If the 20s is the age when you struggle with oily skin and cystic acne, your 30s are infamous for the onslaught of – you guessed it – wrinkles.
It is important to first understand exactly how your 30s skin will be different from skin in your 20s, as well as some common factors that cause the dreaded wrinkles to form, so that we know exactly what changes we can make to our lifestyle and skincare routine – read one to find out!
Why do you get wrinkles in your 30s?
When you hit your 30s, you may realise that your skin has started to sag, and the lines on your temples that used to be barely visible is now as clear as day.
The reason for this change in your skin in your 30s is attributed to the decrease in collagen levels – as we age, production of this important protein decreases, and so does the natural amount of fat in the deeper layers of our skin. That leaves unoccupied space underneath your skin layers, which can cause the skin to become inelastic and droop or sag where it used to be firm.
Your body naturally produces collagen, but as you age, the production of this important protein decreases. As a result, your skin becomes less elastic, and wrinkles start to become visible: forehead wrinkles, crow’s feet, bags under the eyes, and more prominent laugh lines are all new things you might notice in your 30s.
In addition to a loss in collagen, changing hormones also contribute to many of these changes, specifically a loss of estrogen that causes us to lose volume and bone mass in our skull, cheekbones, and jawline.
To make matters worse, those of us in our 30s don’t only cope with a drop in collagen and estrogen – our skin also experiences dryness and irritation, and this applies even to those who struggle(d) with oily skin in their 20s.
The reason for this is the slowing down of our skin cell turnover: by the time you hit your 30s, your cell turnover is twice as slow as that when you were a child. The layer of dead skin cells makes your skin look more wrinkled than it actually is, and the top layer of your skin also has a more difficult time staying moisturised naturally. The lower levels of oil and lipids in the skin cause the support structure of the skin to break down, causing the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and dry patches.
Are there other factors that cause wrinkles in your 30s?
Besides natural biological changes that occur with age, your lifestyle may also be causing wrinkles to form faster and earlier in your 30s.
Some of these lifestyle factors include:
- Genetic factors – your inherited skin colour and skin resiliency
- UV damage – undergoing frequent sun exposure triggers a type of ageing called photo-ageing
- Smoking – damages collagen and therefore causes your skin to age faster
- Facial expressions – frequently raising your eyebrows and squinting to read something far away can cause lines on your face to deepen
- Sleeping positions – if you sleep on your stomach or side, you may develop lines on your face
Although the effects of these poor lifestyle habits are not obvious in your 30s, the damage really starts to show when accumulated over time, especially when you are struggling with other biological changes like a natural drop in collagen and estrogen!
Expert’s tips to prevent wrinkles in your 30s
1. Exfoliate twice a week
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The best way to deal with slow cell turnover is to get rid of the dead cells manually – by removing the dirt, debris, excess oil and dulling skin cells that is making your skin look wrinkled, you get brighter and smoother skin that instantly makes you look younger.
Removing these dead skin cells also help make sure that the anti-ageing skincare products you invest in can penetrate more deeply into your skin. This means more mileage for your skincare routine!
That’s not all: the action of forced exfoliation actually creates a mild trauma in the skin – this initiates a wound healing process in your skin and wakes up the fibroblasts which produce collagen, so remember to exfoliate regularly (about two to three times a week) if you want to keep your collagen levels high!
2. Pay special care to the skin around your eyes
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Crow’s feet, in particular, are one of the first few wrinkles that you may notice as you enter into your 30s, as the thin & delicate skin around the eye makes it prone to premature ageing. The muscles around your eyes are also most overworked: think about the number of times you blink in a day and how often you may tug at it when you rub your eyes or when you put on your makeup or contact lenses.
Rather than waiting for wrinkles to appear and then find eye creams to try and reduce their appearance, it’s much better to prevent them from appearing in the first place. In fact, if you ask any skincare professionals, most of them are going to suggest that you start using an eye cream in your 30s as part of a comprehensive anti-wrinkle skincare routine.
