The thirties is the time when you have to start (if you haven’t yet) taking a bit different approach to your skincare routine. Things like sun damage, stress, unhealthy lifestyle/diet, accrued over the years, start to show up more and more on your face. This in combination with processes such as genetic aging, diminishing fat tissue, and slowed cell rejuvenation (thus, less collagen production), leaves its marks in the form of fine lines, dullness, pigmentation, or uneven skin tone. The impact can vary from person to person and to a large extent, it depends on your lifestyle up until now, as well as how have you been taking care of your skin in your 20s. The twenties is the time when many of us don’t bother that much about things like skincare products and putting a routine in place, whether or not you have removed your make-up before going to bed or SPFs. It is the time when your skin looks juvenile and bright even if you don`t put effort to take care of it. It happens naturally – your skin cells rejuvenate quicker, collagen and protein production is still high.

Skin-care rules to follow in your 30s

Before stepping into a discussion on what kind of skin-care products and actives you should include in your daily routine, let`s have a look at a few tips and rules you need to follow if you are (and not only) in your thirties and want to have good looking and glowing skin.

• Do not deprive yourself of enough sleep

Value your time for rest and sleep and don’t waste it away. Sometimes it can be challenging to get enough sleep when there are so many responsibilities waiting for us, such as work and family, but it`s important to realize how crucial it is to get more of it whenever you can.
Sleep is the time when our body recovers, skin cells rejuvenate, blood flow to our skin increases, and collagen is produced. The collagen prevents skin sagging and wrinkles to appear, making your skin plump and bright.

So, how much sleep is enough? According to Webmd 7 to 9 quality hours, each night is enough to get your body and skin recovered. Anything less than 6-7 hours, will definitely have a negative effect on your appearance and skin.

Only getting 5 hours a night can lead to twice as many fine lines as sleeping 7 would.

Patricia Wexler, MD, a dermatologist in New York for Webmd.com

Your under-eye skin will the first area that will get affected if you don`t get enough sleep, as this is the most delicate part of your face where the skin is also the thinnest. It would get dry, irritated and dark circles are likely to appear. Sleep deprivation accumulated over time will have even worse effects – fat loss of the skin tissue, bad blood circulation, and a lot of fine lines. In fact, the under-eye skin is where the first signs of aging start to appear and this is likely to happen as early as in your twenties. If you already have the problem of under-eye dark circles, read our tips and suggestions on how to get rid of them

• Reduce alcohol and caffeine intake to reasonable levels

Be wary with alcohol and caffeine consumption. Sounds trivial, but facts are unambiguous. High alcohol and caffeine intake lead to dehydration and ineffective cell regeneration processes, which will make your skin look dull, dry, and unhealthy. Not to mention, it will speed up the aging process of the skin (fancy more lines?) and can trigger acne as well.

Alcohol dilates the pores of the skin, leading to blackheads and whiteheads, and if is not properly treated, it can go on to cause inflamed skin papules (lesion-like bumps) and cystic acne

Spizuoco, MD, for gq.com
• Always remove make-up and clean your face before going to bed

Avoid going to bed without having your make-up properly removed to allow your skin to breathe and replenish itself during the night. Make-up leftovers and sebum built-up will not only impede the rejuvenating processes of your skin cells but will also clog your pores causing blackheads and acne to appear.

• Use rinse-off face cleansers

Speaking of face cleaning, it is important to realize that wipes and even micellar water are not enough to properly clean your face of built-up sebum and dust, and make-up products like foundation, highlighter, bronzer, etc. Sure, it is better than nothing, especially if you are in a place where you don`t have the chance to wash your face, but only rinsing it off with water can clean your face properly.

• Make an appointment with a dermatologist if you have a skin condition

If you develop a skin condition, such as rosacea or adult acne, it’s better to turn to a dermatologist rather than following the usual skin routine for women in their thirties. It won`t solve your problems (sometimes it can even worsen it) and you may need a different approach. A specialist will be able to refer you to the right treatment and products that are tailored to your specific issue.

How your skin-care routine should look like in your 30s

How your skin-care routine for your 30s should look like depends largely on your skin`s individual needs. For example, the routine we`re suggesting here will not adequately address issues and conditions like rosacea or acne. Such needs to be treated with a dermatologist, who will prescribe you the most appropriate products for your problem.  The following skin-care routine is best suited to the needs of the average woman in her 30s without serious skin concerns and conditions. Don`t forget you should always listen to your own skin and adjust your routine accordingly. 

