Do you feel like your skin is aging faster? Are you noticing more fine lines, wrinkles, age spots, or hyperpigmentation? Are you over the age of 30?
Listen, aging is inevitable. But if you’re anything like me, you’d rather age gracefully than use injectables. Mostly because they’re unethical, and also, well… needles in the face? No thank you.
But there are ways you can keep your skin in top shape without the need for excessive force. In today’s article I’m going to talk about how the skin changes in our 30’s, and I’ll highlight the best natural ingredients for glowing skin over 30.
Skin Concerns After 30
Around the age of 30, our collagen production begins to slow down, so you’ll start to notice things like fine lines and wrinkles form in our most expressional areas, and skin won’t feel as “bouncy” as it starts its descent to our middle age.
Three of the most common first signs of aging are:
- Fine lines, particularly around the eyes, mouth, and forehead.
- Dark circles under eyes.
- Hyperpigmentation & sunspots.
You can combat these concerns using some of nature's most potent and effective ingredients, which I’ll talk about a little later.
Why do we see the first signs of aging around our eyes? Well, a few reasons.
- Skin around eyes is thinner than the rest of the face, so is susceptible to more wrinkling.
- As our collagen production slows down, and our thin eye area is the first place to lose that elasticity.
- Many people just use their face moisturizer around the eyes, when they should really be using eye creams and serums.
- 9.5% of the face gets missed when people apply sunscreen—13.5% of the time the eyelids get missed, and 77% of the time the inner corner of the eye and bridge of the nose get missed, thus causing sun damage and premature aging.
The other thing you may have noticed pop up on your face in your 30’s is hyperpigmentation. Hyperpigmentation is basically just darker spots or patches on your skin, usually caused by sun exposure, but can also be hormonal (melasma), or result from an injury. It’s an excess of melanin, which is what gives us the color of our skin.
Melasma is common in pregnancy or when taking certain medications, and usually goes away by itself. But for those pesky patches of damage done to the skin from the sun or injuries, you may need beauty intervention to fade the hyperpigmentation.
If you’re white or fair-skinned, chances are you are no stranger to using sunscreen. But if you’re naturally olive or dark and rarely burn in the sun, it can be difficult to know when you need to reapply sunscreen. Especially in our youth, having a tan was always more desirable than wearing sunscreen.
Hyperpigmentation is also more prevalent and more noticeable in those with medium to dark skin tones due to containing more melanocytes. Hyperpigmentation can also take longer to treat on darker skin than their fair-skinned counterparts.
Post-30 Best Skin Practices
The beauty of being over 30 is we often have better taste in everything, and (hopefully) more income than when we were in our 20’s. So we can choose products for their quality over their price.
I’m generalizing, of course. I had some friends in my 20’s who would rather starve so they could afford the best skincare, and I have friends now in my 30’s who really don’t care for any of it. But, if I can teach anyone anything today, it’s that using quality products is totally worth the investment.
When choosing products, always look at the ingredients. As we age, we want to avoid anything that dries out the skin, and also anything that can cause irritation or inflammation. Many synthetic ingredients, like sulfates and retinol, are big culprits of skin inflammation.
This is why you’ll notice some brands are now formulating their products with “No Sulfates”, and many brands are now creating retinol-alternatives in their products, like Earth Harbor’s Samphire Sea Retinol Digital Serum, formulated with Samphire, a marine succulent that boasts the same properties as retinol, without the irritation.
But let’s start from the top. A skincare ritual can be anything from a one-step up to a 12-step (or more!) ritual. But generally an esthetician will prescribe a 5-step ritual:
- Eye cream
And then we use an exfoliant and mask once or twice a week. That’s the gold standard, but if you’re doing something different it doesn’t, by any means, mean you’re doing it wrong.
Natural Ingredients for Glowing Skin
We’re all trying to be a little better when it comes to the ingredients we expose ourselves to. We want our skincare to contain no parabens, sulfates, fragrance, synthetic colors, etc. And as we get older, it’s important to also choose ingredients that nurture and nourish our skin. Let’s go through each step, and a key ingredient to look for.
Cleansing is a core step in any ritual. Some people prefer not to cleanse in the morning, particularly in the cooler months as it can irritate the skin. But if you don’t like the idea of skipping the cleanse in the morning, and perhaps are a little sensitive, you can opt for an oil cleanser in the morning, such as Earth Harbor’s Sunshine Dew Antioxidant Cleansing Oil.
It’s also good to perform a double cleanse in the evening—first to remove makeup, and second to then cleanse the skin—so use an oil cleanser followed by another cleanser (or the oil cleanser twice).
As for a key ingredient in your cleanser, look for Marshmallow Root (althaea officinalis). “Altho” in Greek means “to heal”. Marshmallow root has been used since ancient Egyptian times in skincare rituals.
Skin Benefits: Incredibly hydrating, softening, and balancing.
Earthwise Beauty has nailed this cleanser. It’s great for all skin types, particularly those with sensitive, inflamed, or acne-prone skin. With its unique blend of natural, vegan ingredients, this cleanser lightly foams, and gently removes any debris from the surface of the skin without drying it out. The addition of marshmallow root and vegetable glycerin leaves the skin feeling supple.
Use this cleanser morning and night.
Alcohol used to be a popular ingredient in toner formulations because of its ability to cleanse bacteria off the skin. But if you’re cleansing properly in your first step, a toner shouldn’t need to cleanse as well.
A good toner will add hydration to the skin, and balance the pH so your skin can prepare for more products. Look for Rosewater.
Skin Benefits: Anti-inflammatory, and hydrating.