There are many eye creams in the market, but you should look out for one that can successfully boost collagen, reduce puffiness, and firm up the skin around your eyes without triggering it. See our list of best eye creams for fine lines and wrinkles if you’re buying an eye cream for the first time or want to try something new.
Another aspect that most people tend to neglect is that the skin surrounding your eyes is also prone to UV damage, so you can invest in eye creams with SPF, such as Philosophy’s Ultimate Miracle Worker Eye Multi Rejuvenating Eye Cream Broad Spectrum SPF, which offers full light spectrum protection from UVA, UVB, infrared and visible light!
When you apply your eye cream, take note to do it gently. Dab the product around your eyes using your ring finger – the weakest finger of all. Besides the undereye area, don’t neglect the outer corner of your eyes (where crow’s feet tend to appear) and your upper eyelids (which are prone to sagging).
Of course, don’t forget to wear a pair of sunglasses to reduce squinting under the strong sun and protect the delicate skin around your eye area.
3. Slather on sun protection everyday
Never skip sunscreen, especially not in a country that’s exposed to the sun all-year-round!
If you’re still skeptical about how sunscreen can prevent wrinkles from forming, there is scientific proof to back it up: a study conducted over four and a half years showed that those who applied SPF daily had ageing scores that were 24% lower than those who applied SPF as and when they felt like it – that could mean up preventing up to a quarter of wrinkles just by applying sunscreen!
The type of sunscreen that works best differs from person to person due to factors such as skin type and daily exposure to sun, but you may take a look at our list of non-greasy sunscreens that work in Singapore’s hot and humid weather.
And if you’ve already been conscientiously applying sunscreen every day – it’s time to take your routine a step further. Remind yourself to reapply regularly throughout the day. You’ll need to reapply approximately every three to four hours if you’re indoors and not engaging in rigorous activities. And if you’re outdoors and excessively perspiring or are in water, you’ll need to apply more frequently.
You can also consider oral supplements that improve your skin’s ability to protect against UV damage as a way to prevent wrinkles in your 30s.
4. Add retinol to your skincare routine, pronto
Retinol is a powerful anti-ageing ingredient that you really should start working with if you haven’t already. In fact, you’re encouraged to start using retinol as early as your mid ’30s if you really want to prevent wrinkles from forming in your 30s!
For the uninitiated, retinol is a vitamin A derivative that has been scientifically proven to tackle the first signs of ageing, including wrinkles and pigmentation in the skin. At the cellular level, retinol increases collagen formation, decreases the breakdown of collagen, and restores cell turnover rates – basically resetting your skin to its younger days.
Retinol can be very irritating if used too frequently or if the formulation is too strong for your skin, which is why experts recommend starting off with a pea-sized amount of a low percentage over-the-counter formula (.01% to 0.03%), and using it two times per week.
A good retinol product that you can start with is the Pixi Retinol Tonic – this is a toner packed with hydrating botanic ingredients to make sure that the retinol in the formula will not dry your skin out further.
Once your skin gets used to retinol, you can slowly use them in higher concentrations or even get a prescription for it from your dermatologist to prepare for the acceleration of wrinkle appearance in your 30s.
When your skin is better acclimatised to retinol, try Drunk Elephant’s famous A-Passioni™ Retinol Cream (1.0% retinol) to further work on preventing and reducing wrinkles.
5. Get your beauty sleep
At the risk of sounding like we’re nagging, we have to remind you that adequate sleep becomes even more important for skin rejuvenation in your 30s. Our organs (including our skin, which is the largest organ of all!) repair themselves while we sleep and having sufficient sleep (at least seven hours per night) allow our body to rejuvenate itself.
As you enter into your 30s, you may start noticing that you can’t get away with as little rest. Sleep later than usual and you may find that you’re more lethargic than before. You probably notice that your slower metabolic rate also makes it harder for your skin to recover after a sleep-deprived night. Your skin may look duller, dark circles more obvious, lines appear deeper, and pores look more enlarged.
Because your body isn’t able to rejuvenate itself as quickly as before, make sure you’re stricter with your bed-time if you’re looking to prevent wrinkles in your 30s. Your beauty sleep is definitely more important now than before.