Reaching the half-century mark may be a major accomplishment, but that doesn’t mean everything is smooth sailing once your 50th rolls around. In fact, when it comes to your complexion, you’re likely to notice a host of changes that you might not have been anticipating.
Fortunately, if you want to make your 50s your best decade yet, knowing what to expect can help you mitigate some of the changes you’re less-than-eager to see. We’ve rounded up 15 ways your skin changes in your 50s, giving you a roadmap to a clearer, healthier complexion in no time.
You’re more likely to discover a cancerous mole.
Unfortunately, your 50s are the time when you’re most likely to find yourself dealing with a skin cancer diagnosis. According to Oncology’s Cancer Network, the median age of those diagnosed with melanoma is 53, meaning you’re more likely to find yourself dealing with a cancerous mole than ever before during this decade. “See a dermatologist for a full body examination if you have lots of moles or spots on your body to ensure no cancerous lesions are present,” suggests Dr. Janette Nesheiwat, M.D. “If you even notice a new skin lesion or a change in a current mole, for example, see your doctor right away.”
Your skin gets thinner.
The youthful, resilient skin you may have enjoyed in your 20s, 30s, and 40s changes into something virtually unrecognizable as your skin becomes thinner and less taut in your 50s. “Your skin will continue to thin, dry, and sag” as your 50s progress, says Dr. David Greuner, M.D., of NYC Surgical Associates.
Your skin will become less radiant.
Say so long to that radiance you enjoyed in your earlier years, especially if you’re going through menopause. “In your early 50s, you most likely will experience menopause, when estrogen halts and testosterone takes over. During the first few years of menopause, your skin will lose a significant amount of its collagen and moisture, and as a result, your ‘glow’ will vanish as well,” says Dr. Greuner.
Your skin becomes crepey.
While wrinkles are annoying enough, many people find themselves dealing with crepey skin for the first time in their 50s. This condition, which occurs when skin both thins and wrinkles simultaneously, can leave your skin looking looser and older than ever before.
Your wrinkles become deeper and more abundant.
Those fine lines and early wrinkles you may have been fighting against in your 30s and 40s will likely become permanent fixtures on your face by 50. Not only that, they’ll be more pronounced than ever. “Lines will become deeper” in your 50s, says Dr. Greuner.
Your skin heals less quickly.
While it may have taken more than a little antibiotic cream and a bandage to make those cuts and scrapes disappear just a decade or two earlier, in your 50s, you may find yourself struggling to help your skin heal. According to research published in the journal Dermatological Clinics, skin remodeling and a loss of collagen can contribute to slower wound healing times, as can age-specific skin ailments affecting the skin.
Your skin becomes rough.
Those days of baby-soft skin? Unfortunately, they’re likely a thing of the past as you round the corner into your 50s. “Hormonal changes also occur as we reach our 50s, which is when menopause starts, and this can make your skin dry and sandpaper-like in touch,” says Dr. Nesheiwat.
You develop spider veins.
As you enter your 50s, the combination of vein weakening and thinning skin can mean you’re suddenly dealing with varicose veins. And while these veins, which are also known as spider veins, tend to primarily occur on your legs and feet, some people find them developing on their torso, arms, or even their face.
You may develop some prominent facial hair.
Break out the waxing strips: the hormonal changes you undergo in your 50s can spur the sudden development of some surprising facial hair. “You may notice growth of some peach fuzz,” says Dr. Greuner.
Your risk of eczema increases.
Those itchy, red rashes you dealt with as a baby may come back with a vengeance in your 50s. As your skin gets thinner, drier, and more sensitive as you age, you may be more likely to develop eczema than you were just a decade or two earlier. In fact, the American Academy of Dermatology says your 50s are a “peak time” for eczema to rear its ugly head.
Your skin will become easily inflamed.
While your skin may have been able to weather virtually anything you threw at it in your 30s and 40s, from harsh cleansers to improper cleansing routines, the same can’t be said for it in your 50s. “You’ll notice a lot more inflammation” in your 50s than you had in previous decades, says Dr. Greuner.
You risk of developing skin tags increases.
Unfortunately, moles aren’t the only growths you might be dealing with as you age. Dr. Greuner notes that many people develop skin tags for the first time in their 50s. The good news? If they bother you, a dermatologist can remove them quickly and easily in an outpatient procedure.
Your eyes may become hooded.
If your eyes seem suddenly smaller as you age, you’re not imagining things. Fat loss combined with reduced collagen and elastin production can cause the body’s thinner skin to drape, causing your once-wide-open eyes to become hooded.
You’re more likely to develop sores on your skin.
Thanks to health issues, like diabetes and kidney problems, that occur more frequently as you age, in your 50s, you’re more likely to find yourself dealing with lesions on your skin. Unfortunately, for those lacking mobility, this is also the decade when you’re more likely to find yourself confronted with painful sores, as well, as your once-resilient skin becomes thinner and drier.
You’re more affected by environmental pollution.
While environmental pollution is never good for our skin, you’re likely to start seeing more pronounced effects from it as you age. Unfortunately, as your skin loses elasticity, your pores become noticeably larger, a condition made even more pronounced by environmental pollutants that can lead to clogged pores and inflammation.