Our 30’s are supposed to be the new 20’s, right? Spiritually and emotionally, yes, but not so much when it comes to the largest organ in our body, our skin.
We’re finally adults, and with that comes all the stress of being a functioning human being. But wait, there’s more to look forward to: this is the decade where fine lines, dullness, and dryness start making an appearance due to slowing skin cell turnover, and the accrued impact of environmental and genetic aging.
Skin care professionals tell us time and time again: to avoid wrinkles, start fighting them before they appear. Don’t fret if you missed out on zeroing in on a fool-proof preventative anti aging skincare regime. If you’ve started seeing fine lines your skincare routine is now centred around minimising their appearance!
In your 30s, your anti aging routine and products should be focused on a mix of prevention and correction. We aren’t trying to freeze time. Anti aging products and treatments are geared towards ensuring you look like the best possible version of yourself at any given moment.
The central component of any anti aging skin care regime is counteracting the effects of external factors like pollution and UV rays. Supporting your skin as it loses its capacity to produce collagen, oil, and sweat will ensure it remains firmer over a longer period of time.
As skin ages, it becomes less elastic, losing its even tone. Fine lines get deeper and more pronounced, it gradually roughens and dries, as it thins small blood vessels appear. Regular sun exposure causes freckles, dark patches of skin, and sun spots.
Our skin in our 30s
Your 30s are when the signs of aging start to appear, as well as the first effects of sun damage from your younger years of frolicking and adamantly ignoring your mum’s advice around sun protection..
During this decade you will see early wrinkles like frown lines between our eyebrows, forehead lines and crow’s feet, and loss in plumpness in the cheeks. Your skin’s repair system slows down, making it duller, and decreased collagen production results in a loss in firmness.
1. Hormonal changes. Your 30s are when your hormone levels begin to drop and that means your skin might freak out! Adult female acne is more common than you might think!
2. Hyaluronic acid production decreases. Hyaluronic acid draws in moisture and helps lock it in to your skin. As we age, we start producing less of it, which is why it is vital in your 30s.
3. Collagen production decreases. Collagen acts as the body’s natural “plumper”, adding youthful volume to your face.
4. Elastin production decreases. Your skin’s firmness starts to wane and its ability to spring back when pinched or pulled begins to diminish. How can you check? Pinch the skin on the back of your relaxed hand, see how long it takes for your skin to go back to being flat (with no traces of the pinch).
5. Cell turnover rate decreases. When we’re born, our skin cells turnover approximately every 14 days. In our 30s that cycle can take up to 48 days (in your 50s it can take twice that).
You will have to add to or adjust your regular anti aging skincare routine, such as using a more potent prescription-only retinol (or a peptide-based serum) to help with fine lines and skin firmness. Now that prevention is no longer your number one goal, over the counter treatments will not be potent enough.
Now, while prescription strength anti aging products do result in faster results, it is always wise to consult a dermatologist or a telemedicine skincare provider who can help you use your treatment safely and effectively.
Anti aging skincare routine: The basics
Skin goals in our 30s see us trying to strike a balance between trying to fade the signs of aging that are visible and preventing new ones from appearing.
That said, your skincare routine doesn’t have to be complicated. Here’s a simple routine outline which will really ease you into the process of taking fantastic care of your skin!
Cleanse your skin once a day. We know that the golden rule was twice a day, but now we know that overly enthusiastic cleansing can strip your skin of its moisture and damage your natural skin barrier. Now, cleansing your face thoroughly of the day’s grime, make up, or skin care before bed is the most logical way to go about it. Then all you need in the morning is a quick rinse.
Choose one that is gentle, and non-drying. You don’t need any manual exfoliators (these can be rough on our delicate facial skin), just your fingers and warm water.
Serums are incredible at delivering high potency active ingredients to your skin. Find a serum full of Vitamin C to help improve hydration, skin elasticity, and even your skin tone. Another ingredient to look for is hyaluronic acid, to lock in all-important moisture and keep our skin looking plump and firm.
As we mentioned above, the older you get, the less hyaluronic acid your skin produces which means your skin retains less moisture.
One key ingredient to look for in moisturiser is ceramides. Those are waxy lipids found naturally in skin that hold in moisture, giving it a young, healthy appearance. In women, ceramide production takes a hit especially after age 35, when oestrogen levels decrease. A reduction in ceramides weakens the barrier function of the skin, which can lead to dryness, dehydration, eczema, chapped skin, acne, redness, and sensitivity.
Reach for that sunscreen. Your mum was right, it is important! It shields your skin from the sun’s radiation, which triggers premature aging. Look for a broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher – don’t bother with makeup that says it contains SPF, they are usually only partially effective.