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This Is How Your Skin Changes in Your 30s

Learn what to expect from your complexion.

While turning 30 may seem like a big transition, in many ways, it's one for the better. In fact, a study conducted by researchers at the University of Alberta found that human happiness tends to keep rising well into a person's 30s. However, there's one thing that often takes a decided turn for the worse: your skin.

"Hormones have a big effect on your skin, and as you age, these hormones decrease," says Dr. David Greuner, MD, of NYC Surgical Associates. "During your 20s, hormones are pretty leveled out, leading most to enjoy the most beautiful, radiant skin of their lives (despite hormonal breakouts). As we enter our 30s and the decades beyond, you'll notice some big, often sudden, changes as estrogen levels drop, and testosterone eventually takes center stage." So, what can you expect from your complexion? Read on to discover how your skin changes in your 30s.

Your oily skin is a thing of the past.

man looking at his skin

If you find that your normally oily skin has become dryer than the Sahara since you hit 30, you're not alone. "Estrogen levels begin to dip in your 30s, and your cell turnover rate will start to slow down. You may notice your skin can become a little dryer and thinner," says Dr. Greuner.

You notice the first appearance of fine lines.

fine lines skin changes 30

While you may have made it through countless nights of forgetting to wash off your makeup or days when you forgot the sunscreen without issue in your 20s, but don't be surprised if you start to notice the aging process catching up to you in your 30s. Dr. Greuner cautions that this decade is often when patients start to notice "fine lines around your eyes and on your forehead."

You're more likely to develop jawline breakouts.

man with acne

While your skin may be clearer overall in your 30s than it was in your teens and 30s, that doesn't mean you're immune to breakouts. Unfortunately, the rise in testosterone and drop in estrogen levels can often lead to increased oil production that triggers jawline acne. Worse yet, as many people in their 30s are also starting to experience dryness, those harsh acne-fighting treatments that worked in your 20s may suddenly do more harm than good.

Your skin is suddenly sensitive.

man rubbing face with a towel

Even if your skin never showed the slightest sign of irritation a decade earlier, your 30s may trigger the advent of newfound sensitivity. As your skin becomes drier in your 30s, you're more likely to find that it's sensitive, as well; in fact, a study published in the British Journal of Dermatology reveals that dry skin and sensitivity frequently go hand-in-hand.

You'll see the first sign of dark spots.

skin changes 30s

You may have enjoyed the look of those freckles you had as a kid, but in your 30s, they've got a new name: dark spots. Dr. Greuner says, "You may start to develop some age spots" as early as your 30s. Fortunately, maintaining a regular sunscreen routine and wearing protective clothing can help keep new ones from forming.

You might develop a little peach fuzz.

skin changes 30

Those hormonal changes don't only affect your complexion: they can also affect your hair growth. In fact, women specifically may see their facial hair start to become more noticeable in their 30s as their estrogen levels get lower and their testosterone levels increase. According to research published in the British Journal of Dermatology, testosterone increases are significantly related to increases in facial hair growth.

Your usual skincare products may not work as intended.

man washing his face

Unfortunately, that pricey skincare routine you adopted in your 20s may not be as effective as you enter your 30s. As your skin gets drier in your 30s, those oil- and acne-fighting products may become too harsh for your skin and cause redness, irritation, or rebound breakouts.

You get bags under your eyes.

undereye bags skin changes 30s

Approaching your 30th birthday? There's no better time to star adding some eye cream into your regular routine. As you age, the stores of fat under your skin tend to deplete slightly, as do the collagen and elastin that formerly kept your skin firm, increasing the appearance of bags and dark circles under your eyes.

Your pores get bigger.

skin changes 30s

Those barely-perceptible pores you once enjoyed may be a thing of the past by the time your 30s roll around. Unfortunately, the reduced production of collagen and elastin mean your skin is less firm than it was in your 20s, making your pores appear larger as gravity takes its course.

Your skin's texture gets less soft.

skin changes 30s

That dry skin you're experiencing as you age is more than just uncomfortable: it may actually change the texture of your skin. Instead of that smooth texture you once enjoyed, sudden dryness can make your skin feel rough.

Your skin responds more drastically to temperature fluctuations.

man in winter

While research published in the Journal of Physiology reveals that changes in the skin's appearance due to temperature fluctuations isn't uncommon, many people may find themselves experiencing this symptom for the first time in their 30s. The combination of hormonal changes and increased dryness may mean that those cold temperatures that once had no effect on your skin can suddenly cause flushing you weren't expecting.

Your skin becomes duller.

man looking in the mirror at his face

That effortlessly radiant glow you had in your 20s? You might just be missing it by the time your 30s roll around. Reduced oil production can rob your skin of its former dewiness, while dryness can make it look dull.

Your face loses fullness.

woman looking in handheld mirror

Though you may have cursed your full face when you were younger, you might just find yourself missing it in your 30s. The combination of facial fat loss and reduced production of collagen and elastin can make your face look less full, aging you in the process.

Your skin loses some elasticity.

woman with sagging skin

Does your jawline look a little less firm than you remembered it being? You're not imagining things. In your 30s, your body produces less collagen and elastin—two substances responsible for the firmness of your skin earlier in life—meaning your skin may droop and start to look saggy.

Your skin gets redder after workouts.

man and woman couple running at the beach

That increased dryness, sensitivity, and a depletion in your facial fat stores can lead to one particularly problematic situation in your 30s: a beet-red face post-workout. The good news? While that lobster-like hue may not be the look you're going for, the redness is well-earned—and it probably won't last long.

Sarah Crow
Sarah Crow is a senior editor at Eat This, Not That!, where she focuses on celebrity news and health coverage. Read more
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