Dermatologist Recommended Antiaging Skin Care Routines for Your 30s

Keep skin youthful in your 30s

Your 30s are the time to begin aging preventative skin care whether you are in your early, mid or late 30s. In the dermatology world, we call treatments to prevent skin aging “prejuvenation products and treatments". Investing in your skin now will save you a lot of money in the future by postponing the need for many antiaging procedures.

This guide will show you how to prevent or slow skin aging in your 30s.

I will help you find the best antiaging cream for your 30s.  These antiaging products will work best combined it in a custom skincare routine.  

Why Do I Need Antiaging Skincare in my 30s?

By the time you are 30, you have accumulated enough damage to your skin that you should begin antiaging skincare. This is true even if you have done a wonderful job of protecting your skin from the sun. 

The causes of skin aging are many including: DNA damage, Loss of collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid, decrease function of stem cells and an increase in senescent cells. You are still young, and the skin damage may not be bad if you had good habits, but this is the decade to target aging skin as much as possible.

Learn more about the causes of skin aging here.

The best skin aging treatments prevent aging so you need to start them before you have wrinkles and sagging skin. Eight of the 16 Baumann Skin Types needs antiaging products in their skin care routine.

Take the Baumann Skin Type Quiz to see which antiaging skincare products are best for you in your 30s.

In any skincare routine that you use in your 30s, you need to use products that target your barriers to skin health. You may have issues that you need to address in addition to skin aging. There are 8 Baumann Skin Types that need antiaging ingredients but each requires a different skincare routine.

Antiaging Serums vs Antiaging Creams for 30+ Skin

We usually recommend an antiaging serums for oily skin types and antiaging creams for dry skin types. However, some ingredients cannot be made in a cream and function better in a serum- so it depends upon which antiaging ingredients are in the skincare product.

Best Antiaging Serum for your 30s

Which antiaging ingredients are best for skin in your early, mid and late 30s? It depends upon your Baumann Skin Type and lifestyle habits.

 There are several categories of antiaging serums that might be right for you as described below.

Retinol Serums in your 30s

The best antiaging serum to begin in your 30s is a retinoid. Learn the science of why here.

Retinoid serums come in different strengths- which is right for you depends on your Baumann Skin Type and what other products you are using in the skin care routine.

Vitamin C Serums in Your 30s

Unless you have sensitive skin, Vitamin C serums are a good idea in your 30s. Vitamin C, also called ascorbic acid, helps your skin make collagen to keep it strong and smooth. It is also a strong antioxidant that helps neutralize any free radicals that occur due to sun or pollution exposure.

Here are some of the best Vitamin C serums to prevent skin aging by protecting your skin’s collagen. You can see there are many at different price points. It is very important that you use them up in 4 weeks and replace them monthly because they lose effectiveness quickly once opened.

Hyaluronic Acid Serums in Your 30s

Hyaluronic acid serums (HA serums) temporarily plump up skin cells to make your skin look dewy and hydrated by binding water and holding it on the surface of your skin. They are a good moisturizer for oily skin types who don’t want the heaviness of a cream. But- keep reading and I will tell you why they do not prevent or treat wrinkles.

 Hyaluronic acid (HA) and heparan sulfate are types of glycosaminoglycans.  They are often called antiaging serums, but in reality, they are moisturizers that help other antiaging serums work better and do not prevent or treat wrinkles themselves. 

These glycosaminoglycan serums temporarily give you “jello skin” by pulling water to the skin’s surface and give the skin a feeling of firmness, but this goes away within hours of the serum being washed off. 

Heparan sulfate has a role in antiaging skincare, but it is better for older skin types-and is not as necessary in your 30s.

HA serums do not prevent aging as their effects are only temporary. They are usually very expensive, but they are not worth splurging on when your goal is to prevent wrinkles unless you love the feel and the temporary benefits.

Growth Factor Serums in your 30s

There are many types of anti-aging serums that have different kinds of growth factors. However, in your 30s, it is best to stick with retinol, antioxidant serums, or Vitamin C serums because they play a role in preventing skin aging. Your own natural growth factors are working fine in your 30s, so you do not need expensive growth factors serums. We also do not know about the safety of some growth factor serums like EGF in the long term.

Peptide Serums in your 30s

Peptides do not penetrate well into the skin, inactive other products, and do not do much outside of a test tube- so they are rarely worth the cost. However, they are very popular because they give the skin a temporary smoothing effect.

