You’ve matured a bit, you’re wiser, emotionally more stable, and probably lead a healthier lifestyle overall. At the same time, you’re now starting to see the signs of aging–it could be a fine line here, a wrinkle there, or just the lack of raw energy and radiance that you remember having in the past.
1. The Common Skin Problems Change
One of the first things you learn is that life is unfair, and especially so when it comes to skin. While I fought my dry and sensitive skin to the death every morning, and Alice had her epic battles with acne, Lucky Lucy seems to have hit the genetic lottery, and she didn’t even have a skincare regimen! It was all effortless to her–to be lucky is to be ungrateful right? Acne is one of the most common teens and early 20s problem. Most have had at least some minor scuffles with acne. The other big ones are dry skin and sensitive skin, each with its share of frustrations. The lucky few who dodge all three bullets have given very little thought to skincare routines, precisely because they didn’t need to.
Life doesn’t magically become fair because you are in your 30s–some people will age faster than others–but whether you were lucky or not, skincare matters more now. In the 30s, acne tends to subside for both men and women (some women will develop hormonal acne, unfortunately). Sadly, other issues like dry skin and fine lines/wrinkles replace them. The thing is, while these changes all happen at different speeds, it gets us all, and we all know that misery loves company.
- Acne predominates teen and early 20 concerns. For most (but not all) people these problems generally subside. If acne becomes worse in your 30s, it’s a good idea to see a dermatologist for help, as it may be hormonal acne or a symptom of another problem that may require a different treatment approach.
- Dry skin, fine lines/wrinkles, dry skin, and pigmentations problems (especially for Asians and darker skin types) become more of a concern.
- Whether you had great skin or not, everyone needs to make adaptations.
2. Prepare for a Shift in Skin Type
Most of us know the common skin types: Normal, Combination, Dry, Oily, and Sensitive. Of these, dry and oily skin types are a spectrum of how much sebum (skin oil) your skin produces. Generally, as we age, the skin becomes drier over time. Dryness and itching are extremely common among the elderly, and this is a continuous process. The early 30s is often when the first signs of change hits. This can require a shift in your lifestyle or your skincare or other personal care routines.
While atopic dermatitis tends to subside (again not always) with age, the skin will generally become drier over time as our ability to produce sebum weakens. If dry skin has been a problem for you, it may become worse. For people that have a more oily skin type, they may notice some changes in their skin. If you haven’t used moisturizers very often (those who have normal or oilier skin) you may need to start using moisturizers more. If you use a light moisturizer, you may find that a change in a product may be what you need.
- Keep a moisturizer around your work desk and at home
- If you never needed a moisturizer, start with a light one
- If you’ve always used moisturizers but notice that your body is more dry, consider changing products to a more hydrating moisturizer
3. Lifestyle Matters More
On the level of gene expression, your energy decreases compared to your 20s. If you feel tired, recover slower after staying up or drinking a bit too much, and feel less raw energy, this is because you are in fact, getting older. Your body is less able to recover and regenerate efficiently. When you’re young, you could absorb the damage of all-night benders with breakfast at Denny’s and still be ready to go (we don’t recommend this). In your 30s, not so much. This isn’t to suggest that lifestyle doesn’t matter in your 20s, but it means that you feel the effects of your lifestyle more immediately. Your mood, energy levels, and the glow (or lack of it) of your skin more accurately reflect what you ate and what you did in the days and even hours before.
Exercise does double duty in busting your stress levels, which hugely affect how your skin looks. The science behind it is it complex and at this point in time, inexact, but we do know a few of the contributing factors, like increased blood flow and release of stress.
- Stay hydrated
- Eat well
- Have a routine for managing stress levels
- Get enough sleep
4. Sun Damage Becomes Visible
To be clear, sun protection always matters, rain or shine. In your 30s, however, you start to see the evidence of sun damage whereas sun damage remains beneath the surface in a person’s teens or early twenties. Brown spots become more common, especially for people with darker skin types. For lighter skin tones, fine lines and wrinkles can begin to appear. In our teens and 20s, our cells are good at hiding UV damage, but now that you can visibly see the effects of UV damage on the skin, it helps you be more sun conscious.
- Fine lines and wrinkles start (especially if you’ve had too much sun)
- Pigmentation becomes more common for people with darker skin
- The skin begins to lose elasticity or firmness in certain areas like the underarms
While your priorities and focus are changing, so is your body and skin. It’s very common that routines will need to change with the needs of your skin (and changing preferences too). In particular, increased dryness begins for many people around their early 30s, and it can force many people to change their skincare routines.