Coming of Age: The Best Men’s Skincare Routine For Your 30s
When should I start getting Botox®? Is it time to incorporate retinol into my skincare routine? What is a “mommy makeover”? How about a “daddy do-over”? Do I really need to, as the saying goes, sacrifice my ass for my face? Should I swap my hyaluronic acid fillers for something a bit more permanent?
When it comes to beauty and aesthetics, there is no such thing as one -size -fits-all. But there are some tried and true principles that will keep you looking and feeling your best. In this series, Coming of Age, The AEDITION answers your most pressing questions about the best treatments, procedures, and practices — from surgery and skincare to health and wellness and everything in between — to consider at any age.
Skincare in your thirties is similar to skincare in your twenties in that your main goals are to protect and preserve your skin’s elasticity. One of the most effective ways to do so? Using sunscreen to prevent skin cancer and delay the breakdown of elastin fibers from UV rays. But it’s not just what you put on your face that matters. Getting regular exercise, having a well-balanced diet, managing stress, and sleeping well are all key factors for maintaining skin health.
Education also plays a big role at this point in life. “Men like to strip their skin of natural oils with harsh cleansing and scrub-like products,” says Dendy Engelman, MD, a board certified dermatologist in New York City. “I find they are less educated in general on how to attack specific skin concerns, like sunspots and fine lines.” If you start visiting a dermatologist yearly for skin cancer screenings, you'll also be able to discuss any skincare concerns you and curate a tailored regimen to help target your specific needs.
The Best Men's Skincare Routine for Your 30s
If you remember our guide to skincare in your twenties, you’ll notice that, for your thirties, our experts recommend swapping out your clarifying toner for an antioxidant serum and upgrading your nighttime skincare regimen to include a cleansing oil and one of our favorite powerhouse ingredients, niacinamide. With that in mind, here’s what your A.M. and P.M. skincare regimens should look like:
- Gentle Cleanser
- Antioxidant Serum
- Eye Cream
- SPF 30+
- Cleansing Oil
- Antioxidant Serum
- Eye Cream
- Moisturizer with Niacinamide
If acne or breakouts are still a concern, there is no harm in keeping a clarifying toner with alpha and/or beta hydroxy acids in your routine. And, assuming you are happy with the gentle cleanser, eye cream, daytime moisturizer and SPF you’ve been using, you can keep them the same.
The Best Skincare Ingredients for Your 30s
It’s not the quantity of skincare products that matters, but the quality of it. That means looking for formulas with high-quality ingredients, and your thirties is the ideal time to start adding specific actives to your regimen. Here are some tips on what to look for on the label:
Since dermatologists find that men tend to be more aggressive with their skin, it’s important to restore balance. A cleansing oil is a great way to do so because it “gently removes dirt and bacteria from the day without stripping the skin of natural oils,” Dr. Engelman explains. You can find cleansing oils like Neutrogena Ultra-Light Cleansing Oil at the drugstore or try Kiehl’s Midnight Recover Botanical Cleansing Oil. We’re fans of its lightweight texture that creates a milky lather without leaving behind any residue.
To help combat oxidative stress (free radicals from the sun that cause cellular and tissue damage), add an antioxidant-rich serum to your regimen. Vitamin C is perhaps the most famous of the protective bunch, and you can use the ingredient twice a day — after you cleanse and before you moisturize — to ward off free radical damage while improving skin tone and texture. SkinCeuticals C + E Ferulic is a dermatologist favorite. We also like BeautyStat Universal C Skin Refiner because it employs 20 percent pure vitamin C (the highest amount possible) in a smart delivery system.
There are a handful of skincare ingredients (think: retinol, hyaluronic acid, vitamin C) that seem to do it all, and niacinamide is a member of that group. “Niacinamide will help with fine lines, even out skin tone and texture, as well as hydrate,” explains Amy Spizuoco, DO, a board certified dermatologist in NYC. Look for it in a face cream, like La Roche-Posay Toleriane Double Repair Moisturizer, and apply it as the last step to your nighttime skincare regimen.
If You’re in the Market for a Professional Treatment…
Since you’re already paying a visit to your derm for a skin check, now’s the time to consider professional treatments that can help to boost collagen levels (after all, production starts to slow after age 25). Both Dr. Engelman and Dr. Spizuoco recommend light chemical peels to lift pigmentation and minimize the appearance of fine lines and light therapy facials to help stimulate collagen production and destroy acne-causing bacteria.
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