Unlike other toners, this toner does not contain any alcohol, so skin won’t become dry or irritated. It is formulated with seaweed extract for its anti-inflammatory properties, and white tea extract for its cleansing properties. And the special ingredient in this toner is the rose quartz-infused rosewater. Rosewater is the star, and it has a wildcrafted rose quartz inside, and you can hear it tink when you move the bottle around. Rose quartz is said to have positive effects on our wellbeing.
Just spritz this toner on your skin after cleansing.
There are thousands of serums out there that promise you the world in a tiny little bottle. So as a consumer, it’s confusing to know what to look for in a serum. But basically, you want to use serums as a daily treatment, so you don’t want anything harsh, that is going to irritate or aggravate the skin. Retinol may be effective, but it is a known skin irritant. Instead, look for Sea Buckthorn Berry.
Skin Benefits: An incredible natural antioxidant found in the Himalayan region. It can help soothe and heal acne and scarring, and is also effective at boosting the skin’s collagen production.
My Pick: UpCircle Beauty’s Coffee Face Serum
This 100% vegan serum brightens, refreshes, and renews tired-looking skin. With ingredients like sea buckthorn (of course); coffee seed oil for evening-out skin tone and brightening; and rosehip oil known for its exfoliant and antioxidant properties to protect and nourish the skin.
Press 2-3 drops into your sin after toning.
Another crucial step in any ritual is moisturizing. Without it, we leave our skin unprotected and open to all kinds of damage. Many moisturizers that offer nourishment and protection contain mineral oils or petroleum-based ingredients because of their ability to sit on the skin and protect. But these are terrible for the planet, and for our health. Look for Jojoba Seed Oil.
Skin Benefits: Anti-inflammatory, Natural Exfoliant, Nourishing.
As we get older, our skin needs formulas that are designed to nourish, protect, and brighten our complexion. Apart from Jojoba Seed oil, this moisturizer contains Neem for hydrating and protecting; Gotu Kola for regeneration and collagen-boosting; Rosewater, which as you know is great for inflammation; and a range of other natural ingredients that have been used in Ayurvedic traditions for centuries.
Use morning and night after serums.
A facial oil should generally be used as a last step in a ritual. This is because oil can act as a barrier on the skin, stopping anything on top from absorbing. Some facial oils are quite greasy and can leave an unpleasant residue, this is normally due to the carrier oils. So it’s important to choose an oil with known lightweight ingredients, and high concentrations of active ingredients.
You can get facial oils that are formulated with the same ingredients as any product, but see it as a booster to the rest of your ritual. For a radiant glow, look for Noni.
Skin Benefits: Healing & Rejuvenating
My Pick: Honua Skincare’s ‘Ōlena Beauty Oil
This oil is an amazing last step in a ritual. It contains Noni for healing and rejuvenating, and a range of other natural ingredients found in Hawaii, like Kukui nut for nourishment, Kamani seed oil for antioxidant protection, and Olena for brightening.
Apply 2-3 drops over your moisturizer to seal-in products.
If you’re using face moisturizer on your eye area, please stop. The eye area is delicate and the skin is thinner than the face, so it’s imperative to use ingredients that can penetrate those finer follicles. Using a moisturizer on the eyes can result in milia, hardened lumps of sebum. Not to mention, you won’t get the results you’re looking for.
For a boost of nutrients and vitamins, look for Andiroba Seed Oil.
Skin Benefits: Antioxidant Protection & Anti-Aging
My Pick: Earthwise Beauty’s Passion Eye Serum
Formulated with unique botanical extracts, many found in and around the Amazon, this eye serum boasts fast-absorbing, hydrating, and firming properties. This product is waterless, so you get the full potency of the ingredients.
Press gently into the eye area.
Our skin is constantly changing and regenerating. Approximately every four weeks, our skin sheds the outermost layer of our epidermis to reveal fresh, renewed skin underneath. Skin specialists recommend that you exfoliate at least once a week to facilitate the skin’s natural shedding process. If we don’t exfoliate, the dead skin cells slough off unevenly, leaving rough patches of dead skin behind. This makes it harder for our skincare to absorb, our makeup doesn’t go on as smoothly, and it can leave us with a dull complexion.
There are a large range of exfoliants found in nature. Look for Pumpkin Enzymes.
Skin Benefits: Brightening & Antioxidant-rich
This exfoliant goes on like a mask, and works in less than 10 minutes. With powerful botanicals like pumpkin for speeding up cell regeneration; bilberry extract for tightening and toning; and lemon and orange peels for brightening your complexion.
Use once a week after cleansing.
To complete your ritual, a face mask is in order. As mentioned before, there are thousands on the market, so what should you choose? Something that targets hydration, inflammation, and signs of aging. My favorite face mask ingredient right now is Neem.
Skin Benefit: Hydrating & Anti-Inflammatory
This formula comes as a powder, and is activated with water. It contains neem for dehydration and inflammation; aloe leaf for soothing; green algae for rejuvenating; and spirulina for anti-aging and protection against free radical damage.
The anti-aging market is the largest in the beauty industry. So it is overwhelming to know which products to choose. But I hope this article gave you some ideas on some key ingredients to look for in your anti-aging skincare ritual so that you can age gracefully.
Emma Masotti is an Australian now living in Austin, TX, and has been a trained esthetician for over 15 years. She is a sustainable skincare writer, educating and building awareness around proper skin health that doesn’t cost the earth.
Some of the products promoted in our blog are from our online store. Many others are brands we have researched and found to be great examples of sustainable, ethical, and innovative brands in their field, and we don't make any profit from mentioning them in our blog. #CollaborationOverCompetition