Morning routine

• Cleanser

Skin needs to be cleaned twice a day. Once in the morning and once in the evening. It is best though if you can use different cleansers for your morning and evening routine. As mentioned above, rinse-off cleansers are a better option than micellar water or others that do not require a wash, because they better remove the dirt and foundation. This makes them suitable for your evening routine, but not necessary in the morning when you don`t have to remove makeup and dirt built-up during the day. Nevertheless, because your skin goes through certain recovering and rejuvenating processes during the night, it should be cleaned of residual toxins and dead cells at its surface in the morning. Also, since you are applying your daily actives and moisturizers in the morning, clean skin will help substances penetrate easier and be more effective. 

My Affordable Choice
Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water with Rose Water and Glycerin
  • 99 percent natural-origin ingredients, gently cleanse and hydrates the skin without making it oily. 

  • Formulated without alcohol, oils and fragrance
My Premium Choice
Dior Hydra Life
  • Natural Echinacea flower extract soothes the skin and works as an antioxidant.

  • Saponins, natural cleaning agents, power the cleanser’s effectiveness by releasing a purifying, detoxifying and softening foam.

• Toner

Including toner in your morning skin routine is worth considering and it shouldn`t be disregarded. Its main purpose is to refine skin`s texture and tone, tighten the pores, balance the pH and prepare your skin for the serum and moisturizer parts. 

There are numerous toners on the market to choose from. Some are meant to provide enhanced hydratation, others are matting and suitable for oily skin, and there are those that address specific skin issues, such as pigmentation, sensitiveness, dark spots, fine lines, or a combination of these.  I personally prefer light toners with antioxidants and hyaluronic acid. Antioxidants are what protect your skin against the free radicals damage and prevent inflammations. They also fight the formation of dark spots and blackheads and promote collagen production that rejuvenates the skin cells. This makes the skin look bright, healthy, and clean.

Of course, you can choose another toner that addresses your skin`s specific type and needs. You can go with a more basic one that does not contain antioxidants or exfoliating acids like my suggestion below and include these actives in your serum, which is the next step. 

My Choice
Insta Natural Toner with Glycolic and Lactic Acids and Vitmin C
  • 7% Glycolic AHA (an exfoliating acid), combined with glyconic and fruit acids supports the skin’s natural renewal process. 
  • Hyaluronic Acid, Vitamin C and soothing botanicals brighten the appearance of uneven and dull tone.
  • Shrink the look of enlarged pores & clogged pores, blackhead & whitehead problems. 

• Serum

After the toner, which prepares your skin for the next steps,  it`s time to deliver active ingredients within the deeper skin layers with a serum. You can again choose from a wide variety of combinations of different actives on the market. Bear in mind that serums are usually more expensive than daily creams and moisturizers because of their more complex active formulas and the fact it takes extensive RnD and clinical trials before launching it on the market.  

 

Here is a overview of the most popular actives and ingredients contained in serums:

Vitamins (C, E and B3) are antioxidants and, as already mentioned, this will help you fight the environmental free radicals that damage your skin cells, cause dark spots/blackheads, aging, inflammations etc. They rebalance your skin tone and stimulate collagen production. Vitamin containing serums are very good option, especially when combined with another main active. 

PHA / BHA / AHA are exfoliating acids whose main property is to eliminate the dead skin cells and promote anti-aging processes. Glyconic Acid (AHA) regulate melanin synthesis and speed up the skin renewal process. Lactic Acid (another AHA) stimulates keratin production in the epidermis. BHAs (the most popular of which Salicylic Acid) have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. The Salicylic Acid kills bacteria, dissolves debris, reduces redness, and calms the skin, all this without stripping the skin of its essential oils. PHAs, on another hand, also works for the elimination of dead cells, but do not penetrate as deeply as AHAs and BHAs. Instead, its action is concentrated on the top surface of the skin, without disturbing the more delicate skin layers, which makes it suitable for more sensitive skins and frequent use.  

