A couple of weeks ago, I woke up one morning and I was 30. This was largely (and I am told that this is generally a rare reaction to the dawn of the third decade) fine by me. I’ve always had older friends, and the sincerity with which they claim that the dirty thirties are in fact much better than the – twisted twenties? – has rubbed off on me, and so I was, truth be told, pretty excited about the whole thing.
When I was younger, 24 was the golden age at which I assumed everything would automatically fall into place, the age at which I’d magically become a calm, composed, elegant lady who glided through life wearing leather brogues and cream silk shirts. I might never be most of those things, but I did recently buy a cream silk shirt, and that is progress.
My point is that I’m not too fussed about what’s supposed to happen anymore; my game plan, as with most other things (including beauty) is to just do what feels right, and trust that the rest will fall into place.
The only problem is that now that I'm 30 what feels right beauty-wise is taking better care of my skin, except I’m not sure just how to do that. You’d think a beauty editor would have this stuff down to a bottled and clearly labeled science, but there’s so much information out there - coconut oil is unicorn juice for your face! No it isn’t, that’s argan oil! Chemical peels are good! No they’re not! – that it can get a bit confusing, especially when all you want is some simple, honest information.
And so I did what I always do when I want any of those things – I asked an expert. I got on the phone with erstwhile New York and latterly Delhi-based dermatologist Kiran Lohia, who I love for her simple, straight up advice. Turns out you don’t need to spend huge amounts of time (or cash money) on your face just because your favourite songs now show up on the retro hour.
What's going on with your skin in your 30s:
“Your 30s are usually when you start seeing all the typical signs of aging, most of which is caused by cumulative sun exposure, or photoaging. It’s responsible for the slowdown of collagen production, fine lines and wrinkles, hyperpigmentation and even open pores. The fat pads in your face start to migrate south so you might notice more sagging as the years go on, and maybe even a bit of redness and sensitivity where there was none before,” says Lohia.
Right, so your skin isn’t quite as resilient in your 30s as it was in your 20s. If you’d like to do something about it, here’s Kiran’s advice.
In the morning:
1/3 “First, wash your face with a gentle, non-foaming cream cleanser. Try and find one that works for sensitive skin, even if you don’t suffer from sensitivity.”
Try: Vichy’s Normaderm Puretee Thermale 3 in 1 Cleanser.
2/3 “Next, use an anti-aging moisturizer; your best bet is something with peptides. If your skin is especially sensitive, use an anti-aging moisturizer with azaelic acid, which is especially good for soothing irritated skin.”
Try: Dermalogica’s Pure Light SPF 30 features a blend of peptides and botanical extracts, contains sun protection so you can skip the sunscreen, and mattifies skin while brightening it. Meanwhile, Murad’s Recovery Treatment Gel features azelaic acid and peppermint extract to soothe sensitivity while providing an anti-aging boost.
3/3 “Finally, wear sunblock. Cumulative sun exposure or photoaging is the main cause of most of the visible signs of aging like wrinkles, open pores and hyperpigmentation, so if you weren’t wearing sunscreen in your twenties, you’d better be wearing some now that you’re in your thirties. I’d say this is the most important part of your entire regime.”
Try: Neutrogena’s Ultra Sheer Dry Touch Sunblock for light, non-greasy, high broad spectrum coverage.
1/2 “First, wash your face – again, with a gentle cream cleanser, one that also removes makeup.”
Try: The Body Shop’s Vitamin E Cream Cleanser.
2/2 “Now apply an anti-aging cream with a combination of alpha hydroxy acids and retinol. Alternately, there are some really cool wrinkle-busting serums out there that are super effective; most of them are so moisturizing that you don’t even need to follow them up with anything else.”
Try: Avene’s TriAcneal is one of the best nighttime anti-aging moisturisers out there; the combination of glycolic acid (an alpha hydroxy acid) and retinol make it a superb treatment for adult acne, but it also doubles as a potent anti-aging treatment for all skin types. Olay’s Regenerist Revitalising Serum is a powerful anti-wrinkle serum which works for all skin types – and wins a ton of awards, too.
Once a week:
“One of the main things you’ll find about your skin now that you’re in your thirties is that it’ll get drier over time, so you want to replenish some of its moisture by using a deeply hydrating mask. Once a week should do just fine.”
Try: Dermalogica’s Skin Hydrating Masque plumps up fine lines while making skin glow instantly, and works especially well as an in-flight pick me up or anytime skin feels dull, stressed or just dehydrated.
Once a month:
“Once every three weeks or so, I’d recommend doing a photo facial or a facial with an antiaging laser. People are scared of lasers for some reason; they think that they’ll damage your skin but on the contrary, lasers are wonderful for your skin. They boost collagensynthesis so they make you look younger and stay younger. They can also get rid of any signs of aging that you might already have.”
If you have acne:
“Acne in your thirties is really hormonal. Stress and your general lifestyle is also a factor; if you’ve got adult acne, I’d recommend a diet change. No dairy; no cheese, butter or ice cream, and switch to almond milk instead of regular milk. Most dairy products have hormones in them, so they can really mess with the hormonal ecosystem in your body.
Next, stay away from foods with a high glycemic index that pump up your sugar too fast – white bread, refined pasta, pastry – all they do is give you an insulin rush which makes your body produce cortisol, and cortisol just makes acne worse.
Other stuff that’s just as important:
“Honestly speaking, a lot of the skin problems you might have in your 30s are caused by stress. Yes you can take medications for it and get treatments, but internal balancing is really important in your 30s. Start exercising if you haven’t already – in addition to being healthy, it’s also really good for your skin because it prompts it to make more collagen, and that’ll keep your skin springy and elastic and looking younger for longer.
You want to start looking at maintaining the resiliency of your skin, so start takingsupplements. Omega 3 fatty acids are important, as is a good multivitamin (try Health Aid’s Omega 3 and GNC Women's Ultra Mega Active).
And most of all, if I haven’t already said this enough – sunblock is super duper important!”