Skincare Products You Need in Your 30s

By: Dr. Stephanie “Steff” Garcia

Skin care is important at any age. Skincare products are used for a multitude of reasons including: anti-aging, acne, treatment, improvement, and more. It is important to note that with any NEW skincare regimen it is best to contact your dermatologist and or esthetician for proper guidelines and implementation. I am a 38 year old woman with normal-to-oily skin, large pores, and old acne scars. As I slowly inch out of my 30s, I started to think about the skincare products that have truly impacted my skin these past few years. Now keep in mind I am limiting this list to 5 products, but there are MANY more that are GREAT for 30 something skin. 


No matter what your age, sun protection is an absolute necessity! Did you know that in addition to lowering your risk of skin cancer, SPF can help stop premature aging, and help maintain an even, healthy-looking complexion? My personal recommendation is to apply a sunscreen that is separate from your daily moisturizer and makeup. I apply my SPF right after my daytime moisturizer, even if that product contains its own SPF. While using products such as moisturizers and foundations that contain SPF are beneficial, they do not offer the same amount of protection that a stand alone SPF would. Also, you should be applying at least a ½ teaspoon of SPF to your face. This amount should be enough to completely cover your face. Wear a hat and seek shade whenever possible too. Reapply SPF throughout the day, especially if you are sweating or swimming. Consider purchasing a makeup setting spray that contains SPF as well. That will be easier to apply during the day for those of you with a full face of makeup on. 


One of the best anti-aging skincare ingredients you can get is retinoid. There are several different terms for retinoid (we will go more in depth in a later blog); retinol, retain-A, and Vitamin A. To be clear, retain-A is a prescription based formula that must be referred by your physician. However, don’t feel you need to run to your doctor’s office to get an effective product. There are many retinoid forms available at your local drugstore and or department store. So what are the benefits of using a retinoid? First and foremost, this ingredient has been the most studied, proven, and recommended for anti-aging. A retinoid exfoliates the skin giving way to a more youthful, even-toned complexion. In our 30s, we begin to see changes in our skin. You may notice fine lines that weren’t there a couple years ago or discoloration and freakling of the skin. These are all signs that we are getting older and need to take a more proactive approach to our skincare routines. While retinoids can be used both day and night, I personally tend to use retinol only at night right after my toner and or essence. Keep in mind that using a retinoid can contribute to sun sensitivity; therefore, SPF is always a must. A retinoid will be able to prevent and improve some signs of aging, but truth be told nothing will ever stop the aging process. 

Vitamin C

I began to implement Vitamin C into my morning skincare routine about a year ago. I’ve seen some pretty awesome results with it too. Using a Vitamin C will help improve the clarity and brightness of your complexion. It is an antioxidant, meaning that it will help to prevent aging due to sun exposure (it does NOT replace SPF though). The most effective form of Vitamin C is L-ascorbic acid. While Vitamin-C can be used both day and night, my preference is daytime. I use this right after my essence and or toner. Properly packaged and effective Vitamin-C serums will come in air tight, dark or non-clear packaging. You may also find some forms of Vitamin-C in a powder consistency that can be just as effective. One thing I want to point out is that Vitamin-C can go bad quickly, hence the air-tight, dark packaging benefits. I like to store mine in my mini skincare refrigerator. This not only makes it feel cooling and soothing upon application, it aids in preservation as well.

Eye Cream

In my 20s I used an eye cream pretty regularly; however in my early 30s I stopped, and do I EVER regret that! Say what you will about eye creams being “extra” or “unnecessary” I beg to differ because of experience. I’ve seen an improved appearance of my under eye area since making eye cream a priority again over the last three years. The skin under our eyes is the most delicate area of the face. This skin is the thinnest, thereby rendering it prone to accelerated aging. Applying an eye cream twice daily can help combat the signs of aging and or prevent it from occurring sooner. Thicker eye creams can be reserved for nighttime thereby not interfering with makeup application. The goal of the eye cream is to hydrate the under eye area. This will also help to improve the look of under eye makeup too. While you may gravitate towards using an eye cream that contains SPF, proceed with caution. SPF can cause eye irritation if you have sensitive eyes. I typically stay clear of eye creams that contain SPF and opt for always wearing my sunglasses. 

Eyelash/Eyebrow Conditioner/Serum 

Now you may not hear many people mention this as a skincare necessity, but I definitely don’t go a day without these two miracle workers! As I reached the mid 30s mark, I noticed my eyelashes weren’t as voluminous as they once were; even the length had started to change. It was then I decided to begin a lash conditioner regime. Now, for almost two years, I’ve used an eyelash conditioner every night along my upper lash line. The key to lash conditioners is consistency. Do not purchase an eyelash conditioner if you do not plan on making it a non-negotiable in your nighttime skincare routine. It took about 60 days for me to notice a difference in my lashes. After 90 days, my lashes were definitely longer and fuller. I was so pleased with my experience that I decided to focus on my eyebrows too. I have long suffered from sparse brows. Each day as I do my makeup I think to myself, how are my brows going to look today? Eyebrows are what frame your face; they enhance symmetry and beauty. When you have a good brow, everything else falls into place. Since starting this eyebrow growth journey, I’ve seen an improvement in the fullness of my brows, particularly the right one. While my brows may never be as full as I would like them to, I do appreciate my results. It took a good 4-6 months of consistent use to see a difference in my eyebrows. I do tweeze stray hairs as needed. Now that I have a fuller brow, I am able to use eyebrow products that once didn’t always work for me. I’m happy with my results in both the eyelash conditioner and eyebrow serum.