Medically reviewed by Minimalist Health Specialist - Written by Rithi Choudhury (Journalist) on 17th Nov 2020
Anti-aging Skincare Routine For Your 30s: Creams, serums, cleansers and masks come to the rescue!
Let’s face it. We will not look 16 forever, and our skincare routine will not suffice with plain water and soap washing.
The 30s are the time when you cannot compromise with your skincare regime, skip the SPF, go to bed with makeup on because our skin biology slows down. Being lazy with our skincare regime (something we could have easily gotten away with when we were younger) will lead to lasting consequences like wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, crows feet around the eye contour, etc. Let us get started on the perfect skincare routine you need in your 30s.
Skincare Regime for your 30s
Now that you are in the third decade of your life, you need to part ways with the face wash you have been using as a teenager for getting rid of pimples. Depending on your skin condition, look for face washes with actives like salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, or azelaic acid (for oily/acne-prone skin); niacinamide or hyaluronic acid (for dry skin/sensitive skin).
Wash your face with salicylic acid/benzoyl peroxide-based face washes only once a day, preferably at night. Work on the acne-prone areas and let the product sit for a few minutes before washing it off. Salicylic acid strips excess oil and unclogs the pores. However, using it twice can dry out the skin. Therefore in the morning, when the face is clean already, cleanse with a hydrating cleanser.
2. Moisturize (day cream):
As you age, the skin’s water retention capacity also starts to decline, as a result of which your skin becomes drier and loses its former glow. But thanks to nature and science, we have moisturizers to replenish our skin’s lost moisture. But do not randomly pick up any moisturizer from the shelf. Choose a moisturizer according to your skin needs and concern.
It’s a no-brainer that those with oily skin should pick up an oil-free or water-based moisturizer with preferably active ingredients like niacinamide, lactic acid, etc. Since you will most likely be outside of the house during day hours, look for creams with antioxidants that will protect from pollution and free radical damage.
For dry and sensitive skin, go with fragrance-free variants to avoid irritation. Also, look for active ingredients like colloidal oatmeal, hyaluronic acid, ceramides, peptides, niacinamide (Vitamin B3) to retain hydration and soothe the skin.
If you think serums are unnecessary when you are using moisturizer, allow us to correct you. Serums have a high concentration of actives compared to creams. Its formulation will also enable it to penetrate deeper into skin layers and deliver impressive results in a short period than creams. To target wrinkles and fine lines, go for ingredients like retinol, lactic acid (if the skin is sensitive), AHAs (alpha-hydroxy acids), or the gentler PHAs (polyhydroxy acids).
Serums are great for oily skin to deliver specific ingredients efficiently for certain skin concerns. Lock in the serum with a light moisturizer suitable for oily skin type. However, you need to top it up with creams as serums alone will not suffice. Since serums penetrate real quick, it may not be very pleasant for those with sensitive skin, and therefore they must always do a patch test or consult their dermatologist.
- Minimalist Hyaluronic Acid 2% + Vitamin B5 Serum
- Minimalist Niacinamide 10% + Zinc Serum
- Minimalist Retinol 2% Serum
- Minimalist Vitamin C (Ethyl Ascorbic Acid) 10% + Acetyl Glucosamine 1%
We have probably been advised plenty of times to wear sunscreen in every other beauty article you read. The truth is, no matter how much expensive serums and creams you use, if the sun damages your skin, everything will be lost. Therefore the best investment you can make when it comes to your skincare is a good sunscreen. UV rays destroy the collagen in the body and lead to saggy skin, wrinkles, and dark spots.
Always go for broad-spectrum sunscreen (SPF 30 or above). Do not ignore the ears, neck, chest, and rest of the body that will be exposed to the sun.
Mineral sunscreens that contain zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are ideal for physically protecting against the sun rays. But the only downside is that it leaves a white cast, which is a problem for those with dusky skin tone.
Therefore what we suggest is that mix a few drops of foundation to balance the tone. If you do not prefer a mineral sunscreen, go for a chemical sunscreen that contains chemicals like oxybenzone and avobenzone that works by absorbing the UV rays, converting them into heat, and then releasing it into the body.
