Gentle Skin Care for Older Adults - Tips for Troubled Senior Skin

by Linda Robison

Skin care for older adults: How do you treat wrinkles and pimples at the same time?

Choosing treatments for facial aging is hard enough, but when you’re also struggling with common skin problems like acne, blackheads, or rosacea it can be frustrating.

In this article we’ll identify common conditions affecting older adults and the skin care solutions available with an emphasis on gentle treatment for skin showing signs of aging like lines and wrinkles.

Skin care tips for seniors - Research is moving forward

Finding skin care products that won’t irritate aging, sensitive or fragile skin is important. But sometimes it can be difficult.

WHY? Because older adults (especially women) were not the typical target demographic for skin care products… Until now.

Research is starting to move in the right direction. As the population ages, many skin care companies are doing more testing to find skin care solutions for older adults.

Below you'll find gentle solutions and tips for troubled senior skin.


According to the Rosacea Organization, people 50 and over are likely to experience more severe rosacea symptoms than younger adults.

While it can develop in both men and women of all races and ages, it appears most frequently in middle-aged or elderly adults. Older women with fair complexions may be the largest group affected with rosacea.

Rosacea gradually worsens with age, especially if untreated. In small studies, many rosacea sufferers have reported that without treatment their condition had advanced from early to middle stage within a year. Rosacea commonly affects the middle part of the face, especially around the nose.

If you ever suffered from blushing or flushed skin, red blotches, and small pimple like bumps on the face – consider that it could be rosacea.

Click here to read more to read about causes, treatments and skin care tips for rosacea.


The type of blackhead pimples discussed here is the non-inflammatory type of acne common in adults, unlike the typical inflammatory acne usually seen during teenage years caused by excess oil production and hormonal fluctuations.

In older adults, blackheads can develop due to many years of chronic sun exposure. Sun exposure disrupts the skin, causing oil to get trapped in the glands, according to Dr. Sandra Lee (Dr. Pimple Popper). 

Whitehead vs Blackhead vs Pimple – What’s the difference? Whiteheads and blackheads are both forms of acne pimples.

Blackheads – are called open comedo. It appears as a small black plug inside an open pore. This is not dirt, it’s just oxidized, hardened oil that’s turned black from oxidation due to expose to oxygen. 

Whiteheads – called closed comedo look like a tiny white bumps under the skin. This is basically a clogged pore that is covered over by the skin and can’t react to oxygen, which is why it's not black.

Read about blackhead removal and skin care for older adults.

Acne and aging skin 

While not as common as rosacea, adult acne, including pimples and breakouts, seems to affect mostly women over 50.

At this age, acne is often referred to as "hormonal pimples" because this is the time when most women beging to experience a shift or decrease in hormone levels which can disrupt the skin's natural oil balance.

Keep in mind, this type of breakout is different from rosacea pimples, and it's important to make sure you do not have rosacea before embarking on a mission to clear up pimples and breakouts. 

Anti-aging acne treatment

While it may be hard to see the upside to treating pimples and comedones (tiny bumps under skin caused by clogged hair follicles) when you're over 50, you can take comfort in knowing that many of today's acne treatment products can also be effective for treating aging skin like wrinkles and discoloration. 

Also, some studies suggest that those who have suffered acne through their adult life may have a protective factor against skin aging later in life.

Click here for some great tips and product breakdowns and natural at-home treatments for aging skin with acne.

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