Skincare Through The Ages: Your 30s

by Andrea on February 6, 2013

in Self & Body, Style & Beauty

I had relatively few skincare problems until I entered my 30s. But when I turned 30… man, I wished for my perfect 20-something skin.

It all started when I got pregnant at 30. Pregnancy does a real number on your skin! I did experience the so-called pregnancy “glow” but I also had a horrible case of pregnancy melasma (brown spots on the skin). The spots appeared early in my pregnancy and got worse throughout. By the time I had Cooper, I had a spot about the size of a dime on my right cheek, two swatches under both my eyes, and a rather unappealing mustache-like blob above my lip. I’m not going to lie… the changes in my skin were harder to deal with than the changes in my body. I could cover my rolls and stretch marks, but no amount of concealer would cover my melasma.

PicMonkey Collage

Left: after treatment/ Right: melasma at its worst

The pictures on the right are both me with makeup. In the top, you can see the dime size spot on my cheek, and in the bottom, the spots under my eyes. I was so self-conscious of my skin! It took me 2 years to get to a point where I’m comfortable sharing a picture without makeup (left pic, taken this summer).

I share all this just to let you know that (for some people) it all starts to go downhill in your 30s. While my 30s have been the most comfortable, freeing, and confident age of my life they have also been the age where I’ve seen the most changes in my skin and body. So let’s chat about some of those changes, shall we?


Melasma is typically caused by using oral contraceptives. It can also appear in pregnancy. The spot on my cheek first appeared when I started birth control in my mid-20s and it darkened and grew larger during pregnancy. You can also experience hyperpigmentation when you use some sort of retinol or acid (salicylic, glycolic, etc) and you go out in the sun without sunscreen.

Tip #1: Use sunscreen! Especially if you’ve already developed spots of hyperpigmentation – sunscreen will keep the spots from darkening.

Tip #2: There are all kind of “lightening” creams & serums on the market. I’ve done some research on hydroquinone and it just isn’t something I’m comfortable using. I found the best results with a combination of products – Arbonne RE9, Peter Thomas Roth Max Complexion Correction Pads, and Philosophy Help Me.


There is nothing to make you feel your age like beginning to see the beginning of crow’s feet, forehead wrinkles, and laugh lines. I hope when I’m 80 that my face is a map of wrinkles, telling the story of how I’ve lived… but for now, I prefer to keep them at bay as long as possible.

I had some strong opinions about retinol use for 20somethings, but I will recant here and say that I think you should introduce a retinol in your 30s. I still don’t think you should reach for the Retin-A unless it is dermatologist recommended, but there are some great over the counter options to try.

Philosophy Help Me, $47

My top pick, and the one I personally use, is Philosophy Help Me. I’ve seen a great reduction in the appearance of my melasma as well as my blackheads since using this product. I don’t find it to be overly harsh and I did not experience peeling or dryness. I started off using this every third day and eventually moved to every other day. Be sure to wear sunscreen when using a retinol! A good drugstore option is Alpha Hydrox Retinol ResQ ($16).


I’ve always had pretty oily skin, but in my 30s I found I started to experience dryness in the winter. I didn’t really know how to deal with this as I’ve always been an oil slick, so I compensated by slathering on super heavy night creams. This didn’t work the way I’d planned and I just ended up with greasy skin in the morning and breakouts. Beauty oils have been a lifesaver for me. They add in moisture without breaking me out.

Josie Maran Argan Oil, $48

Argan Oil is all the rage right now and the Josie Maran Argan Oil gets rave reviews. I find that simple is best and so I use two drops of jojoba oil mixed with my night cream. I get my jojoba oil from Trader Joe’s – cheap & organic!

Facial Hair

You know, I really hate to admit this online but I suffer from a bad case of the female ‘stache. It’s a curse, I tell you. I’ve resigned myself to using a facial shaver every week, but I was absolutely HORRIFIED when I found myself beginning to sprout hairs from my chin. OH NO SIR. I don’t really think there is any way to stop this, but I do encourage you to use a bright light and a magnified facial mirror every few weeks to check yourself. Those things creep up on you, and trust me when I say you don’t want to be in the middle of a family outing when your son pulls on your chin hair.

So, friends, sound off: what skincare problems are you experiencing in your 30s? What are your beauty secrets for this age?

Andrea House is a Southern bell and a self-titled beauty maven that deals with her toddler’s frequent meltdowns by seeking peace in the aisles of Sephora and Ulta. By day she is a social worker, while at night she manages her household while reading story books in her best Elmo voice. Andrea blogs at My Chihuahua Bites, where her blog philosophy is “keepin’ it real.” You can read more from Andrea on her blog, My Chihuahua Bites.

Carla February 6, 2013 at 4:49 pm

I’m 34. My face is still quite oily so no dryness here. BUT, 30 was heralded by these clear whisker like hairs that pop up randomly and acne. The acne is what annoys me the most. Mine gets so bad I’ve resorted to rubbing alcohol followed by benzyl peroxide cream at times. I asked the doc for a prescription but my insurance doesn’t cover it and that crap is over $100 a tube! Fortunately the bad stuff comes and goes but I always have a few zits on my face now. Someone should make acne and wrinkle fighting cream. They’d make a fortune!

Traci March 14, 2013 at 9:54 am

Carla, check out for acne and anti-aging combination products. I’ve been using her BHA gel with the oil-cleansing method and have had fantastic results.

Cindy G February 7, 2013 at 9:52 am

I’ve developed a few dark spots – one below my eyebrow and another is starting on my jawline. I didn’t take care of my skin as I should have in my 20′s but now at 39, I realized I do have a routine. I am lucky in that I don’t have wrinkles (yay oily skin in my younger years) but I find that as I get older, I am getting dry skin/areas. I entered a contest and won the Josie Maran Argan Oil (actually, the facial cleanser, the tinted moisturizer and cream blush/lipstick, too) and OMG it is by far the best product I have ever used. I was so skeptical putting oil or oily feeling products on my face, but I have never had better skin since I’ve started using it. The effects were immediate. I love this product and recommend finding the money and spending it on this line. I think I’ll check out the Philosphy Help Me – the spots are really troublesome – they don’t cover well with makeup and while they aren’t horrible, they irk me. Thanks for writing this up. It’s helpful.

Serena February 8, 2013 at 12:57 pm

I am 36 and have noticed more dry areas around my nose than before and have had the dark area under my eyes for years. I can’t seem to find a concealer that works to hide it so I continue to deal with it. The thing that has helped my skin more than anything is chemical peels and microderm abrasions. My skin feels so soft and nice since I’ve been doing that. I also use moisturizer in the morning and night and make sure I have spf in my regular moisturizer that I put on when I wake up and in the tinted moisturizer I put on for makeup. I like to use makeup pad removers instead of the wash and rinse types. The one thing I feel I need help with are the undereye circles. Anyone have advise for that?

David February 22, 2013 at 1:13 am

You truly put together a handful of outstanding points within your blog, “Skincare In Your 30s”.
I will wind up heading back to ur web page eventually.
Thank you ,Florine

Comments on this entry are closed.

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: