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Signs of Aging at 30: What You Really Need To Know

You’ve heard it said that you’re only as old as you feel, and while that is true, it’s also true that we all have a certain age when we begin to notice the physical signs of aging.

While everyone ages at their own pace, the truth is that during your 30s, you begin to see changes in your skin that signal an overall aging process is starting.

This decline doesn’t mean you must accept feeling like you appear tired and run down—instead, it means there are steps you can implement to take care of yourself so that when you hit the 40 or 50, or 60 milestones, you’ll be feeling radiant knowing you’ve been maintaining proper skincare practices! 

To feel your best during the aging process, it’s helpful to understand what changes are normal and the steps you can follow to slow down advancing signs of aging.

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Woman splashing face with water above bathroom sink

Common Signs of Skin Aging That Appear in the 30’s

As you enter your 30’s, you’ll start noticing changes in your skin. Some of these changes are due to the natural aging process, while others may be caused by lifestyle habits.

Skin experts and dermatologists use several terms to describe the typical ways people experience the first signs of aging skin such as:

  • The appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
  • Sagging skin
  • Loss of volume and elasticity
  • Experiencing dry and sensitive skin
  • Hyperpigmentation (also known as dark spots, brown spots, age spots, or sun spots)
  • Uneven skin tone
  • Dark circles under the eyes

The Most Common Causes of Skin Aging

As you get older, your skin will change. Some of these changes are caused by intrinsic aging, and others are due to extrinsic factors (such as sun exposure). There are three main contributors to the aging of the skin. They are: sun exposure, decreased collagen production, and lifestyle habits. 

Here’s the lowdown on everything to know about the early signs of skin aging:

  • Did you know that photoaging caused by sun exposure is responsible for 90% of skin aging? The Sun can be one of the most aggressive factors in skin aging. Increased sun exposure can cause wrinkles and age spots at an earlier than expected-age.

It also makes the skin more dry leading to an overall loss of elasticity. This can result in sagging or wrinkling on the face and body. Sun damage to the skin is terrible for signs of aging and our health, as the surface of our skin is our largest organ. There is no doubt that sun damage from UV lights is linked to skin cancer

  • As we age, our bodies will begin to produce less collagen (a protein that promotes firmness) than when we were younger. This lack of collagen production causes a loss of smoothness in the skin’s surface. This can lead to the appearance of crow’s feet which are fine lines or creases seen around the eyes.  
  • Unhealthy lifestyle choices may cause premature aging. One unhealthy habit we’re all guilty of is not prioritizing our rest. A lack of sleep may contribute to accelerated signs of aging because it reduces our ability to repair damaged cells. 

Other poor lifestyle choices that affect our skin aging process are not drinking enough water or fueling our bodies with a healthy diet. When we eat and drink with nutrition in mind, we’re fueling our insides and skin!

  • Our hormones can also play a role in how our skin ages. Stress hormones, such as cortisol, are proven to speed up aging. Cortisol can break down collagen in our skin; therefore, being chronically stressed out is not only bad for how you feel emotionally but also for your skin!
My Ritual vitamins are a key part of my diet. Read my full review here.

Ways To Slow Down Skin Aging

Taking action to slow the process of skin aging requires dedication and taking the proper steps toward maintaining habits to support your goal.

While you may not be able to look like you’re a teenager during your 30s, you can certainly take steps to look and feel younger.

Following these strategies can also be beneficial during your late 20s! Prevention is far easier than reversing signs of aging. 

Consider the following habits:

Avoid Sun Exposure

We’ve already discussed how sun damage contributes to premature skin aging. While it is impossible to avoid the Sun entirely, there are precautions you can follow to protect your skin from its harmful effects

. One of the most important and easiest things you can do is stay out of the sun for prolonged periods.

It is so important to protect your skin by wearing UV protection every day, even when it’s cloudy!

The best way to handle this is to apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen to the surface of your skin. By selecting a broad-spectrum sunscreen, you’ll be sure you’re protecting your skin against UVA and UVB UV rays. Always opt for sunscreens with an SPF of 30 at a minimum for daily wear. 

Use a physical sunscreen when possible and opt for non-nano SPF. This one is my personal favorite.

You can also wear protective clothing to protect your head and body by purchasing clothing with UV-rated protection.

UVA rays are associated with causing premature aging, such as wrinkles and fine lines, whereas UVB rays are responsible for sunburns and causing skin cancer.


Exfoliating is a fantastic way to improve the appearance and vibrancy of your skin.

By doing it properly, you’ll be removing dead skin cells that build up on the top of your skin, making your pores less visible over time and increasing skin cell turnover.

It is crucial not to over-exfoliate your skin, or you’ll risk damaging healthy tissue underneath the surface of your skin, which can result in redness or irritation in some cases!

Easy and safe ways to exfoliate your skin include using glycolic acid and alpha hydroxy acid (AHAs). These two products work by providing very gentle exfoliation.

Chemical peels provide a more intense exfoliation experience and should be done carefully not to damage the skin. These can be done at home or at a board-certified dermatologist’s office.

Chemical peels, also known as derma peels, increase skin cell turnover rates and can quickly improve the appearance of the skin.

Healthy Diet

A lot of the time, we can struggle to maintain and eat a nutritious and balanced diet. It’s no secret that most people struggle to maintain a healthy diet.

However, if you’re looking for another reason to bolster your eating habits and make lifestyle changes, consider how it’ll help improve the appearance of your skin!

Your diet plays a part in how well your skin ages. Eating foods high in omega-3 fatty acids can help protect against dryness, while antioxidants like vitamin C can help against damage from free radicals.

