How To Care For Your Skin In Your 30s

by Gio

skincare routine in your 30s

I swear, when I hit the big 3-0, my skin turned on me.

All my life, I just had to worry about the odd pimple here and there. Annoying, sure – but not a big deal.

Then, I turn 30 and everything goes south.

Fine lines and crow’s feet pop up out of nowhere. The natural glow is gone. Everything feels a little rougher and like’s not working properly, you know what I mean?

It’s like you go to the bed looking like a teen and wake up aged 20 years. It all happened so slowly you didn’t even notice.

Now everything’s catching up with you and you need to up your skincare game before it’s too late.

It’s time. Time to bring out the big anti-aging guns and tweak your skincare routine to the new needs of your skin.

Don’t know how? Here’s how to care for your skin in 30s:

1. Use a gentle cleanser That Won’t Strip Skin

Did you know your skin tends to get drier as you get older?

Any cleanser that leaves it tight, dry and squeaky clean is out of the question now. Instead, opt for low ph, moisturising formulas that remove all traces of makeup and dirt without stripping your skin bare of the natural oils it needs to stay healthy.

Best Picks:

Shop Cleansers

Related: How To Choose The Best Cleanser For Your Skin Type

2. Add Niacinamide To Treat… Everything

Think of niacinamide as the jolly of your skincare routine.

It doesn’t matter what skin woe or problem you have, niacinamide can fix it. Here’s what studies prove it can do:

Told you, it did everything! No matter what your skin type is, it’s a must for everyone:

  • Dry skin: it helps keep it soft and hydrated
  • Oily skin: it helps shrink large pores and heal pimples faster
  • Sensitive skin: it helps soothe redness and irritations
  • Mature, sun-damaged skin: it helps lighten dark spots and keep wrinkles at bay

Best Picks:

Shop Niacinamide Skincare Products

Related: Spotlight On Niacinamide: Why You Need To Add It To Your Skincare Routine ASAP

3. Prevent wrinkles with antioxidants

You know what they say, prevention is better than cure.

Antioxidants are key in preventing wrinkles. They patrol your skin looking for free radicals to neutralise before they have the chance to wreak their havoc, destroy your collagen and give you wrinkles.

I’m a fan of CEF: vitamin C + vitamin E + ferulic acid. Studies show that, when used together, these 3 antioxidants supercharge each other and destroy even more free radicals.

But that doesn’t mean you should stick to that. As a rule, I make sure all my skincare products have a few antioxidants. Green tea. Coenzyme Q10. Quercetin.

The more antioxidants you use, the more wrinkles you prevent.

Best Picks:

Shop Antioxidant Serums

Related: Common Antioxidants Found In Skincare Products

4. Bust Wrinkles with Retinol

Truth bomb: vitamin A is the ONLY thing proven to really reduce wrinkles.

The most common form of retinol you’ll find in skincare products is retinol. It works in three ways:

  1. Boost the production of collagen, the protein that keeps skin firm
  2. Destroys free radicals before they give you wrinkles
  3. Speeds up cellular turnover,  the skin’s natural exfoliating process

The catch? Retinol can seriously dry out and irritate your skin.

If you’ve never used it before, you can’t go out, but a 1% retinol serum and use it daily. It’ll destroy your skin and dry out like crazy (and that makes wrinkles look worse).

Instead, start with the smallest concentration you can find. Use it twice a week. Build up concentration and frequency from there. You’ll get all the benefits without the side effects.

Best Picks:

Shop Retinol Serum

Related: What Strength Of Retinol Should You Use?

5. Exfoliate with Acids To Get Your Glow Back

Did you know that when you’re young, your skin’s always exfoliating on its own?

But as you get older, it starts to slack on the job. That’s when you come in. You need an exfoliating acid to speed things up and give you that glow back.

Exfoliating acids dissolve the glue that hold skin cells together. Once that top layer of dead cells is off, your skin looks softer, smoother and brighter.

You have 3 options here, depending on your skin type:

But… there’s a catch. Exfoliating acids are like retinol. A little gives you glowing, younger-looking skin. A lot dries it out. Use them only 2 or 3 times a week.

Best Picks:

Shop Exfoliants

Related: AHAs VS BHA: Which One Should You Use?

6. Don’t forget the sunscreen To Keep Wrinkles Away

Everything I’ve told you so far is useless IF you skip sunscreen.

Here’s the deal: UV rays are to blame for up to 90% of premature wrinkles and dark spots.

You can use all the best anti-aging products in the world, but if you skip sunscreen, they won’t be able to deal with the damage fast enough.

UV rays can penetrate through clouds and windows and be reflected on snow. Wear your sunscreen. Every. Single. Day.

Best Picks:

  • Drunk Elephant Umbra Tinte Physical Daily Defense Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 30 ($34.00):available at Sephora
  • EltaMD UV Pure Broad-Spectrum SPF 47 ($25.00): available at Dermstore and Walmart
  • Niod Survival 30 (£25.00): available at Beauty Bay, Cult Beauty, Feel Unique and Net-A-Porter
  • Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection SPF 50 Sunscreen + WetForce For Sensitive Skin & Children ($42.00): available at  Nordstrom and Ulta

Shop Sunscreens

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Do you have any more tips on how to take care of your skin in your ’30s?



Allison March 26, 2014 - 4:28 pm

Excellent advice! I use Regenerist moisturizer at night most nights along with a retinol product. I just started using a glycol acid toner to try to help reduce my sun damage, but I can only use it every other night. From 6 months of using the retinol, I can see that some of the spots are reducing. Wish I hadn’t spent so much time in my teens and 20s in the sun without sunscreen!

Gio March 26, 2014 - 8:45 pm

Allison, it’s a shame that we weren’t told how important sunscreen was back then, isn’t it? But I’m glad that retinol is working so well for you, and, now that you’d added glycolic acid to your skincare routine, hopefully you’ll get even better results. 🙂

Poonpo January 6, 2015 - 5:01 am

I never forget the SUNSCREEN 😀 that is always in my purse 😀

Gio January 6, 2015 - 2:03 pm

Poonpo, smart girl! That is so important! 🙂

Mom In Nevada July 17, 2016 - 9:59 pm

Thanks for all the info on your blog. I’m heading into my 40s and finally learning about skin care and anti aging products.
Could you please post your favorite products and order of daily application for 40s age group with emphasis on anti aging? I am overwhelmed with what to use and when. I have somewhat dry skin.
Some of your articles were from several years ago. I’d love to see a regularly updated favorite products list somewhere! Thanks so much!

Gio July 31, 2016 - 7:18 pm

Mom in Nevada, I will definitely do a post about this soon. In the meantime, have you checked out this post about the right order to apply skincare products?

As for my fave products, I love anything from Drunk Elephant and Paula’s Choice at the moment. I particularly recommend their VItamin C and retinol serums as well as glycolic acid exfoliants for anti-aging.


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