The idea that your skincare routine should change with your age is nothing new—the label "formulated for mature skin" speaks to that fact. But this somewhat vague designation begs the question: What exactly is "mature" skin, and at what age is your skin considered mature?
"It’s hard to say a definitive number," said Morgan Rabach, MD, board-certified dermatologist and co-founder of New York City–based LM Medical. "The age of someone's skin doesn't necessarily sync up with the age of the person." She adds that a variety of factors play a role in skin maturity, including genetics, ethnicity, overall health, and lifestyle choices like hydration, smoking, drinking, and sun exposure.
According to Rabach, "mature" skin is more about certain characteristics, like fine lines, wrinkles, and a loss of elasticity, than a specific age. "Sometimes I can see the start of [aging] by the early 20s, and sometimes I see 45-year-olds and I'm surprised by their birthday. I would say that by your 40s, most people have some [signs of aging]."
Rather than looking to your age as the defining factor, Rabach defines mature skin as the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, loose skin, wrinkling in the neck and eyelids, and a loss of volume in the soft tissue of the face, leading to jowling and nasolabial folds (also known as laugh lines).
"There is also a general thinning of the skin as we age," she adds. "The skin becomes more fragile, translucent, and shows more blood vessels. Skin also becomes drier because there is less oil production." Sun spots can also contribute to the look of mature skin, no matter what your age.
What to Look For in a Foundation For Mature Skin
If you're considering a foundation specifically formulated for mature skin, Rabach has some tips. "Sunscreen is a must every single day, even in the winter," she instructs. "A foundation with a sunscreen would be a benefit."
If Rabach had to pick one anti-aging ingredient for mature skin, it would be retinol. "Retinols really address every issue in aging skin—they remove dead layers of skin, increase collagen and elastin (which thickens the skin), and reduce pore size and pigmentation."
Moisture is also incredibly important when it comes to selecting the right foundation. Rabach specifically recommends something with hyaluronic acid for a potent dose of hydration throughout the day. Heed Dr. Rabach's advice and shop the best foundations for mature skin below.