The skin naturally undergoes many changes as we age.
When you say goodbye to your 20s and welcome a new decade of life, it is time to start paying closer attention to the skincare habits you have and the products you rely on.
When you reach 30, your hormone levels start changing and therefore you will notice how your skin starts to change too.
A decrease of collagen and elastin begins and your skin will start looking thinner and more fragile and will begin to sag. Cell turnover also decreases, which means that your fine lines and wrinkles will become more prominent.
This means that dead skin cells start accumulating on the surface of the skin as new cells are now visible every 28-35 days unlike when you were in your 20s.
This accumulation of dead skin cells on the surface of the skin will interfere with light reflection, and this will lead your skin to become more prone to discoloration and loss of radiance and glow.
While your skin is going through a transition during this time, you may find yourself experiencing more dryness and irritation even if your skin was previously on the oily side.
This is the time when you will start to see the results of the efforts you did for your skin back when you were in your 20s.
It really doesn’t have to be.
While you cannot reverse age-related skin changes, you can absolutely slow down the aging process by taking good care of yourself and your skin.
Taking good care of yourself really just means avoiding the bad stuff such as alcohol, cigarettes, stress, lack of sleep, etc and replace them with regular exercise, healthy diet, good water intake, and decent sleep.
But when it comes to your skincare regimen and the products you are using, the main goal is to keep your skin toned, well moisturized, and protected, and there is absolutely no reason for overusing different products and overcomplicating your routine with that.
Your skincare routine will eventually become more complicated than how it was in your 20s when removing your makeup with wet wipes was totally fine (nope, it wasn’t), and going to bed without moisturizing didn’t matter (oh, but it did).
But you can always take it slowly and add one product at a time instead of buying a bunch of new products you have no clue what to do with.
Not sure what I mean by that? Let me make it simple for you.
Here’s the recommended skincare routine to follow in your 30s:
Cleansing is important for removing any skincare products or makeup that was applied during the day, as well as to remove the deposits of natural skin oils, pollutants, and accumulation of bacteria.
By cleansing and removing all these invisible barriers, you will allow the following skincare products to penetrate deeper into the skin and deliver the active ingredients more effectively.
If your skin has always been on the dry side, chances are that the dryness might slightly worsen as you enter your 30s. At this point, it might not be such a bad idea to skip the morning cleanse and incorporate this step in your evening routine instead.
You can probably get away with only swiping a damp cotton disk with a gentle and hydrating toner across your face in the morning. A toner will balance the pH level of your skin and it will remove any residue of products and sweat from throughout the night.
If your skin has always been oily, you will probably notice a mild difference as your skin will slowly start to lean towards the dry side as you enter your 30s.
This varies from person to person so your skin will probably become combination at first.
If the oiliness is still there and it doesn’t seem like it will be going anywhere anytime soon, then cleansing your face two times a day is recommended to keep the excess oil at bay and avoid breaking out even in your 30s.
Cleansers with a high pH like soaps tend to be very harsh and this can leave your skin dry, dehydrated and vulnerable to irritation.
You will want to use a gentler cleanser to preserve the natural moisture barrier of your skin so opting for a cleanser with lower pH instead is recommendable as these work better in maintaining optimal skin balance.
This might be the time where you will consider investing in a good cleanser that besides being non-irritating, it will also have hydrating properties and ingredients that will nurture your skin.
During this time, skin loses moisture more easily and it absorbs products more eagerly, so to say. In this case, it is good to have a hydrating toner that will boost hydration and deliver that feeling of refreshed and nourished skin.
Remember to avoid products that contain known irritants such as strong perfumes, fragrant components, and drying alcohols as these might lead to an unwanted reaction.
Toners can help close pores and tighten cell gaps after cleansing. While some toners moisturize the skin, there are the ones that are humectants and these contain hyaluronic acid.
This means that they help to bind moisture into the skin. This will result in a smoother, firmer, more plump, and healthy-looking skin.
3. Antioxidant serum
As you age, you may notice that the skin takes longer to recuperate and this is due to the cell turnover process slowing down.
It will start to take longer for the cells to replace themselves and correct the damage done to our skin by daily pollutants.
This may be a good time you should start to consider incorporating an antioxidant serum in addition to protecting your skin with sunscreen and a moisturizer.
This will add an extra layer of protection, and we can’t have enough of that, can we?
An antioxidant that you should definitely keep on your radar is Vitamin C as multiple studies have shown that this vitamin works by neutralizing the free radicals that are created by the sun and environmental pollution.
Vitamin C promotes collagen production and may prevent skin from sagging as collagen is the protein that keeps our skin plump and supple.
It is a powerful antioxidant that helps in fading dark spots and pigmentation caused by sun damage. It has a brightening effect that reduces dullness and gives the skin a youthful glow.
Vitamin C serum is normally recommended to be applied in the mornings so it can efficiently protect your skin throughout the day, but it is also safe to be used at night.
Vitamin C serum shouldn’t be used before or after applying Vitamin A (Retinol) as a reaction is most possible to occur or after applying Vitamin B3 (Niacinamide) which can potentially neutralize the effects of Vitamin C.
The next challenge in the anti-aging game incorporating a retinol product into your routine in addition to antioxidant treatment.
Nothing supports cell turnover better than retinoids.
