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Skincare in Your 30s: A Simple, Effective Routine

March 29, 2021


Welcome to the decade that many recall as the best decade of their lives -- your thirties! Your thirties are amazing for many reasons. You might find yourself settling down, more sure of who you are what you want out of life, and perhaps you even have more disposable income!

Aging is a truly beautiful process, and with proper skincare, you can maintain your youthful appearance for decades to come. Now is an excellent time to evaluate your skincare routine!

Skincare in Your Thirties: Photoaging and Antioxidants

Years of outdoor fun and daily sun exposure may have caused damage to the DNA in your skin cells, causing premature aging of the skin -- also known as photoaging. 

When free radicals damage your skin cell’s DNA and membranes, your skin loses the two proteins (collagen and elastin) that give your skin its firmness and elasticity.

Photoaging can cause fine lines, wrinkles, and hyperpigmentation (or age spots), but worry not, the damage can be prevented and reversed with a diligent skincare routine. 


Prevent damage by being vigilant about using sunscreen and appropriate clothing when out in the sun. Prevention and avoiding harmful UV rays to begin with always outweighs every other remedy available.


The second part of maintaining a youthful appearance is using antioxidants. Antioxidants are the only true defense against free radicals and oxidative stress. Your body produces natural antioxidants, but it can’t produce enough of them fast enough to combat photoaging. So it needs some help - in the form of products that contain topical antioxidants.

Vitamin C is a major antioxidant, as is vitamin E; so make sure that your skincare products contain vitamin C and E and other antioxidants. Green tea extract and watermelon seed extract are also potent antioxidants.

Vitamin A, or retinol, is another key vitamin that you should consider using in your skincare products. It works to minimize the fine lines and wrinkles that appear both from photoaging as well as from chronological aging.

Creating an Effective Anti-Aging Routine

Aging is normal and inevitable -- the goal with skincare isn't to cling to an unrealistic ideal, but rather to keep ourselves looking healthy and minimize factors that can speed up visible signs of aging.

In your thirties, the main things that change are focusing more on products with active hydrating and antioxidant benefits and maintaining a consistent routine. You might also find you need more hydration, or you might see a need for increased exfoliation or even breakouts due to hormonal fluxes. As always, they key is paying attention to your specific needs and how your body reacts to changes in your environment.

Here are a few general tips for developing a good skincare routine in your thirties:

Start with Gentle Cleansing

A gentle cleansing routine is essential in your thirties. It's always been important, but now it's time to take extra care to take off your makeup and outside grime (oxidants) every day. Keeping skin clean and exfoliated also helps it make the most of active ingredients in serums and creams.

Choose a cleanser that matches the type of skin you have. If you have dry skin, you’re going to want an oil-based, non-stripping cleanser or at least one without harsh surfactants. And, if you have oily skin, you’re going to want to choose a more astringent cleanser, preferably with gentle exfoliating ingredients to help moderate oil and clear debris from clogging pores.

Micellar water is a great option as well -- ideal for gently removing the surface debris and toxins from your skin. If you tend to have drier or more sensitive skin, consider using a cleanser at night to deep clean, then a gentler micellar water in the morning when you just need to refresh skin. 

Since skin becomes more delicate with age, you might find harsh scrubs more irritating (even if you used to like them before). Chemical exfoliators like those in AHAs and BHAs used in low amounts gently exfoliate dead skin and keep pores clear.


Including a toner in your skincare regimen can help  add moisture to your skin as well as improve your collagen production (think ingredients like CoQ10, vitamin C and hyaluronic acid). Since your collagen production begins to drop in your thirties, a toner is important in order to prevent tears in the skin’s middle layers, which could cause stretch marks and wrinkles.

Rather than the astringent toners you may have used in your teens and twenties, the purpose of a toner in your 30s is more to balance and protect skin's pH after cleansing. Avoid harsh ingredients like alcohol. A hydrating toner also helps the skin look firm and plump.

Moisturize and Hydrate!

Moisturizers are a very  important part of skincare as you enter your thirties. A good moisturizer not only hydrates, it helps to protect your skin from the harmful effects of stress and also helps to battle environmental toxins.

Moisturizers with hyaluronic acid are preferable, as hyaluronic acid is a water magnet. Hyaluronic acid can help your skin retain moisture and maintain a plump appearance, as it can hold water up to 1,000 times its weight.

Other useful ingredients include squalane, vitamins, botanical antioxidants, nourishing lightweight oils, and peptides. All of these help nourish the surface layers of skin, minimize dryness, and certain peptides and vitamins (C) can also help support healthy collagen production and firmness.

Your skincare routine should include moisturizing twice a day, morning and evening - as your skin tends to dry out throughout the day. Hydrating serums, used before moisturizer, can also help provide more potent doses of vitamins, hyaluronic acid, and other active ingredients. Drier skin types may also need a richer night cream to truly hydrate skin.


Eyes are generally the first part of your face that give away your age (think fine lines, crow’s feet, and wrinkles). A rich eye cream can help to moisturize this sensitive skin around your eyes, making wrinkles less visible for a more youthful appearance.

The neck and decolletage area is also one of the first areas to reveal a well-lived life in the sun, and the one usually most neglected. Don't forget to apply sunscreen here! At night, a rich cream should be used to hydrate and promote elasticity. If you notice age spots, look for products with active ingredients that brighten and clarify like licorice root, botanical ferments, vitamin A and C, black currant, green tea, lemon and others.


Fifty percent of women in their thirties have episodes of adult acne breakouts - even if they didn’t have breakouts in their teenage years.

Adult acne is often caused by an imbalance of hormone levels, high stress, and genetics. If you’re prone to acne, it’s smart to avoid heavy creams, oils high on the comodogenic scale and products that can irritate your acne (like those with ingredients including benzoyl peroxide or high amounts of acids). Spot-treat the acne if possible, and try soothing ingredients like aloe, calendula, rose and chamomile, which work as an anti-inflammatory to soothe the blemish. 


As you go through your thirties, be diligent about your skincare routine. A morning and an evening regimen is recommended, which should include at a minimum: cleansing, toning, and moisturizing.

Pay attention to product quality and ingredient labels to look for products with active benefits designed for your needs,. And, be aware that seeing change takes time: allow four to six weeks using a new product to evaluate how your skin responds.