The Best Clean Skincare Products to Try If You're Over 40

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person wearing robe and hair in towel looking in mirror
Getty / Vesnaandjic

Clean beauty has been—and continues to be—on the rise. This makes sense, especially if we consider the increased attention we pay to ingredient lists in all areas of our lives, from our housekeeping regimens to our grocery lists. This awareness is a good thing, says cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Michele Green, since the ingredients in the products we apply to our faces and bodies can seep into our skin and potentially travel through our bloodstream, affecting more than just our outer appearance over time. "Some skincare products can also cause irritation, allergic reactions, breathing problems, reproductive harm, and even cancer," she warns. "So, it is important to be aware of the ingredients before you purchase any item—whether it be lotion, face wash, or a deodorant."

The solution is (relatively) simple: Stock your routine with clean products—but do so carefully. Since there isn't a tried-and-true definition of "clean" skincare (or a regulatory board that distributes the label, for that matter, explains Dr. Sheila Farhang), board-certified dermatologist Dr. Marisa Garshick says that you need to use discretion when you shop. Instead, look for products packed with powerful, but safe natural actives if you're interested in a greener routine. "Many brands that consider themselves 'clean' are often free of ingredients such as parabens, phthalates, sulfates, silicones, formaldehydes, mineral oil, synthetic fragrance, and more," Dr. Garshick explains of this vague beauty category. Dr. Farhang adds not to equate paraben- or preservative-free, however, with good for you ("Without preservatives, our skin care products can grow bacteria, fungi, and other sorts of nasty stuff that cause bad things to happen such as infections and skin reactions," she says). Instead, take a scientific approach and surf the Environmental Working Group's (EWG's) SkinDeep Database for ingredient safety before you buy.

Because of this buzzy label, there are a myriad of clean formulas on the market—but it's arguably the most difficult to parse through those in the anti-aging category (since we so often associate these workhorse products with manufactured chemicals!). To better understand the natural side of the anti-aging beauty sphere, we worked with a number of leading dermatologists, who shared several of their favorite clean products—from cleansers and treatments to moisturizers and serums—for aging skin. You'll find several of their recommendations on the slides ahead.

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Tatcha The Dewy Serum Resurfacing and Plumping Treatment
Courtesy of Sephora

Cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Michele Green applauds Japanese skincare brand Tatcha for its clean, non-comedogenic formulas—and this newly-launched anti-aging treatment, which uses lactic acid, hyaluronic acid, and squalane to soften fine lines, lives up to the company's legacy.

Shop Now: Tatcha The Dewy Serum Resurfacing and Plumping Treatment, $88,

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Supergoop! Superscreen Daily Moisturizer SPF 40
Courtesy of Dermstore

No anti-aging skincare routine is complete without sunscreen. This one happens to be one of board-certified dermatologist Dr. Nina Desai's favorites. "The lightweight moisturizer with SPF 40 goes on smoothly, leaving no chalkiness or white cast and is great for everyday protection for all skin types," she says. "After all, an effective SPF is, and will always be, the best anti-aging product."

Shop Now: Supergoop! Superscreen Daily Moisturizer SPF 40, $38,

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Farmacy Whipped Greens Oil-Free Foaming Cleanser With Moringa and Papaya
Courtesy of JC Penny

If your skin has become oilier over time (this can happen!), Avant Dermatology & Aesthetics founder Dr. Sheila Farhang's lead and scoop up this oil-free cleanser. Where moringa seed extract reverses the effects of free radicals, papaya enzyme and green clay absorb impurities and gently exfoliate pores to help balance oil production.

Shop Now: Farmacy Whipped Greens Oil-Free Foaming Cleanser with Moringa and Papaya, $28,

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Glow Recipe

Glow Recipe Papaya Sorbet Enzyme Cleansing Balm
Courtesy of Sephora

"This cleansing balm—designed to help remove excess oil, makeup, and dirt—is formulated with papaya enzymes to gently exfoliate and improve skin tone and texture, as well as blueberry extracts which are rich in antioxidants to help fight free-radical damage and combat signs of aging and brighten the skin," Dr. Marisa Garshick shares.

Shop Now: Glow Recipe Papaya Sorbet Enzyme Cleansing Balm, $32,

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Sunday Riley

Sunday Riley Good Genes All-in-One Lactic Acid Treatment
Courtesy of Ulta

Beloved by thousands, it's no wonder that Dr. Green considers this to be one of the best clean anti-aging treatments on the market. "It contains anti-aging lactic acid and licorice, both of which help reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation," she shares.

Shop Now: Sunday Riley Good Genes All-in-One Lactic Acid Treatment, $122,

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Glo Skin Beauty

Glo Skin Beauty Pro 5 Liquid Exfoliant
Courtesy of Amazon

Adding chemical exfoliants into your anti-aging routine is a must. "This is the perfect combination of alpha hydroxy acids and polyhydroxy acids that gently help the skin turn over and look brighter and more youthful," Dr. Desai says.

Shop Now: Glo Skin Beauty Pro 5 Liquid Exfoliant, $56,

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ILIA Super Serum Skin Tint SPF 40
Courtesy of Credo Beauty

Prefer a protective serum to a creamier SPF? Bookmark this skin tint, which doubles as nourishing skincare and makeup, says Dr. Garshick, who loves the zinc oxide-, hyaluronic acid-, squalane-, and niacinamide-rich formula for mature skin. "It also comes in so many shades, making it easy to find a shade that matches your skin tone," she says.

Shop Now: ILIA Super Serum Skin Tint SPF 40, $46,

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Herbivore Botanicals

Herbivore Botanicals Emerald 100mg CBD Deep Moisture Glow Oil
Courtesy of Nordstrom

If your skin has become drier over time, Dr. Green says this ultra-hydrating oil is worth a try. The hemp- and adaptogen-infused formula works to address dryness, dullness, and redness, making way for a more radiant complexion.

Shop Now: Herbivore Botanicals Emerald 100mg CBD Deep Moisture Glow Oil, $58,

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Youth To The People

Youth To The People 15% Vitamin C + Clean Caffeine Energy Serum
Courtesy of Sephora

Dr. Farhang says, on the whole, Youth To The People is a clean beauty brand to know about—and this caffeine-infused vitamin C serum is of particular interest, thanks to its brightening and de-puffing abilities.

Shop Now: Youth To The People 15% Vitamin C + Clean Caffeine Energy Serum, $68,

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Romer Treat Day and Night Treatment
Courtesy of Romer

If you have sensitive skin, Dr. Garshick says this twice-per-day cream is for you. "It uses a combination of bakuchiol, niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and squalane to both hydrate and soothe the skin," she begins. "Bakuchiol, thought to be a natural alternative to retinol, can be helpful for anti-aging, as well as skin cell turnover and is an especially great option for someone with sensitive skin who can't otherwise tolerate a retinol."

Shop Now: Romer Treat Day and Night Treatment, $74.50,

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Osea Anti-Aging Body Balm
Courtesy of Ulta

Remember, the skin on your face isn't the only area of your body to pay attention to. So, put this Dr. Farhang-approved clean beauty brand on your radar and stock up on their body balm.

Shop Now: Osea Anti-Aging Body Balm, $48,

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Biossance Squalane + 10% Lactic Acid Resurfacing Night Serum
Courtesy of Sephora

Here's another clean, gentle exfoliant to help you care for your skin as you age. "This gentle exfoliator really helps to smooth out the tone and texture of the skin without causing irritation," Dr. Desai says.

Shop Now: Biossance Squalane + 10% Lactic Acid Resurfacing Night Serum, $62,

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