What You Need to Know About Your Skin

What you need to know—and do.

Your Skin in Your 30s


How you age:

This is when the sins of your past start to catch up with you. “Depending on the amount of accumulated sun over the years, your skin can look mottled, with large areas of discoloration and spiderlike broken capillaries from exposure to ultraviolet rays,” Katchen says. At the same time, the body’s natural aging processes pick up steam. “The skin around your eyes will show the first signs of lines and crow’s-feet because it is the thinnest skin on the face,” says Seth Matarasso, a dermatologist in San Francisco. In your late thirties, as collagen diminishes, wrinkles emerge on the forehead and between the eyebrows—making visible years of squinting and brow furrowing. And another natural process begins to slow: the removal of dead skin cells from the surface of your skin. Unless you exfoliate, you’ll start to take on the leathery look of the Marlboro Man.

What to Change:

CLEANSER, MOISTURIZER
If you’re on a harsh-soap-and-no-lotion regimen, you’ll want to reconsider as you get older and your skin gets drier. “This is the decade for the most dramatic change,” Bank says. “The guy who is oily at 31 may not be at 39.”

What to Add:

NIGHT CREAM
Before bed, apply a lightweight facial serum (basically, a more concentrated moisturizer) with simple anti-aging ingredients, such as retinol (vitamin A), glycolic acid, vitamin C, or vitamin E. Don’t be tempted by heavy night creams for now. “Those won’t feel good until your forties,” Bank says.

EYE CREAM
After late nights, it’s a good fix for dark under-eye circles. Use one with caffeine, which constricts the dilated blood vessels that make that area look sunken.

EXFOLIATOR
If you use a night serum containing retinol or glycolic acid, it will already be exfoliating your skin. But if you still think your face looks dull, try using a gentle facial scrub (body scrubs are too harsh) once a week.

Photo: Peter Stanglmayr
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