 

My Affordable Choice
Alpha Skin Care Intensive Renewal Serum | 14% Glycolic Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA)
  • For all skin types
  • 14% Glycolic Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) and a ph level of 3.7. Encourages collagen production and reduces the appearance of lines and wrinkles
  • Gently lift away dead skin cells so new healthy skin can emerge
  • Vitamins and nutrients to enhance the benefits of the Glycolic Acid

Hyaluronic Acid – Don`t be misled by the name. Hyuaronic acid is an acid, but it works quite differently from the exfoliating acids PHAs/BHAs/AHAs. Its main purpose is to lock in the moisture, keeping your skin adequately hydrated throughout the day, in which way it appears plump and the appearance of fine lines is prevented. 

My Affordable Choice
L’Oreal Paris 1.5% Pure Hyaluronic Acid Serum for Face with Vitamin C
  • This formulation combines low-molecular and high-molecular-weight for multi-depth hydration; 
  • Instant relief for dry skin
  • Visibly plumps for younger-looking skin that feels firmer, more elastic and radiant

Peptides – Peptides are amino acids that make up some proteins vital for healthy and youthful skin. For example, collagen contains peptides and including them in your daily skincare will stimulate the production of collagen and not only. Peptides provide numerous benefits and these are not only limited to collagen and fewer wrinkles. They improve the natural skin barrier against toxins, bacteria, and other environmental impacts, make the skin more elastic by producing elastin fibers, fights inflammation, and much more. As you can see, peptides are multifunctional and it is worth considering it for your serum or other skincare products. 

My Affordable Choice
Bliss Bright Idea Vitamin C & Tri-Peptide Collagen-Protecting & Brightening Serum
  • Actives  including Vitamin C, Tri-Peptide, Licorice Root Extract, Glycerin and more
  • Improves skin’s natural elasticity and defends from future free radical damage
  • Fights dullness and diminish the look of dark spots for the ultimate complexion
  • Moisturizes

Serums based on Botanical extracts and Oils are of growing popularity, because of their organic nourishing and regenerating properties. There is an endless number of different types of  botanical extracts, each having unique properties and benefits. It`s a good choice as they can contain all kinds of antioxidants, fatty and amino acids, vitamins and other nutrients and can address numerous issues, such as free radicals damage, fine lines and uneven skin tone, as well as smooth, repair and nourish the skin.

My Premium Choice
  • Anti-aging face serum with 89% of high-quality organic botanical ingredients

  • Clinically proven to reduce the appearance of wrinkles in 22 Days

  • Instantly hydrates, boosts radiance and luminosity, and replenishes the skin

  • Actives include: Hyaluronic acid;  Edelweiss Plant Stem Cells; Cold-pressed Jojoba Oil;  Red Algae; Different Floral Extracts & Oils; Olive Fruit Oil; Thyme; Butterfly Bush Leaf Extract; Vitamin E; and others.

    Price: $98.00

• Moisturizing Day Care Cream with SPF

What follows the cleansing, toner and serum steps, is the moisturizer (or your day care cream) and the SPF. I usually combine these two into one product that includes both moisturizing and SPF. It will lock in the moist at the top layer of your skin, ensuring an adequate level of hydration throughout the day, while protecting the skin against the harmful UV rays and other environmental factors that could damage your skin. 

You`ll again find plenty of options on the market, each containing a variety of actives (botanical oils, Vitamins, Q10, hyaluronic acid). In most cases, you may want to choose a product with an active that is not the main ingredient of the serum you`re using prior to it. For example, if my serum is based on peptides or jojoba oil, I wouldn`t choose a moisturizer/ day care cream with these being its main ingredients as well and I would look for other actives (Vitamine E, Q10 or another formula). 

My Affordable Choice
NIVEA Q10 Plus ANTI-WRINKLE with SPF 30 Day Care Cream
  • Q10 (or Coenzyme Q10) has a plumping effect that ensures firm and smooth skin and retains the moisture of our skin. 
  • Q10 delivers a powerful antioxidant that energizes skin cells and protects your skin against short and long term harms, related to aging, damaging environmental factors and oxidative stress .
  • Safe to mix with other ingredients.
  • SPF of 30 for better protection of the UV rays

• Eye Cream

As mentioned earlier, the under-eye area is one of the most delicate parts of your skin. It is where the first fine lines start to appear as early as in your twenties. This is why applying a cream every day is of uttermost importance. 

