If your skincare is the same in your 30s as it was in your 20s (or—eek—even your teens!), we come bearing bad news. Well, actually, we come bearing helpful news. Ready? Your routine should change each decade in tandem with your changing skin. This is because your skin and your hormones are constantly fluctuating as you age, so while it may be frustrating to have to introduce different products and methods to the routine you've been faithfully following for 10 years, we promise you it's worth it. Below, dermatologist Rachel Nazarian and esthetician Heather Wilson share their best tips for tailoring your skincare to your age.
Nazarian and Wilson both agree that in your 20s, the main theme of your skincare routine should be prevention. Says Nazarian, "In your 20s—and even before!—your regimen should have a heavy focus on prevention and sun protection. Preventing sun damage is a lot easier than repairing the damage later in life, and it can take years for the damage to show. Start early and be super diligent about applying a broad spectrum SPF 30+ sunscreen. That means applying it year-round! Rain, snow, sun—always." Roger that.
"Acne in your 20s can also be a different type of acne than we see in the 30s and will respond to classic acne medications like benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid," explains Nazarian. "Occasionally, hormonal acne can kick in at this age and it's important to have your skin be evaluated by your dermatologist to find the best acne regimen if you're not improving, but you'll find that your skin is much oilier since the oil glands are more active and you can handle a stronger acne medication." The above topical acne cream from Clean & Clear is this editor's secret weapon against breakouts—it'll clear them up in just a few nights, but go easy on the application since it's super strong and can upset sensitive skin.
As with your teens, getting on a solid cleanser-toner-serum-moisturizer routine is imperative in your 20s. Wilson also suggests throwing an exfoliator into the mix two to three times per week. Associate editor Victoria Hoff says that this exfoliator smells like "Pop-Tarts", which we think is reason enough to give it a shot (on top of the fact that it unveils glowing, healthy skin). It's also scrub-free so it won't wreak havoc on acne-prone skin.
Wilson says that in your 20s, some key ingredients to include in your daily routine are hyaluronic acid and vitamin C because they "fight free radical damage and brighten and hydrate the skin, all while protecting the skin’s natural barrier."
According to Nazarian, if your 20s are about prevention, your 30s are all about repair and anti-aging (though SPF should continue to play a huge role!). In general, Wilson says you should continue your cleanse-tone-serum-moisturize regimen from your 20s, but if you're only using serum once a day, she says to step up your use to twice daily. She recommends using a vitamin C serum during the day and a retinol serum at night as this combination helps fight free radical damage, increases your cell renewal rate, and triggers collagen production. Additionally, Nazarian says that in your 30s, your estrogen levels decrease, so you're more apt to experience hormonal acne—especially during the time of your period—around the jawline and neck area. Hence, if OTC acne creams aren't getting the job done, you may need to bring out the big guns and see a dermatologist for a prescription acne medication.
"Consider incorporating a night cream that includes anti-aging ingredients like vitamin C, peptides, and niacinamide," says Wilson. She explains that night creams are more hydrating than day creams and help support the overnight recovery process.
If you've experienced dry skin in your 20s, we're sorry to report that dryness is even more common in your 30s. As a result, Nazarian recommends keeping a hard-working moisturizer on hand. She loves Neutrogena's Hydro Boost Gel Moisturizer as it's infused with hyaluronic acid for deep hydration and antiaging.
Lastly, exfoliate twice a week with AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids) to slough away dead, dull skin and boost collagen—two crucial factors for a more youthful complexion.
How has your skincare changed throughout the years? Tell us below!