Skincare in your 30s, welcome to the second part of the series on how to take care of your skin by the decade. Find out your goals for skincare in your 30s and what you need to do to keep your skin looking good.

In your 30s your skin is may start looking a bit duller due to a slower skin cell turnover. There is also a loss of collagen which makes your skin appear less plump. This means your skincare in the 30s needs to be tweaked to address or slow down those changes.

The skincare goals in your 30’s

The goal in your 30s is to maintain the healthy skincare habits you built in your 20s. It is also the time to take things up a notch with regards to active ingredients and slightly more aggressive treatment. This means you need to start with facials, chemical peels and other treatments.

Sun protection

Like in your 20’s sun protection is not negotiable. You need sun protection to reduce the cumulative effects of sun damage. In your 30’s you may notice pigmentation, dark spots, fine lines, and wrinkles. So use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 50 all day every day. If you haven’t used sunscreen regularly the best time to start is right now. Because most of the signs of ageing are due to UV rays so do not skip it!

Don’t forget your neck


In your 30s it is important to give your neck and décolletage the same treatment as your face.  Both areas are delicate and show signs of ageing first, which is not surprising because they are constantly exposed to sunlight.  So take any treatment right down to your nipples, yes you heard me. So make sure to extend your sunscreen right down to your neck and below to keep it looking soft and smooth.

Use an Eye cream

The eye area has thinner skin, fewer oil glands and is hypermobile from your Facial movements, so is the first area to show ageing. Choose a well-formulated eye cream with brightening & plumping ingredients like vitamin C, green tea and hyaluronic acid. Only apply your eye cream to the orbital bone around the eye and pat it in, don’t rub!


This is the time to start with the big guns when it comes to retinol. In your 30s you can switch to higher concentration retinol or even prescription-strength depending on how well your skin tolerates it. Regular use of retinol is scientifically proven to reduce the signs of photogenic (sun damage), treat adult acne and provide exfoliation. So if there was a must-have for your skincare this is it

Exfoliate regularly

As you age your skin cell turnover slows so by the time you are in your 30s dead skin cells start on the surface of the skin making it dull and prone to breakouts. This means your skin needs some help to get rid of the dead cells making exfoliation extra important. To get the best out of exfoliation a combination of physical and chemical exfoliants can be used. Physical exfoliation consists of scrubs and dermabrasion while chemical exfoliation is done with AHAs, BHAs or PHAs. So get one that works for you and use them religiously in your routine.

Have a different AM & PM skincare routine in your 30s

This is the time that your day and night routine becomes day and night ( pun intended). Your day time routine should focus on protection from the elements which cause damage. So sun protection and use of anti-oxidants are key. At night rejuvenation means serums, hydration, retinol and face oils so that you put back everything the environment takes out of it.

See a Dermatologist

The skin you have in your 20s is not the same as in your 30s. Most women experience changes in their skin due to pregnancy and other life changes. Things like adult acne, pigmentation, and melasma are more common and difficult to treat with over the counter medication. So go and see a dermatologist. You may need to start a routine with monthly peels, microdermabrasion, laser or even botox to slow the signs of ageing, don’t be shy.

Life style

Exercise, eating right and managing stress are key in your 30s to maintain great skin. Any deficiencies in any of these will affect your skin negatively so keep balancing your lifestyle. So exercise, eat right and manage your stress levels.

You can learn about my chemical peel experience in Nigeria and the effects it had on my skin. Because of the antiageing benefits of retinol in the beginner's guide, and the second part helps you choose the best retinol for your skin type and some of the side effects. Here is a post on the 5 antioxidants you need for flawless skin and here is another on the best antioxidants for acne to help you decide which work best for your skin and needs.

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