The Best Skincare Routine for Your 30s

The Best Skincare Routine for Your 30s

Ah, youth! You can take a selfie with no make-up and look fabulous, get two hours of sleep and someone asks if you’re a model, drink nothing but coffee and soda and have skin that looks like you see a facialist every week. When you’re in your 20s, it seems like all you have to do is clean your face and you’re good to go.

But then, suddenly…

You hit 30 and things start to change. A little dryness here, a wrinkle there and wait—that’s not sun damage, is it?

Yes, it probably is. Between hormones, pregnancy, sun, diet, the environment, and just…life, your 30s are when you really start seeing significant changes in your skin. Suddenly fine lines and wrinkles, uneven skin tone, and dryness are like new vocabulary words which is why you really need to start thinking about the best skincare routine for your 30s.

In this article, we’ll talk about what physical changes occur in your skin in your 30s, how the appearance of your skin will change in your 30s, what lifestyle changes to make in your 30s to make sure your skin is at its best, how to create the best anti-aging skincare routine for your 30s, and what products to use.

Now that you’re in your prime, your skincare should be, too!


Main Takeaways: Your skin starts to change in your 30s, so should your skin care routine. You’ll need to start addressing uneven skin tone, fine lines and wrinkles, and sun damage.

Good to Know: When we’re first born, our skin cells turnover about every 14 days, but by the time we’re in our 30s it can take up to 48 days.

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Skin in Your 30s

There are a number of physical changes your skin will go through in your 30s. Among the main ones to consider are:

1. Your hormones change. If you thought your tween years would be the last time you’d have to deal with hormone issues, think again! Your 30s are when your hormone levels begin to drop and that means your skin can go a little nuts—just like it did when you were 13! As your estrogen diminishes, so can the glow your skin had just a few years ago.
    2. Your skin starts producing less hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid is a sugar found naturally in skin that draws in moisture and helps keep it in. Unfortunately, as we age, we start producing less of it, which is why it should be part of the best skincare routine for your 30s.
      3. Your collagen production decreases. Collagen is a protein that acts as the body’s natural “plumper.” It’s part of what makes your skin look healthy and full.
        4. Your skin’s elasticity decreases. Again, between the decrease in collagen and elastin—another protein found naturally in the skin—your skin won’t bounce back the way it used to—literally.
          5. Your skin will also start regenerating at a much slower rate. When we’re first born, our skin cells turnover about every 14 days, but by the time we’re in our 30s it can take up to 48 days. Don’t feel too bad, though—in your 50s it can take twice that!

            Physical Signs of Aging in Your Skin in Your 30s

            As you can imagine, all those physical changes result in some pretty obvious visual consequences on your skin.

            1. You might notice the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Because you’re producing less of the body’s natural “puffers” like hyaluronic acid and collagen, the lines on your face aren’t being filled in the way they used to. That’s why you might start noticing more and more lines, especially around your eyes, forehead, and mouth.

            2. Your skin tone might become uneven. After the age of 30, melanocytes decrease. These are the cells in your skin that act as the source of melanin, which is essentially the pigment in your skin. Though your skin probably won’t change enough for other people to notice (melanin only decreases by about 8% - 20% every decade once you hit your 30s), you might notice a change, especially when it comes to uneven skin tone.

            3. Your skin feels and looks dryer. This could be due, in part, to the lack of skin regeneration we talked about earlier. Not only does the renewal of cells keep skin looking more radiant, but it also helps keep it less dry by sloughing off the old, dead cells. Now that your skin isn’t regenerating like it used to, those cells are just sitting there, giving your skin a dryer texture.

            4. You might get acne. Hormones are hormones whether you’re 13 or 30, so it’s possible you’ll start to experience some acne issues even if you’ve never experienced any before.

            5. You might start to see sun damage. Remember all those lazy days at the beach when you decided to forgo the sunscreen in favor of getting a great tan? Well, your 30s are when all those gorgeous, golden suntans catch up with you. Visible sun damage is a sign that the UV rays of the sun have, well, literally gotten under your skin, killing your skin cells. Don’t be surprised if you suddenly find you’ve developed some freckles or even a few dark spots in this decade.

            Luckily, some of these issues can be corrected by putting together the best skincare routine for your skin in your 30s.

