Like it or not, the first signs of aging hit us in our 30s. Obviously, we’re all going to age – it’s a part of life – but we also want to feel and look vibrant as we get older. Here’s how to keep looking great:

An Ounce of Prevention

The first line of defense is prevention and it starts on the inside. Take care of your body by eating healthier, nourishing foods. Think about swapping soft drinks for water and choosing a type of exercise you love to do a few times a week.

“Eating well and minimizing processed or junk foods will decrease the incidence of breakouts and result in clearer and younger-looking skin,” says Dr. Aisha McKnight-Baron, a board-certified plastic surgeon in Atlanta. She also recommends exercising regularly with muscle strengthening weights and drinking lots of water to flush out toxins.

Pick the Right Products

When we start to age, our skin reflects the times we forgot to take off our makeup before bed. It is so important to begin cleaning the skin and then layering wholesome, natural products and moisturizers on top.

“A woman in her 30s needs a good cleanser, sunscreen and antioxidant,” says Dr. Lisa DiFrancesco, a board-certified plastic surgeon at DiFrancesco Plastic Surgery in Atlanta.

Pick a cleanser that is gentle and nourishing – you no longer need harsh toners that dry out the skin. Aveeno Ultra Calming Foaming Cleanser is a great drugstore option, and REN Evercalm Gentle Cleansing Gel is great for sensitive skin. Another pick is Fresh Soy Face Cleanser, an extra-gentle product for all skin types. Both REN and Fresh brands are available at Sephora.

When picking a moisturizer make sure to choose a product with natural oils. McKnight-Baron suggests DermHAHyalutonic moisture serum. We like Olay Complete All Day Moisturizer with SPF for the less-expensive pick and the ultra-light Boscia Green Tea Oil-Free Moisturizer for a step above. Boscia skincare can be purchased at Sephora.

Look for “natural, nourishing oils like jojoba oil,” says Eliza Bacat, a registered nurse and wellness expert in Atlanta. She suggests Leven Rose organic, 100 percent pure natural jojoba oil and keeping a travel size to reapply throughout the day.

“The best antioxidant for prevention is Vitamin C,” DiFrancesco says. She recommends you eat plenty of fruits and vegetables high in antioxidants and add a product like Environ’s Vita-Peptide C-Quence Serum to your routine.

Sunscreen is Essential

It’s not too late to protect your skin. Every dermatologist and plastic surgeon agrees: The number one factor of aging skin is sun exposure. Wear a high-quality sunscreen every day, even in winter. Look for sunscreens that contain zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, which are strong barriers against the sun’s harmful rays. McKnight-Baron suggests Nyraju DayTime Solar Defense or Neova DNA Damage Control Everyday.

More options to consider:

Ra-Ra for Retinoids

“Women in their 30s are in somewhat of a transition zone,” McKnight-Baron says. Some of us still need anti-acne products due to hormones, but we’ll also benefit from anti-aging interventions.

That’s where retinoids come in – they effectively battle acne and wrinkles simultaneously. A dermatologist can prescribe tretinoin, most commonly known as Retin-A, which is derived from skin-renewing vitamin A.

Once you establish a skincare routine, McKnight-Baron recommends a skin analysis from a board-certified plastic surgeon or dermatologist. This can help determine when it’s time for another step.


Injectables like Juvederm help prevent wrinkles by filling out parts of the face beginning to hollow. DiFrancesco says Botox is the most common non-surgical procedure, with over six million procedures performed annually. She says the injections weaken the muscles in which repetitive contractions cause lines and wrinkles.

Chemical Peels

Light chemical peels are a great non-invasive first step in anti-aging procedures, as they’re “helpful in restoring skin tone, minimizing pores and effacing fine wrinkles,” McKnight-Baron says.

DiFrancesco also recommends chemical peels. “Working them into your annual or monthly beauty regimen will remove layers of dull, dead skin and allow for your youthful beauty to shine through.”

Lactic acid peels in particular are great for busy moms, as they’re both effective and avoid the negatives of other peels – there’s little to no lasting redness or actual peeling. Skin slowly sloughs off over several days, ensuring you can still leave the house looking great.

Lasers for Smoother, Tighter Skin

Dr. Stanley Okoro, a board certified plastic surgeon in Marietta, recommends ThermiSmooth to tighten the skin and stimulate collagen. It’s a handheld device that gently heats patients’ skin. The laser treats cellulite and wrinkles, and is used for fat reduction and skin tightening.

It is non-invasive, with minimal discomfort and requires zero downtime. “We recommend a package of five treatments, performed once weekly, to maximize aesthetic outcomes,” he says.

Body Rejuvenation

Body tightening and non-invasive fat reduction procedures are for those who already have a minimal amount of excess skin or fat, McKnight-Baron says. For those of us with sagging skin issues, ThermiSmooth can also tighten the belly and thighs without going under the knife.

“Cool Sculpting is very popular right now and a great alternative to liposuction for those who are opposed to surgery,” adds Dr. Alan Larsen, a board certified plastic surgeon in Buckhead. It is excellent for those within ten pounds of their target weight who want to get rid of a few stubborn areas.

What About the Guys?

Here are some easy steps men can take to look their best:

  • Use sunscreen and moisturizers every day. It’s the number one reason men and women have aging skin. Two favorites are: Cetaphil Dermacontrol Moisturizer SPF30 and Neutrogena Men Triple Protect Face Lotion and Sunscreen.
  • Don’t get hairy in the wrong spots. Trim unwanted body hair (ears, nose, eyebrows etc.) Keep hair on chest, head and beard short. You’ll see less gray and you’ll look younger.
  • Use hair gel sparingly. The best products make your hair look great, but don’t make it look greasy. Two favorites are: Gel Pomade by Imperial and Uppercut Deluxe Pomade.
  • If you have hair loss, Okoro suggests having a laser hair growth treatment or hair follicle transplant. Transplant procedures involve the harvesting of hair follicles to re-implant. These are popular and minimally-invasive procedures.

– Kyla Steinkraus

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