength red light to reduce the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, scars, acne and redness.

The Solawave Radiant Renewal Wand is Dr. Marcus's pick for skin care devices that can work in conjunction with your favorite products to improve your skin's texture and appearance.

The Solawave Radiant Renewal Wand is a red light therapy device that is best used daily when paired with your preferred serums to stimulate collagen, improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and decrease redness and inflammation of the skin. 

"Its warming, vibrating properties also help to enhance penetration of active ingredients into the skin," Dr. Marcus said.

$169 at Amazon
Explore More Buying Options
$169 at Ulta

Technology: Microcurrents | Price: $$$$ | Benefits: Portable, fast and easy to use, at-home face lift

For those who want pain-free alternatives to invasive clinical treatments, Dr. Chacon recommends the NuFACE Trinity, a microcurrent device that's like getting an at-home face lift.

The NuFACE Trinity created what's been dubbed the "five minute face lift" thanks to the microcurrents within the tiny device that strengthen facial muscles over time. When used five times a week for over a couple of months, the devices can improve your facial contour, skin tone and lead to wrinkle reduction.

$350 at NuFACE
Explore More Buying Options
$350 at Walmart