What You Can Do About How Your Skin Changes in Your 30s

The age of 30 is often approached with a bit of wariness and, in some cases, downright panic. For some it can feel like a whole new chapter of life is beginning—for better or worse—and when it comes to your skin that is true.

In your late 20s, you might have already noticed a few things changing about your body. You need more sleep to function, hangovers are much more extreme, and your stomach just doesn’t respond well to certain foods (or is that just me?). Your skin is also going through a transition during this time. After 30, you might experience more dryness and irritation than you ever did. Not to mention strange spots seem to pop up from nowhere. But all this is perfectly normal, according to dermatologists.

When your skin starts feeling out of whack, you can make a few simple adjustments to your skin-care regimen to get things back in sync. Top dermatologists reveal the skin changes you can expect in your 30s, and the solutions that work best to treat them.

You notice that your skin is looking a little dull.

Your skin cell turnover slows down as early as your 20s. By the time you hit your 30s new cells are visible every 28-35 days, whereas they once turned over every 14 days or so when you were a child. “This means dead cells start accumulating on the surface of the skin and interfering with light reflection,” Joshua Zeichner, M.D., director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center. “This is often characterized by a loss of radiance.”

Solution: Exfoliate twice a week.

Since your skin cells aren’t turning over as often, you can rid your skin of these dead cells manually to reveal newer, brighter skin cells underneath. This not only makes your skin more glowing, but it also helps ensure that the products you layer on top are absorbed more deeply. Dr. Zeichner suggests using a gentle exfoliating scrub, to exfoliate and improve skin radiance. “Start out once per week, and advance to twice or three times per week as tolerated,” he adds. You can consider Arbonne’s RE9 Advanced Cellular Renewal Mask

Your skin is dry, dry, dry.

Another pesky side effect of slowing skin turnover is that the top layer of skin has a more difficult time staying moisturized naturally. “It takes longer for the top layer of the skin to slough off, giving a more dull and dry quality,” Melissa Kanchanapoomi Levin, M.D., board-certified NYC dermatologist and clinical instructor at NYU Langone and Mount Sinai. “Furthermore, production of hydrating factors in the skin such as hyaluronic acid slows down and break down increases.”

Solution: Add an exfoliator with alpha hydroxy acids and a moisturizing cream.

Dr. Levin recommends incorporating an exfoliating product with alpha hydroxy acid (glycolic, lactic, citric, etc.) into your weekly routine in your 30s to help with cell turnover. (Note: If you are already exfoliating with a scrub, there’s no need to add an AHA, and vice versa.) Keep in mind that over-exfoliating can make dryness even worse, so make sure you’re restoring the skin’s moisture barrier with a hydrating cream. A great cream is Arbonne’s RE9 Advanced Restorative Cream.

Your face doesn’t look as full as it used to.

“I always say that life starts to show up on our face and skin in our 30s,” Dr. Levin says. “Cell turnover slows down, skin recovers less easily from inflammation, important proteins such as collagen and elastin breakdown faster and less is made and the naturally found skin plumping sugar known as hyaluronic acid starts to decrease.” Forehead wrinkles, crow’s feet, bags under the eyes, and more prominent laugh lines called nasolabial folds are all new things you might notice in your 30s. Changing hormones also contribute to many of these changes, specifically a loss of estrogen that causes us to lose volume and bone mass in our skull, cheekbones, and jawline.

Solution: Slather on a moisturizer with sun protection every day.

“When someone asks me the most important anti-aging skin-care product, it is easily without hesitation sunscreen, since premature skin aging is driven primarily by the sun so protection is key,” Dr. Levin says. But in addition to wearing a broad-spectrum sunscreen, she urges the importance of a complete, multi-step skin care routine with a cleanser, moisturizer. Arbonne’s RE9 Advanced Restorative Cream with SPF 20 will do nicely in combination with the RE9 skin care routine of cleanser and toner.

You get cystic acne for the first time in your life.

You thought admission into your 30s meant your days of perusing the acne aisle of your local drugstore were over. But many are surprised to learn that adult female hormonal acne kicks into high gear during this decade, due to changing hormonal levels. Hormones can go haywire due to a myriad of things, from discontinuing oral birth control pills, pregnancy, or even simply the stressors of modern adult life

Unfortunately you can’t treat adult acne like the pimples of your teenage years. The issue, Dr. Levin explains, is that adult skin is far less resilient than teenage skin and turns over less frequently. So it takes much longer to see a result from a topical medication than in teenage skin. “Furthermore, since many adult women and men feel as though they ‘shouldn’t be breaking out,’ there is a factor of panic where patients are frequently using so many different products, which can dry and irritate the skin which makes acne worse,” she says.

Solution: Add one acne treatment to your routine.

Since the skin is more dry, sensitive and has a harder time recovering from inflammation, Dr. Levin warns against using the regular acne treatments women used during their teens years. Instead, she recommends a gentle hydrating cleanser, an active topical medication, moisturizer, and sunscreen. Arbonne’s Clear Future line is an excellent choice for this issue.

Your skin seems to get irritated more often.

In addition to your skin being more susceptible to dryness, it is also less tolerant of external factors like cold and dry weather and harsh soaps. In other words, the cleansers you may have used on your face and body when you were younger without blinking an eye at the ingredients list won’t cut it anymore—they’ll quickly cause skin irritation and leave you hanging out to dry, literally.

Solution: Switch up your cleanser.

Traditional soaps have an alkaline pH that disrupts the naturally acidic skin pH, which is why Dr. Zeichner recommends sticking to gentle, soap-free cleanser that respects the skin barrier. Arbonne’s Calm line of skin care products is the best choice here.


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