5. Night Cream:
Why should you go for a separate moisturizer at night when you can use your day moisturizer? The answer is you probably do not need a different night cream if your goal is only to provide hydration. But suppose you are looking to target specific conditions like wrinkles and hyperpigmentation. In that case, certain effective ingredients like retinoids, kojic acid, Vitamin C should be ideally used at night to avoid photosensitivity. Our skin repairs itself (self-repair) while we are sleeping at night - that is how our bodies are balanced by nature. Therefore supplementing the body with external ingredients that will help repair the cells and boost collagen production is the idea behind night creams.
Ideally, our skin cells replace themselves every 27 days. As we age, our cell turnover ratio slows, and because of accumulated dead skin cells on the surface, our complexion looks dull and pores clogged. Exfoliation here comes to the rescue by shedding the dead skin cells and cleansing the pores. Now exfoliation is of two types: physical (like those walnut scrubbing creams) and chemical exfoliation (where a skin-friendly acid is used to dissolve the bond between dead skin cells). Most dermatologists agree that chemical exfoliation is the best way to exfoliate because it is safer than physical exfoliation and super effective. Now you must be wondering how chemicals and acids can be safe for your skin? Broaden up your horizon because everything around us is made of chemicals. The lemonade you drink has citric acid, the Vitamin C you consume is ascorbic acid, and so on. You must understand that not everything that says natural is better, and not everything that tells the chemical is bad. Science and nature can come together to bring us the best of both worlds.
Exfoliate once a week. Exfoliating ingredients like lactic acid (the mildest AHA) help in surface exfoliation of dead skin cells and deep cleanses the pores by penetrating the skin, reducing hyperpigmentation, boosts collagen production and the best part is that lactic acid is the only AHA that provides hydration. Other exfoliating ingredients are glycolic acid, salicylic acid, poly hydroxy acids, etc. Before choosing a chemical exfoliant, always consult your dermatologist.
Those with sensitive skin should avoid glycolic acid as the molecules are too small, and it penetrates quite fast into the skin and causes irritation. Never skip the sunscreen, especially when using chemical exfoliants, as the newly revealed skin cells are susceptible to sun damage.
7. Eye Cream:
Honestly, you do not need separate eye creams because if you look at the ingredients, most of them are similar to your face moisturizer (and your facial moisturizer eventually travels to your eye contour area). Therefore dermatologists agree that you can use your regular face moisturizer in your eye contour area. Still, you want to make sure they are fragrance-free as the sensitive skin around the eye may get easily irritated from fragrance.
However, if you like the idea of using a separate moisturizer for the eye area, look for ingredients like antioxidants, hyaluronic acid, peptides, Vitamin E to repair the skin around the eye along with hydration.
If you are following the above skincare routine religiously, face masks are not necessary. But it is alright to show some TLC once a week with a face mask (clay, cream/sheet, whichever you prefer). Clay masks are great for pulling out toxins and grime from the pore. The best part about face masks is that you can use one according to your skin needs that day - a hydrating mask, a purifying mask, an exfoliating mask, etc.
We suggest multitasking. Use a purifying mask around the T-zone to pull out excess oil and clean the pores. Use a hydrating/nourishing mask on the cheeks. K-Beauty introduced us to sheet masks, and we have never looked back since. They are great because they come in various options and deliver several skin-nourishing ingredients at a go, leaving the skin incredibly nourished. But let’s be practical the effects will wear off, and therefore you must stick to your regular skincare routine.
9. Body Cream:
All this while, we have been going on and on about taking care of your facial skin and slowing down the signs of aging. But signs of aging shows first in the body skin, especially the hands, neck, and elbows. Therefore always moisturize your body skin right after your face.
The best way to moisturize the skin is right after you step out of the shower when the skin is still damp. For the elbows, knees, and heels, where the skin is much thicker than the rest of the body, use keratolytic creams to soften the area.
Make sure you wash your hands later because you don’t want to put keratolytic creams on the face as such creams are designed to loosen and exfoliate the skin.
Last but not least, pay attention to your diet. Healthy and beautiful skin ultimately comes from the inside. Therefore cut down on refined flours, sugary diet, and junk food that wreaks havoc on skin. There is a term in science called glycation, which means the sugar from your diet cross-links the collagen in the body, and you know collagen is what gives elasticity and firmness to your skin and joints. Eat a diet rich in antioxidants, essential vitamins like A, B, C, D, minerals like iron, zinc, magnesium, etc. to have that covered lit from within the glow.