I have friends who have just started following a basic skincare routine in their 30s. I got into it way earlier than most people. But guess what, it doesn’t matter. You’re never too old to start taking care of your skin. So if you’re wondering what you can do to help your skin improve and don’t want to miss out, I’ve put together everything you need to know.
But here’s the thing. Skincare works only when you know what you’re doing. Let me elaborate. I’m in my late 30s and even though I took relatively good care of my skin in my 20s, I started to get better results from my skincare routine in my 30s. Why? Because I became more mindful of the products I use and I knew what my skin needed.
Skincare is not slathering your face with the most expensive products. It’s giving your skin what it needs. And that’s what I’m going to focus on. Below is a brief information on how our skin changes in our 30s and why skincare matters. After that, I’ll help you with what kind of products to prioritize, and a step-by-step skincare routine you can follow in your 30s.
Why Is Skincare Important in Your 30s?
Our skin changes as we age, so its needs change accordingly. Its integrity is compromised in multiple ways. A good skincare routine should help you treat some of the most common skin issues you deal with while preventing or at least delaying the formation of wrinkles.
As you climb up the ladder in your thirties, your cell turnover slows down. The production of collagen and elastin is slower, causing fine lines, wrinkles, and a loss of firmness in the skin (1). Your skin takes forever to renew.
Plus, years of unprotected sun exposure wreak havoc on your skin. The damage manifests itself in the form of dehydrated and dull skin with dark spots popping up everywhere.
As your skin gets drier, it will get thinner throughout your 30s, making lines more apparent. And dynamic wrinkles turn into static wrinkles and gradually settle on your face (2).
Phew! OK, this was the bad news. Here’s the good news. For some reason, you’ll look a lot better than you looked in your 20s. Because your facial features have settled and you’ve grown into your skin.
And your skin responds to your care and the products you use. So, no worries! It’s only a matter of dedication to regain that plump, youthful, and glowing skin.
What Is a Good Skincare Routine For 30-Year-Olds?
First of all, a good skincare routine for 30-year-olds is all about anti-aging. For example, while a typical early 20-something can base her skincare around minimizing acne and oil, a skincare routine for 30-year-olds is usually about treating and preventing wrinkles. But anti-aging is a very broad term. So here are the most important elements of a good skincare routine for your 30s (3).
As I mentioned, our skin tends to become drier as we age. And that calls for proper hydration even if you don’t necessarily have dry skin.
For that reason, include hydration in your routine in the form of a hydrating face serum or a hydrating toner as well as a moisturizer suitable for your skin type.
Antioxidants refer to ingredients that treat and prevent skin damage caused by oxidative stress, which usually refers to sun damage and pollution (4).
Some antioxidants you can use in your routine are vitamin C, vitamin E, resveratrol, and green tea. These ingredients make the best anti-aging serums for your 30s.
Because our skin turnover rate is slower, dead skin cells build up on the skin surface, giving us a dull complexion. They can also clog your pores, give you acne, and make the skin texture rough.
By prioritizing exfoliation in your 30s, you can manage those skin concerns. You can try at-home peels made with glycolic acid or lactic acid once or twice a week. You can also use exfoliating cleansers, toners, and even face masks.
Retinol is one of the most effective anti-aging ingredients you can make use of in your 30s. Some people love it but some people just can’t make it work.
But as long as you start with a gentle formulation, and slowly introduce retinol into your routine, you can absolutely make it work!
You can use a nightly serum or a nightly retinol cream. There are even daily anti-aging creams made with retinol you can use during the day.
We deal with fine lines around the eyes which are commonly referred to as crow’s feet. We also deal with dehydrated skin around the eyes, which makes dark circles more prominent.
Other concerns we deal with are puffiness and under-eye bags. A good potent eye cream can help you minimize those skin concerns by addressing them with the help of several active ingredients such as vitamin C, vitamin K, or peptides.
Unfortunately, it’s not just the skin on your face, but also on your body. Remember that we also have neck wrinkles, hyperpigmentation on the chest, and skin dryness and flakiness all over.
So don’t keep the good stuff just for your face. Include neck care, and hand care in your routine, and focus on body care for 30s skin to be thorough.
Sun protection is the most important aspect of a good skincare routine for 30-somethings. It’s for preventing further skin damage, which causes rough skin texture, more prominent wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, and loose skin.
So no matter what you do, make sun protection a priority. Invest in a good formula that you’ll like to wear rain and shine.
Morning Skincare Routine For 30s Skin
1. Cleanse gently
In the morning, you don’t need to double cleanse. There’s no heavy makeup to get rid of. Just wash your face with a gentle cleanser to remove residual skincare from the night before. Lately, I’ve discovered that non-foaming cleansers are great morning cleansers.
Your skin is now clean and fresh. So it’s very vulnerable and the skin absorbance is higher. It’s the perfect time to apply the lightest skincare products. Toners are water-based products that absorb easily.
They are supporting products that turn your skincare routine into a more targeted one. Some anti-aging toners even work as hard as serums! After cleansing, apply a toner to add a layer of hydration and balance the skin’s pH.
3. Apply an antioxidant serum
Now is the perfect time to slather on the actives. It’s not just your body’s metabolism that slows down as you age. Your skin also has its own metabolism that works relatively slower after you hit your 30s.
