Skin Health

Skin Changes in your 30s: 5 Things to Look Out For

Many skin changes start showing up as we enter our 30s. We can tackle these changes with a few adjustments. You must consider the changes your skin is going through and adjust your skincare routine accordingly. The key here is to choose skin actives (ingredients) that address specific skin concerns. Keep reading, I’ll make this super easy. The skin you want is on its way.

Skin Changes in Your 30s: A breakdown 

1. Slow cell turnover

Cell turnover is how soon we see new skin surfacing. In our 20s, new skin cells rise to the top every 2 weeks or so. As we enter our 30s, those new cells aren’t showing up for about a month!

Slower skin cell turnover causes your skin to look dull and lack the nice glow we all love. The old skincells are hanging on for dear life and we need them to get going. Hint: Face acids are great for loosening up the dead skin cells. More on this below.

2. Dry Skin

Dry skin becomes more of an issue because our skin can’t maintain or retain moisture and hydration as before. Hydrated skin refers to the water content within the skin cells, ensuring they are plump and well-hydrated. Moisturized skin refers to locking water into cells with a protective layer to keep the water from drying out (moisturizer or face oil). Your skin is left soft and smooth. Hydration and moisturization are the dynamic duos our skin needs to stay healthy. Maintaining well-hydrated and moisturized skin is the very least we need to do for lovely skin at this and any stage in our lives.

Dry skin in your 30s is due to a few things;

  • Hormonal imbalances/ changes
  • Decreased oil production – means less active oil glands. Oil glands produce sebum (oil), which keeps our skin moisturized.
  • Natural moisturizing factors (NMF) – help maintain the skin’s hydration. They do this by attracting and retaining water. These are on the decline.
  • Thinner skin – caused by the loss of collagen and elastin
  • Environmental changes- exposure to harsh weather (wind and sun, indoor heating, and air conditioning)
  • Medication and Medical conditions – certain illnesses can worsen skin conditions. Your skin is the last stop your body often shows the problems going on inside

3. Collagen Decreases + Wrinkle Formation

Collagen is a protein. It forms the structural foundation for firm, smooth skin that bounces back.  As we age, our collagen stores and the production of collagen decreases. The goal is to preserve and enhance the collagen we have.  Read more about collagen and wrinkle prevention here.

4. Uneven skin tone + texture

Uneven skin tone and texture are a culmination of many changes occurring at the same time. This is a huge problem in melanin-rich skin, more than the formation of wrinkles. (article from Charmaine) Sun damage, hormonal changes, and genetic factors all play a role in this skin change. Melasma, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH), acne scars, and sun spots may all start showing out if they haven’t already. 

5. Hormonal Acne

I had a few pimples here and there in my teens, the acne in my 20s wasn’t too bad. Acne in my 30s has presented a whole new ball game. Hormonal changes have created the perfect environment for monthly, painful cystic acne breakouts along my jawline, chin and cheeks.

Cystic acne are pus-filled cysts that seem to have a whole life of their own. They are deep in the skin, inflamed, and painful. They pack a serious hyperpigmentation punch! In other words, they leave a visible dark or red mark on your skin even if you leave them alone.

You could be dealing with acne in your teens, 20s, 30s, and even 40s! See this article, on ways to treat and manage hormonal acne.

Star Ingredients for skin changes in your 30s and beyond

The list of skin changes outlined above can be overwhelming but it does not have to be. The key is adjusting your skincare routine to address the skin changes you are experiencing. Let’s discuss a few key ingredients that will transform your skin. We’re very fortunate that a number of the ingredients listed below are often formulated together. Let’s get into how to manage these skin changes.

Hyaluronic Acid (HA)

Skin condition focus: Dry skin

HA is a water-loving ingredient that attracts and retains water. Maintaining water in your skin cells is necessary for achieving plump skin. Using this ingredient can reduce the look of fine lines and wrinkles. Once you start focusing on hydrating your skin, the next steps become easier.


Skin condition focus: Dry skin

Ceramides help to keep the skin healthy and glowing by locking water in your skin cells. Ceramides prevent water loss, which keeps your skin moisturized. 

white rubber topped glass bottles containing skin serums
A collection of The Ordinary skin serums


Skin condition focus: Collagen decreasing and wrinkle formation 

Peptides support collagen production promoting firmer and more elastic skin. This is a key ingredient most people might not be familiar with but it is very beneficial. 

Vitamin C

Skin condition focus: Dry skin, dull skin, collagen production, uneven skin tone

Vitamin C protects your skin from the environment (sun, pollution, etc). Vitamin C brightens your complexion, evens out your skin tone and supports the production and maintenance of collagen.


Skin condition focus: Slow cell turnover, uneven skin tone + texture, hormonal acne

Retinoids is an umbrella term that includes all retinol-based products and prescription-strength tretinoin. Retinoids are the workhorses of all the skincare active ingredients. Retinoids;

  • promote cell turnover
  • help fade dark spots
  • increase collagen production
  • improve fine lines and wrinkles
  • keep your skin clear of acne-causing bacteria.

Retinoids do it all! If you are unsure what type of retinoid to add to your new and improved skincare routine, start here with this retinoid guide.

Niacinamide (Vitamin B3)

Skin condition focus: Skin texture, Skin tone

Niacinamide is a very underrated and not very well-known skin active. It is very gentle and safe on most skin types, unless you are allergic to this ingredient. Niacinamide;

  • helps to improve skin texture
  • reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
  • enhances the skin’s barrier function

Face Acids 

Skin condition focus: Slow cell turnover, hormonal acne, skin texture, skin tone 

Farmacy Honeymoon Glow Resurfacing Night Serum

Face acids sound scary but I assure you, they are not. They are a form of chemical exfoliation that dissolves dead skin cells with ease. Face acids are made from various natural sources like fruit and food enzymes, tree bark, and milk. Face acids;

  • exfoliate the skin
  • promote cell turnover
  • unclog pores
  • improve skin tone and texture

See this article for a full breakdown of face acids; AHAs, BHAs and PHAs.

Tackle One Skin Change at a Time

I know the immediate reaction is to tackle all the skin changes at once, avoid that urge. Tackle one concern at a time. This will ensure you’re not overoverwhelming your skin with a ton of actives.

If you choose to see your dermatologist or doctor regarding starting on tretinoin, you’re already tackling a laundry list of problems right there. Keep things simple so your skin does not become reactive. If your skin is reactive, you may experience redness, burning, and itching. Burning, redness, itching, and peeling are signs that you have damaged your skin barrier. You need to back off everything for some time and focus on hydrating and moisturizing your skin with gentle ingredients and products.

Refer to this article on how to patch-test products before using them all over your face or body.


That was a lot of information but now you know what skin changes to look out for and you have more ammo to start that skincare journey. Unlock the secrets to radiant, healthy skin, by being aware of the 5 main changes that are coming your way. Be gentle with your skin. A few key additions to your skincare routine can ease your skin into this season of change.

Your best skin awaits! If you haven’t already, subscribe to the blog and feel free to comment below. 

It was lovely meeting you here. Until next time!


Your Skin & Beauty Nurse




Just a nurse obsessed with skincare! By day, I'm a Public Health Nurse by night I'm a skincare obsessed mom of 3 littles, a wife and lover of all things coconut!

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