What you have to know is that usually eye creams are very similar in content to face creams. The difference is that in some cases, face creams contain more aggravating chemicals that are not suitable for the under-eye skin as they can lead to irritation and skin damage.  If your face day care cream contains actives, such as some botanical oils, vitamin C and hyaluronic acid, you can surely get away with one cream for both your face and eyes.  However, if the actives of your moisturizer/day care cream are a bit more aggressive (for example, with PHAs/BHAs/AHAs), it`s a better idea to get a separate eye cream.

Apply the eye cream gently with a finger. You`ll need to drop few  pea-sized dots directly on the skin under your eyes, and then spread it with a light tapping motion. That way, the cream will be absorbed easier and you will stimulate the blood circulation in that area. 

My Top Choice
Tru Alchemy Eye Elixir
  • Main actives: Caffeine, Hyaluronic Acid, Vitamin C

  • Fights the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and effectively reduces puffiness and dark circles

  • Instant hydration
  • Has cooling off  and plumping effect 

  • Promotes healthy and energized look with less fine lines

 

Evening routine

• Cleanser

This is when you should include a rinse-off face cleanser that will remove the dirt and sebum built up during the day, as well as your make-up before going to bed.  Remember, using a micellar water to remove your make-up and clean your skin in the evening is not enough. You`ll need a face wash to clear everything out effectively. 

My Affordable Choice
Nivea Refreshing Facial Wash Gel
  •  Effectively removes dirt, grease, and face make-up

  • Enriched with Vitamin E 

  • Contains Nivea`s special formula Hydra IQ – a patented intense moisturization technology that fosters the formation of new aquaporins in the skin cells to regulate the skin’s moisture balance

 

 

My Premium Choice

DefenAge

Luxurious facial cleanser with Natural Prebiotics.

  • In seconds melts away surface debris, instantly dissolves heavy makeup and helps liquefy impurities in pores and air pollutants.

  • Natural prebiotics balance the skin’s delicate ecology.

  • Enhances DefenAge’s core defensin-technology.

    Price: $62.00
     

 

• Serum

Applying a serum twice a day – once in the morning and once in the evening, is important if you want to have healthy and replenished looks. As discussed above, there are plenty of different serums with various ingredients and actives on the market, each having its own benefits. 

One very popular serum ingredient we did not touch on earlier, is Retinol (Vitamin A). It is recommended to be used only in the evening though, because of its properties to make your skin more sensitive to the UV rays, which can cause skin irritation.  Also, I wouldn`t use it on a daily basis, but once in every 2-3 days. Other than that, it is well-known for treating numerous skin issues (acne, fine lines and wrinkles, spots, uneven spots, etc) and having a whole set of benefits.  What I love the most about it, is the fact that its molecules can penetrate on deeper level of the dermis, where they neutralize the free radicals (that damage your skin) and stimulate the collagen and elastin production. 

My Top Choice
La Roche-Posay Pure Retinol Face Serum with Vitamin B3
  •  Suitable for sensitive skin

  • Visibly renews skin by reducing the look of fine lines, wrinkles & premature sun damage

  • Main active: Retinol

  • Also contains Vitamin B3, which helps sun-damaged skin recover and make more energy available to the skin cells. 

 

 

• Night Cream

Your skin needs during the night are different than those throughout the day and therefore night creams differ from day creams and serums. Day creams for example are of lighter texture and are designed to ensure protection against harmful UV rays, dust and pollution. Night creams on another hand can be heavier,  but work to support the repair and rejuvenating processes taking place during nighttime. 

My Top Choice
IT Cosmetics Confidence in Your Beauty Sleep
  • Rest & Restore Technology, which visibly improves: fine lines, wrinkles, dryness, dullness & loss of firmness.

  • Some actives include: hyaluronic acid, adenosine, and ceramides

  • Adenosine is a popular soothing and skin-restoring agent

  • The ceramides contained also play a soothing, repair and hydration role

 

 

 

• Eye cream

Don`t forget to apply eye cream in the evening as well. To avoid the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines (remember, those first appear in the under-eye zone), you have to keep this place adequately moisturized throughout the day and night. You don`t have to buy two separate eye creams, one for the day and one for the night. Use the same one for both of the times.

This article is fact-checked and based on evidence from different scientific studies, reputable medical sources, formal bodies and/or industry organizations. These sources are either referenced in the text, or links to the research papers are provided within the text.

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