If you’re worried your skin isn’t looking as great as it used to, welcome to your thirties. Your face is possibly starting to show the first signs of wrinkles, sagging, dark circles under your eyes, or crow’s feet.
Part of the reason for this may be that the stress of adulthood has taken its toll on your skin — it could also be as a result of pollution and the sun. As you get older, your skin ages and struggles to renew itself as quickly — collagen synthesis decreases with age.
It’s best to start taking care of your skin as early as possible but 30 certainly isn’t too late to start fighting wrinkles. There’s still a lot you can do to minimize the impact of aging on your face as you get older.
Start by putting the following tips into practice.
1. Start using sunscreen in your daily routine
One of the biggest mistakes people make when it comes to skincare is only using sunscreen in the summer when you’re at the beach or by the pool.
Excessive exposure to the sun can significantly damage the skin.
Sunlight not only causes burns and serious conditions like melanoma; it accelerates aging and the appearance of wrinkles.
“At all ages, daily sun photoprotection with SPF 50 should be used,” Dr. Elena de las Heras told Insider.
“We now know that photoprotectors include anti-aging agents such as peptides or vitamin C and depigmenting agents such as niacinamide, rucinol, tranexamic acid, and so on,” said the specialist, “which will make your facial care routine even more complete if you are worried about wrinkles and sagging.”
2. Cleanse your face in the morning and at night
Another step in your beauty routine is to cleanse your skin both in the morning and before going to bed.
You can use makeup removers or cleansers but the most effective would be simply washing your face with soap and water.
This will remove dirt from your skin that can stop it from performing its protective and renewing functions properly.
3. Look into glycolic acid
“Of all the anti-aging agents, the star for me is glycolic acid,” said the dermatologist.
Glycolic acid is an alpha-hydroxy acid derived from sugar cane.
“[It] acts at both the epidermal and dermal levels.”
It does different things for the skin, according to De las Heras.
In about four to five days, “the skin becomes brighter because it accelerates epidermal renewal. In the long term, studies with skin biopsies have shown that it improves the dermis by increasing mucopolysaccharides. This last effect is very interesting because it can improve the texture and consistency of the skin.”
Glycolic acid also moisturizes, “although depending on the formulation (gel, cream…) the cosmetic sensation of moisturizing varies,” the dermatologist added. She advised that “glycolic acid 8 to 20% should be used at night,” to take care of your skin in your 30s. She does recommend starting with concentrations of 5-8% and if it’s tolerated, increasing the concentration.
However, if you’re going to start an anti-aging treatment with acid now, you should bear in mind that the exfoliating action of this component makes your skin more sensitive to UV rays, so be even more careful with the sun in summer.
Given this, the doctor recommends “reducing its application to once at night” and always making sure to apply “a high SPF sunscreen in the morning.”
4. Use other agents like retinol or vitamins C and E
Vitamin C is another agent that can work wonders for your skin. Also known as ascorbic acid, vitamin C is a cofactor of several enzymes that plays a key role in the synthesis of collagen, according to De las Heras.
“Vitamin C also acts as a powerful antioxidant, neutralizing free radicals that induce skin aging and regenerating, which, in the form of linoleate, is proven to restore the hydrolipidic film,” she added.
Vitamin C oxidizes easily. As a result, your cosmetic formulations — in order to be stable — need to contain the levorotatory forms of the vitamin, at concentrations between 5 and 10%.
Where dryer sun-aged skin is concerned, the dermatologist recommends “8% glycolic acid with vitamins C and E.” These both increase its antioxidant power.
“Combining 25% glycolic acid and retinol as well as 4% glycolic acid with retinoic acid 0.002% also works”. Retinol is another component that will help with collagen production as your body slows down its renewing processes.
Combining glycolic acid with beta hydroxy acids such as salicylic acid “is very useful in combination, seborrheic or acne-prone skin. The ideal would be a gel excipient with 15% glycolic acid and 2% salicylic acid”.
5. Look into a chemical peel
Chemical peels are used by dermatologists to improve the appearance of the skin. Different types of solutions can be used. According to De las Heras, 30 is a good age to look into them when looking to improve the condition of the skin.
“[Peels] boost the effects of products with glycolic acid that we use daily, produce a rapid epidermal renewal in the short term and in the long term, and improve skin texture. They can be used for combination or acne-prone skin, as well as for dry skin and sunspots,” said De las Heras.
If you are going to look into them, the dermatologist recommended letting the summer pass and waiting until October, which is “the best time,” to minimize the risk of irritation from the sun.
If you want to know what to do to prepare for a peel, the doctor suggests avoiding facial cleansing, waxing, or rubbing the skin in the days prior to the peel. This helps to avoid the acid penetrating too deep into the skin.
Products with glycolic acid should be applied twice a day, so that the skin adapts and is prepared for the lower pH or acidity of the peel (which can be 0.6).
In the two days following the treatment, you should stop using glycolic acid and start applying a regenerating cream.
“It’s very important not to expose yourself to direct sunlight during the following week,” said the dermatologist. “We also suggest avoiding make-up the same day and avoiding rubbing your face, as it could scar.”
6. Make sure to keep your skin hydrated
After you reach 30 your skin won’t be able to renew itself as quickly and could struggle to maintain the right level of hydration naturally.
“It takes longer for the top layer of skin to peel off, which makes your skin look duller and drier. In addition, the production of moisturizing factors in the skin such as hyaluronic acid slows down and degradation increases,” Melissa Kanchanapoomi Levin, a dermatologist and clinical instructor at NYU Langone and Mount Sinai (USA), told SELF.
To counter this, Levin recommended incorporating an exfoliating product with alpha hydroxy acid (glycolic, lactic, citric, etc.) into your weekly routine in your 30s to help with cell turnover.
And to counter dryness, which can be exacerbated by the exfoliating effect, be sure to restore the skin’s moisture barrier with a moisturizer.