            Best Skin Care Routine for 30s

            For most people, skincare in their 20s consisted of an impulse purchase of wipes while in line at the drug store, some almost-evaporated toner that came in a promotional bag, and moisturizer samples from fashion magazines. Are we right?

            Well, once you reach your 30s, it’s time to come up with a better plan for your skincare routine!

            Our goal here is to not only keep your skin clean, but enhance it with anti-aging ingredients that specifically fight the ravages and signs of time!

            That said, just because you need to start taking better care of your skin now that you’ve reached your 30s, doesn’t mean your skincare routine has to be complicated! Here’s a simple routine which, when done twice a day, will really ease you into the process of taking great care of your skin!

            1. Cleanser

            Clean your skin twice a day. Once in the morning and once at night. This is kind of a given, but it’s good to remember.

            A non-drying face wash, gentle enough to be used twice daily, is a great way to go. Look for one that’s full of vitamins that nourish your skin like…

            Vitamin A – Full of retinoids and carotenoids which not only reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles but encourage skin renewal.

            Vitamin B2 – Also known as riboflavin, it encourages skin rejuvenation and helps prevent dryness.

            Vitamin B12 – Also known as cobalamin, which helps keep skin healthy as you age.

            Vitamin E – Vitamin E plays a vital role in protecting cells from environmental stressors.

            And for goodness sake, be kind to your skin when you wash it! No need to slap your face with water like you’re putting out a fire! Massage your cleanser into your face gently and remove it with a warm, damp washcloth.

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            2. Toner

            Spritz a little lightweight toner on, preferably one that really hydrates since our skin doesn’t retain moisture like it did in our 20s.

            See if you can find one that contains lecithin which is a fat that helps keep your skin hydrated. Another great toner ingredient is grape seed extract, which is full of the antioxidant, polyphenol. Antioxidants are what fight against environmental stressors that try to damage our skin! Peach extract is also wonderful! It’s full of Vitamin A which helps reduce the appearance of dark spots.

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            3. Serum

            Drop a couple of drops of a good serum on your cheeks, chin, nose, and forehead. Chances are, serums weren’t part of your skincare routine in your 20s, but now that your estrogen is diminished it’s harder to get that glow and serums will help bring it back!

            Try to find a serum full of Vitamin C which not only helps improve hydration, it improves your skin tone as well! Another great ingredient to look for in a serum is hyaluronic acid which locks in moisture and helps keep our skin looking hydrated.

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            4. Eye cream

            Dab a little eye cream above and below your eyes. This is really where those fine lines and wrinkles appear so show this area a little extra love! If you’ve never incorporated eye cream into your skincare routine before, the best way to use it is to use your ring finger to avoid pulling the skin.

            A great ingredient to look for in eye cream is squalene, which delivers a Muhammad Ali-level punch to environmental stressors that age your skin. Also, check for chamomile, which is said to really help diminish the look of those dark, under eye circles!

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            5. Moisturizer

            As we mentioned above, the older you get, the less hyaluronic acid your skin produces which means your skin holds less moisture. Because of that, finding a moisturizer that not only adds moisture, but really, really locks it in is crucial!

            One key ingredient to look for in moisturizer is ceramides. Those are waxy lipids found naturally in skin that hold in moisture, giving it a young, healthy look. Another great moisturizing ingredient is jojoba oil which not only boosts rejuvenation, but protects against environmental stressors.

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            6. Sunscreen

            Now’s the time. Use it every day, without fail, no matter what. Just make sure you do a little test patch to make sure it doesn’t irritate your skin.

            Skincare Routine Extras

            In addition to your daily routine, think about adding a few once- or twice-a-week products for a little boost! No need to go crazy—just a few little supplemental treats will do!

            Detox Mask

            Indulge in a little detox once or twice a week with a lightweight mask that draws out impurities—really getting the gunk out occasionally helps moisturizers and serums sink in!

            Try to find a mask that uses charcoal (coconut charcoal is particularly nice) to draw out impurities as well as kaolin clay to balance your natural oils. Green tea leaf is also sometimes found in masks and really rejuvenates and protects your skin!

            Wait? A charcoal mask? Won’t that dry my skin? Nope! Not if you find a gentle one with the right ingredients for your skin!