Foods that contain antioxidants and vitamin C (think leafy greens), as well as omega-3 fatty acids found in fish like salmon or tuna, can minimize the effects of aging. 

We’ve previously discussed how our body naturally has less collagen as we age. Collagen is the protein that helps to keep your skin smooth, firm, and elastic.

As we age, collagen production slows down, leaving our skin looking duller and less youthful than it was in our twenties.

Eating the foods mentioned above will help stave off signs of aging related to a decline in collagen production by protecting against damage caused by free radicals — unstable molecules that cause the breakdown of cells. Another way to help prevent cellular damage is with NAD IV therapy in Houston. NAD is a coenzyme that helps support mitochondria and cell health and can slow down the visible signs of aging.

This service might not be available everywhere, but it’s worth checking if something similar is available near you.

Visit A Board-Certified Dermatologist 

In addition to taking care of yourself at home, see a board-certified dermatologist for regular checkups so they can catch any potential problems early on. Prevention is always better than cure!

A trusted dermatologist can recommend products and treatments tailored specifically toward your needs. This is especially helpful if it is your first time developing a skincare routine.

The Importance of A Skincare Routine

The most important part of maintaining healthy skin is having a skincare routine. I’m sure you’ve heard this a thousand times, but it’s true!

Skincare products can be pricey, but don’t be fooled into believing you must invest a fortune to see results. If used correctly, a proper skincare routine can make your skin look young and fresh for years to come.

To start your practice, take into account your current age and the needs of your specific skin type.

Next comes finding the right products at a price point you feel comfortable with (and with ingredients that are good for you).

With so many great options, it can be difficult and overwhelming to decide which ones to purchase. Consider working with a dermatologist who can help assist with the best possible products for your skin type. 

If you’re not already utilizing a skincare routine, you could be experiencing some of the following things contributing to premature aging.

Here are some of my top favorite skincare products for your 30s:

Dry and Sensitive Skin

Aging skin has the propensity to become more dry and sensitive. It needs regular moisturizing to combat these effects.

To protect your skin from drying out further, make sure to use a moisturizer every day. Avoid using harsh soaps that can strip away natural oils, and be sure to use a gentle cleanser on your face to prevent stripping your skin of beneficial oils.

Aging Around The Eyes

During your 30s, you’ll likely notice subtle signs of aging around your eyes. This is primarily due to the area around the eyes having fragile skin and can show signs of aging at a quicker rate than other parts of the face. 

As a result, some people develop under-eye circles or crow’s feet (wrinkles at the corners of the eyes) before they turn 40 years old—and sometimes even earlier! Darkness around the eyes is another common concern and is mainly due to the blood vessels being very apparent due to the thin skin of the eye area. 

Another contributing factor to the area around the eyes being prone to earlier signs of aging is due to frequent and repeated facial expressions. Smiling and squinting, over time, are the primary causes of wrinkles and fine lines that appear around the eyes. 

Lost Radiance 

Your skin will lose its radiance. You may notice that your skin looks duller than it used to or has a greyish tinge.

This can also happen as you age: the skin’s natural glow fades over time, and your face may not appear as fresh and youthful as it once was. 

Cultivating A Perfect Skincare Routine

The perfect skincare routine is one that you can adopt into your schedule and follow.

Buying the hottest and trending products but not implementing them consistently will not yield any results.

Instead, focus on crafting and curating an experience you enjoy with products that work well for your skin type. 

The basis for every proper skincare routine for those in their 30s can follow a typical routine:

  • A gentle cleanser for both AM and PM. It is also important to find a cleanser capable of removing all of your makeup and sunscreen at the end of the day. 

Many people enjoy using oil-based cleansers to remove these items and follow up with a traditional cleanser afterward. This method is often referred to as the “dual cleansing method.” 

  • Products to moisturize the skin for both morning and night. Consider opting for a product containing vitamin E, as this is exceptionally hydrating to the skin and locks in moisture. 
  • During your 30s, if you do not already include retinol in your routine, it is time to do so! Retinol is proven to reduce the visible appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and slow down skin aging.   

Embracing Your Aging Skin

Despite the latest trends and million-dollar marketing campaigns, it is important not to become fooled into believing aging is a process to hold in contempt.

The truth is- we’re all getting older every day. Accepting and striving to age gracefully can mean that you’ve decided you enjoy taking care of your body and skin health, but you’re also not afraid or ashamed of what is part of the natural part of life. 

Earning my laugh lines with my oldest.

If you fret when looking in the mirror, consider that those fine lines around your eyes were earned from years of smiling. The signs of wrinkles between your eyebrows prove that you worry about the people you love. And the darkness around your eyes was formed during moments of perseverance when times weren’t the easiest. 

Instead of perceiving signs of aging as a flaw but instead as proof of the lives we lead, it can help us accept that aging is normal- and to be celebrated. In short: embrace yourself as an individual who is unique and beautiful. 

You can prioritize your health and skincare while embracing your current skin conditions. Skincare is crucial in attempting to preserve the current state of your skin and aging gracefully. You’ll be taking the most important steps by eating well, exercising, and following steps to protect your skin. 

This article is not medical advice and is educational in nature. Please speak with your doctor before making any health changes.

About the Author

Nicole Booz is the founder of GenTwenty and GenThirty. She is an entrepreneur, author of The Kidult Handbook, and most importantly, Mama to two beautiful little boys. She loves reading, organizing her home, and living a simple, less toxic lifestyle. You've seen her in The New York Times, TIME, Insider, Inside Edition, New York Post, NextAdvisor, Forbes, Yahoo, HuffPost, and U.S. News & World Report.


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