Because of that, it takes longer for your skin to heal, rejuvenate, and produce collagen. Antioxidants are incredibly helpful in restarting the process.
There are some amazing anti-aging ingredients you should seriously consider in your 30s. But for daytime, focus on a face serum that has vitamin C, green tea, or any other antioxidants.
4. Apply eye cream
Use an anti-wrinkle eye cream. Make sure your hands are clean and free of other residual skincare products. Be very gentle and just pat the product onto the skin.
You don’t want to accelerate the formation of fine lines. If you can afford to be extra, use a hydrating eye cream for your 30s in the morning and keep hardworking heavy stuff for the night routine.
Up until this step, you’ve applied lightweight products. Those are meant to penetrate the deepest compared to creamy products. Moisturizers, by definition, cannot penetrate as deep as a serum. But you still need to externally hydrate your skin.
Remember that there are different types of moisturizers. No matter what your skin type is, a good moisturizer for your 30s contains both humectants and emollients. Don’t forget the neck area!
6. Apply sunscreen
SPF is an essential step in your skincare routine in your 30s. Other products improve your current complexion. But SPF is the only long-term game that can actually prevent wrinkles. Don’t forget to apply sunscreen on your hands and chest.
Evening Skincare Routine For 30s Skin
1. Double cleanse
By double cleansing, you can seriously turn your facial cleansing into a nourishing step. First of all, by using an oil cleanser to get rid of the makeup, you prevent excessively pulling and tugging your skin.
Second of all, oil cleansers are full of nutrients that actually care for the skin and don’t dry it out. And lastly, your second cleanser is less likely to irritate your skin. So, remove your makeup with an oil or balm cleanser. And then wash your face with your regular cleanser.
2. Apply treatments
As your evening cleansing is more nourishing than your morning cleansing, you can skip using a toner. If you’re using an anti-aging toner, go ahead and use it. But know that your pH is fine and you can just skip to more concentrated products.
Now that you have more time to layer products, bring out the big guns. You can pop open a vitamin C capsule and then coat it with an anti-aging night serum packed with peptides.
Or you can skip the middleman and try an anti-aging night serum made with retinol. It’s one of the most effective anti-aging skincare ingredients to tackle wrinkles and lines.
Also, take your time with it. Use a Jade roller to increase circulation and make your products absorb better.
3. Apply eye cream
This is a no-brainer. Don’t forget to apply your eye cream before bed. Hydrated and plump skin around the eyes is less likely to show signs of aging.
But as you (hopefully) have a long night ahead, you can try something more powerful like a retinol eye cream. You can also consider eye serums. Just like face serums, they’ll be more concentrated and effective.
4. Apply night cream
Now that we’re being anti-aging, retinol is vital! It has to be somewhere in your routine. A retinol night cream is a perfect addition to an anti-aging skincare routine in your 30s. The only important thing is not using different actives that might increase sensitivity when paired together.
So if you’re using a night serum with botanical antioxidants, you can use a night cream with retinol. Or if you’re using a retinol night serum, try a more restorative night cream made with non-irritating actives like niacinamide or ceramides.
These days, as someone in her late 30s, I like to keep my night cream pretty simple. I use different treatment serums made with active ingredients. Then I apply a rich night cream made with mostly botanicals to seal moisture in.
Gone are the times when you were able to get away with a single skincare routine. This is the decade where you seriously take care of your skin day and night. The good thing is skincare works as long as you properly do it.
Remember, gentle exfoliation ensures new cell regeneration and it’s an essential part of your skincare routine in your 30s. Depending on your routine, use a chemical exfoliant, such as peels, pads, and serums, on the days you don’t use other sensitizing actives.
You’re in your 30s now. Other than wine and skincare, what else is there to splurge on? Skincare tools are great investments. They’re perfect for amping up cleansing, increasing circulation, and lymph drainage.
To supercharge your routine, indulge in binge masking with anti-aging face masks for 30s skin and wrinkle patches, and try a monthly facial. Consider anti-aging treatments like peels, lasers, and non-invasive procedures like Botox and fillers.
Now, if you’ve got the gist, I’ve put together the best skincare products to use in your 30s and included the very essentials to give you an idea about what kind of products to look for.
On the flip side, if this all sounds too much and you want only the absolute minimum, no worries. Here’s a minimalist skincare routine for your 30s that involves only the very basic steps you can easily follow every day.
Read Next: The Best Skincare Tools For Your 30s
- Chaudhary, M., Khan, A., & Gupta, M. (2020). Skin Ageing: Pathophysiology and Current Market Treatment Approaches. Current aging science, 13(1), 22–30. https://doi.org/10.2174/1567205016666190809161115
- Kuwazuru, O., Miyamoto, K., Yoshikawa, N. and Imayama, S. (2012), Skin wrinkling morphology changes suddenly in the early 30s. Skin Res Technol, 18: 495-503. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1600-0846.2011.00598.x
- Ganceviciene, R., Liakou, A. I., Theodoridis, A., Makrantonaki, E., & Zouboulis, C. C. (2012). Skin anti-aging strategies. Dermato-endocrinology, 4(3), 308–319. https://doi.org/10.4161/derm.22804
- Zhang, S., & Duan, E. (2018). Fighting against Skin Aging: The Way from Bench to Bedside. Cell transplantation, 27(5), 729–738. https://doi.org/10.1177/0963689717725755