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            Retinol Serum

            Retinol really helps rejuvenation, but isn’t necessarily something you need every day. Unless you have really tough skin, you’ll want to start with one that’s formulated for sensitive skin and even then, start off slowly to make sure it won’t cause irritation. It will really help relieve your skin of any dullness!

            Best skincare routine in your 30s

            Lifestyle Changes to Make in Your 30s

            Now that you’re in your 30s, your skincare routine is as much about prevention as maintenance! Here are 10 lifestyle tips every anti-aging skincare routine should include!

            1. Say good-bye to the sun. These days, the sun is not your friend (truthfully, it never was—it just pretended to like you). Your 30s are when you really, really start seeing the cumulative effects of sunbathing or even just mild sun exposure. Staying out of it is the best way to prevent those lines and wrinkles from forming in the first place!

            Not only is there a cosmetic reason to stay away from the sun, there’s a health reason. Melanoma is one of the most common cancers in women under 30, so now that you’re above that threshold, you really, really need to be aware of how much sun you’re getting.

            In addition to staying out of the sun as much as possible, make sure you’re wearing a good SPF and re-applying it as the day goes on. And don’t even think about a visit to the tanning salon!

            2. Cut down on the alcohol. There’s a reason you crave water the day after a long night out. Alcohol is incredibly dehydrating and will suck the moisture out of your skin faster than you can say “eye cream.” We’re not suggesting you can never have a glass of wine again, but consider at least restricting it a bit. If you have overdone it, a little extra moisturizer is a good idea.

            3. Check the ingredients in the skin products you’re using. Checking the ingredients list on a box of cosmetics can be like checking your electric bill—horrifying and confusing. Part of putting together your best skincare routine in your 30s is making sure you’re not using more chemicals than natural ingredients.

            4. Change your diet. You don’t really realize just how much diet affects your skin until you cut down on all the junk. Changing your diet can be as beneficial to your skin as committing to a skincare regimen in your 30s. Fruits like peaches, raspberries, and oranges, and veggies like broccoli, spinach, and kale are packed with antioxidants that restore collagen and bring back your glow!

            5. Stop smoking. You know this is bad for you no matter what age you are, so we won’t put you on a guilt trip. We’ll just say that if you think smoking is bad for your lungs, do a little Googling and see what it does to your skin. Prevent the lines that smoking causes by stopping immediately.

            6. Increase your water intake. Water is nature’s moisturizer and the more you drink, the better your skin will look. For those who find water tasteless, we suggest having a little fun with it. Try carbonated water or one that’s naturally flavored. If you find one you like, you’ll be much more likely to consume it!

            7. Start seeing a dermatologist. Even if you haven’t had a lot of sun exposure or your family has no history of skin cancer, this is the time to start seeing a good dermatologist on a regular basis. In addition to looking after your skin’s health, they can help you determine the best skincare regimen for your 30s.

            8. Take off your eye make-up. Every night. No matter what. Look, we’ve all been there. It’s late, you’re tired, you figure you can just get to work on that waterproof mascara in the morning. Here’s the problem: when you were younger your body stored more fat under your eyes. Now that it doesn’t, you’re much more likely to develop noticeable bags under your eyes, even with a lot of sleep. Don’t make it worse by irritating your eyes. Take the five minutes (yes, it really will only take five minutes), and take off your eye make-up as part of your skincare routine.

            Also, if you don’t take off your make-up, you can’t apply eye cream, which, at this age, should be a regular part of your nightly skincare routine.

            9. Throw out any skincare products past their prime. The active ingredients in those old products have probably expired and won’t actually do anything for you. Toss them and start fresh with a starter kit that contains everything you need for a great skincare routine!

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            10. Start a good skincare routine and stick to it. Though most women have drawers full of skincare products, few take the time to really construct a daily skincare routine. Now’s the time to stop winging it. Part of creating the best skincare routine for your 30s is making sure you have all your bases covered.

            And remember, a lot of products have a cumulative effect, so if you’re good about consistency, you’ll see much better results!

            So, welcome to your 30s! With a little care and some good products, you can keep your skin looking like it did when you were in your 20s! Just be sure to thank us the next time you get carded!