Attractive at Any Age: A Guy’s Guide to Skincare in His 30s

By now, you should have gotten the memo that taking care of your skin is pretty much a must if you want to age well. If not, refer to our advice on beginning a good skincare regime in your 20s. That’s a great place to start — and it’s never too late to start.

Those of you who are graduating into your 30s, congratulations! Welcome to the decade many men call one of the best of their lives (said the 30-something author of the post you’re currently enjoying). We trust that, by now, you have established a good foundation of washing, hydrating, and protecting your skin, so it’s time to dive in a little deeper into keeping that skin looking better, longer.

man using skincare products
Luxy/Getty Images
Luxy/Getty Images

As we get older, our skin looses it’s ability to bounce back. Much like how our metabolism slows, our eyesight fades, and our hair falls out, our skin changes quite a bit as we age. After we hit 20, 1 percent less of collagen is produced in the dermis each year and the skin’s natural exfoliation process decreases by almost 30 percent. Once we hit our thirties, fat cells shrink due to moisture transfer slowing down between the layers of the skin. And this is just the stuff you can’t avoid. Things like your skincare routine, diet, and, most of all, sun exposure can speed all this up faster than you can say Botox.

So what are you going to do about it? For starters, using products that contain higher doses of antioxidants and vitamin A derivatives like retinol, as well as regular exfoliation will help you keep your skin in youth mode, allowing you to age a little more like George Clooney and a little less like Kieth Richards. These five basic steps (and corresponding products) will help you get on the right track.

Vitamin A for Effort

By 30, you should be adding a retinol to your routine. Retinol is the hero when it comes to fighting off wrinkles. It’s one of the many derivative forms of vitamin A and it increases cell turnover which can help to actually reverse damage. There isn’t really another product you just go out an buy that does that. Our pick for those of you just getting started with retinol is this duo from Dermalogica. It allows you to ease into retinol by letting you customize your overnight treatment. Vitamin A products like this can be drying or irritating, but if you start slow, and early, it will become your skin’s best friend.

Dermalogica Overnight Retinol Repair – $89

skincare for men 30s dermalogica overnight retinol repair

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Take a Hit of (Alpha Hydroxy) Acid

Yes, there is a tonic outside of that which goes well with gin. This potent skin tonic is packed with Alpha Hydroxy Acids like Lactic Acid, Azelaic Acid, and Salicin to keep skin in it’s peak condition. Gentle enough to use daily (we prefer it as an aftershave with an added kick) swiping this over your face not only helps prevent breakouts like any good post wash tonic should do, it also gently exfoliates skin therefore helping to keep wrinkles at bay. The key to all skincare, but especially a routine that involves vitamin A products and acids, is regular sunscreen use.

REN Ready Steady Glow Daily AHA Tonic – $35

skincare for men 30s ren daily tonic

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Use SPF Daily

Now that you have embraced retinols and acids for cell-turnover and exfoliation, it’s time to up your daily dose of SPF. We’ll say it again and again – sunscreen is an absolute MUST if you want to fend off the signs of aging. And whereas the aforementioned products do wonders your skin the envy of all who see it, you’re just waisting your time if you don’t protect it every day. This new sunscreen from Avène is our pick because it’s chemical sunscreen-free and specifically made for those who have oil-prone skin and don’t like wearing sunscreen (so… most guys). On top of that, there are added antioxidants that help protect skin from other harmful elements out there and of course Avène Thermal Spring Water to help hydrate the driest skin.

Avène Mineral Light Mattifying Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50 – $28

skincare for men 30s avene high protection sunscreen lotion

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Fight off the Free Radicals

Speaking of antioxidants – if you haven’t started already, it’s OK. Your 30s are a great time to add an antioxidant serum to the mix. Resveratrol and ferulic acid are both antioxidant powerhouses and in this concentration, you’re doing your skin a solid by using a couple drops every morning. Yep – all you need is a couple drops after you wash and before you put on any creams and sunscreens. Your skin will have a protective base layer fending off free-radicals caused by pollution. Other brands can charge well over $100 for this kind of stuff, but we wanted to let you in on the secret of The Ordinary, where you can get almost any of their products for less than $10.

The Ordinary Resveratrol 3% + Ferulic Acid 3% Antioxidant Serum – $8

skincare for men 30s the ordinary anitoxidants

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Pay Extra Attention to the Eyes

The skin around your eyes is the thinnest skin you have. Baggage and wrinkles show up here first, and once they do, good luck getting rid of them without the aid of your neighborhood dermatologist. So now that you’ve hit your 30s, spend a little extra and give them something with some strength. Ferulic acid (the same as above) and retinol (yep, same too) are added to the Dr. Dennis Gross ECG Complex to act together and keep they delicate eye area looking it’s best by keeping skin not only super hydrated, but also gently exfoliated.

Dr. Dennis Gross Ferulic + Retinol Eye Cream – $69

skincare for men 30s dr dennis gross ferulic  retinol eye cream

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This piece is part of a series. Are you in your 20s? Head here. 40s? We got you covered.