Retinoids are a big family of compounds that are derivatives of Vitamin A that support collagen cells in their quest for plump and healthy skin.
Besides being an anti-aging powerhouse, retinol can reduce blemishes and acne breakouts by unclogging keratin plugs in the follicle.
It boosts cell regeneration to even out uneven skin tone and pigmentation left from acne and sun damage and targets premature signs of aging like fine lines and wrinkles.
The ideal age to start using retinol is your mid-20s, but it is absolutely one of the essentials in your 30s when collagen naturally starts to decline.
Retinol should be used in the evening and depending on the retinol it should usually be applied after toning your skin.
You should always use retinol carefully as there are some not so desirable effects that can happen when starting to use this product.
Your skin may react in dryness, peeling, redness and mild to moderate irritation. While most of these side effects normally subside as your skin starts to build a tolerance to retinol it is always good to be cautious about where and how you apply it.
For example, if used too close to the mouth area, your lips may become dry and even chapped.
There is a very useful hack on how to apply retinol and it is made by a brand I truly believe and swear by. Medik8 is a brand that has the absolute best retinoids currently on the market, and this is their famous retinol ladder:
5. Eye cream
The skin around the eyes is the most sensitive area of your face and will be the first are of most prominent signs of aging.
This is one step that we all seem to forget about and skip from time to time just because we don’t feel like it or we just feel like it doesn’t do that much for our skin.
The truth is that most of the time a pricey eye cream has the exact same ingredients your normal face moisturizer has so it’s only natural that you feel like you are spending double the money on the same product.
The skin around your eyes ages faster than the rest of your face because it is 40% thinner than any other part of your face, so the main difference between eye creams and face moisturizers is that former contains less aggravating chemicals than the latter.
For one, active ingredients such as retinol appear in significantly lower concentrations so it’s less irritating to the eye area. Besides that, eye creams are almost always fragrance-free, which is another bonus.
A popular ingredient that often appears in eye creams is caffeine which stimulates blood flow immediately when applied topically.
There are many claims that eye creams simply don’t work, and while nobody can say they do absolute miracles, thinking that they do nothing for the most delicate area is a mistake.
The signs of aging appear most prominent around the eyes as this is the least elastic area of your face which means that facial expressions affect it and cause it to wrinkle.
In your 30s (and any other decade) a moisturizer is an absolute must.
Moisturizers give nourishment to our skin and prevent it from drying out as dry air and daily pollution can greatly dehydrate our skin and strip it of lipids, which are part of its protective outer layer.
When the skin’s barrier is compromised and the skin becomes dry, this can result in breaking down of collagen and accelerated aging as well as irritation.
Even if your skin tends to be on the oily side, you should never skip on your moisturizer. You just need to find the right one for you.
When you hit 30, your skin becomes highly susceptible to fine lines.
Another common problem that starts developing at about this time is melasma. These are usually irregular areas of increased pigmentation, not raised above the skin’s surface and may be caused by the contraceptive pill, pregnancy and (of course) sun damage.
If you are especially pigment-prone, you will need all the sun protection you can get.
The sun is a number one factor for any skin conditions from freckles, light or severe discolouration, hyperpigmentation to the destruction of the collagen and elastin tissue and the scariest and fatal: skin cancer.
Physical sunscreens that contain zinc oxide and titanium dioxide generally do a better job of protecting your skin as they are usually formulated to protect from both UVB rays (the ones that burn the skin) and UVA (the ones that age the skin).
Re-apply your sunscreen every two hours for optimal protection when prolonging your time on the sun.
Exfoliating your skin regularly can help boost cell turnover as well as aid the natural process of shedding billions of dead skin cells.
Exfoliation makes your skin look younger, improves the radiance of your complexion, and improves overall skin health.
There are two ways of exfoliation and these are chemical exfoliants or physical scrubs.
While scrubs can do wonders in improving your complexion in your 20s, you may want to consider moving on to chemical exfoliation once you hit 30.
Although chemically exfoliating your skin might sound scary, these are, in fact, much easier on the skin as they are formulated to gently dissolve the bonds that hold dead skin cells together.
Chemical exfoliators also go deeper within the skin than scrubs do, so they produce much better results with no risks of damaging the skin if not overdone.
There are two types of chemical exfoliants: Alpha hydroxy acids & beta hydroxy acid (AHAs & BHAs).
The two most popular AHAs are glycolic and lactic acids while the only BHA refers to salicylic acid. Both are highly effective methods of exfoliation and they have a few shared benefits and similar effects.
Exfoliating two times a week in your 30s will give your skin a healthy glow as well as diminish the early signs of aging.
One skincare tool that you should consider adopting against skin aging is a mask.
Sheet masks, for example, are pretty mild and are known for their hydrating properties, therefore, every once in a while, you can indulge in the benefits of these hydrating products you can’t go wrong with.
Having a decent skincare regimen is important in every decade, but especially in your 30s.
This is the time when you will start noticing changes in your skin and meeting these changes prepared will promote healthier skin and keep the premature signs of aging at bay.
Thanks for stopping by! My name is Simone and I am a certified skin specialist. I created this website to teach my readers how to take great care of their skin and I also like to occasionally share my honest opinions on skincare products I’ve tried. You can learn more about me here.