Other Antiaging Serums in Your 30s

In our 30s, your skin cells are young, they can communicate with each other properly, your stem cell activity has declined a little but not significantly and your repair mechanisms still work well to repair damage. This is why you do not need growth factors, heparan sulfate and defensins. You need to focus on protection and DNA repair.  Look for serums with:

  • Exosomes
  •  DNA repair enzymes
  • Retinoids
  • Vitamin C

Best Antiaging Cream for 30s

My comments about serums also apply to antiaging creams: both day creams and night creams. Which is best depends upon your skin type and which ingredients are appropriate to treat your barriers to skin health.

These are my favorite antiaging creams that I prescribe to my patients in their 30s:

Affordable Antiaging Creams for your 30s

Many of the best antiaging serums and creams are expensive and cost over $125. Once you open them, you need to use them up in 4- 6 weeks before they lose strength. For this reason, you should not buy just any antiaging night cream that is advertised to early mid and late 30-year-olds because:

  1. You might not need it
  2. It might not be right for your Baumann Skin Type
  3. There may be more affordable options that match your budget

Once you know your Baumann Skin Type, our regimen builder will help you make a custom skincare routine. We will go through each step of your skin care routine and give you choices of products from various brands and price points. You will not only find the best antiaging serums and creams, but you will also know which skin care routine step to use them in. You see the skin care routine step order is important- it really matters what goes before and after antiaging serums. It would be a shame to spend a lot of money on an antiaging serum and then put it on the skin with a product that inactivates all of the antiaging ingredients.

Best Anti-Aging Products for 30s

Should I Use Retinol In My 30s?

Yes!! Retinol, which is a type of retinoid, is great to use in your 30s.

You can learn about how to find the best retinol cream when you are beginning retinol at this link.

If you choose to use a retinoid, you need to use it in the correct step in the regimen because what you use before and after retinoids will effect how well they work and the side effects that you experience.

The science of how retinoids prevent skin aging has been studies for years and has a lot of evidence-based research to back it up. You can click here to learn more about retinoid science.

Here are the best low strength retinols to use in your 30s:

Best Antiwrinkle Creams for 30s

One reason that antiaging creams are so pricey is that the manufacturing and packaging process for unstable heat and light labile ingredients is expensive. Retinoids and Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) break down upon exposure to air and light. This is why you should never buy retinol or ascorbic acid containing antiaging wrinkle creams that are in a jar. So- if you choose cream with these ingredients- pick an airless pump or an amber or brown dropper bottle and use the product u in 4 weeks.

Best Antiaging Eye Creams for 30s

Wear sunscreen around your eyes when you can. There are many types of antiaging eye creams. You can learn more about choosing an eye cream here.

Our favorite antiaging eye creams are here:

Antiaging Sunscreens

Sunscreens are the best antiaging creams for your 30s! Wear one. Every day!

Choose one that you like the feel of and that is affordable so you do not mind putting enough on (1/4 teaspoon to the face) and you will wear it every day.

These are our favorites. 

Fight Skin Aging in Your 30s

In your 30s, skin starts showing predictable signs of aging that require targeted antiaging ingredients for prevention. 

Here's what's happening underneath the surface:

  1. Mitochondrial Damage

    The mitochondria provide energy to your skin cells. But with aging, mitochondria accumulate damage from free radicals and inflamed cells called senescent cells. They cannot regenerate themselves, so protecting mitochondria is key. Anti-aging ingredients like antioxidants and anti-inflammatories can neutralize free radicals. Ingredients that activate autophagy can help clear out damaged mitochondria.

  2.  Free Radicals

    Free radicals are unstable molecules that damage important cell structures like membranes, DNA, and collagen. This leads to dysfunction and visible aging. Loading up on antioxidants is important in your 30s to neutralize these free radicals before they degrade collagen and elastin fibers.

  3. Pollution

    Daily exposure to traffic pollution, cigarette smoke, and other urban toxins generates free radicals that age skin fast. Crepidiastrum denticulatum extract and other anti-pollution ingredients provide a shield against this environmental assault.

  4. Glycation

    Sugars can bind to collagen and elastin in a process called glycation. This makes the protein fibers rigid and malformed, leading to wrinkles and sagging. Anti-glycation ingredients prevent this binding process.

  5. UV Damage

    Years of sun exposure causes genetic mutations (to DNA) that lead to irregular pigmentation and precancers. Using DNA repair enzymes can help reverse some of this genetic damage.

  6. Collagen Loss

    Collagen breakdown accelerates in the 30s. Retinoids help by lowering collagen-destroying enzymes like collagenase. Vitamin C boosts collagen production. This dynamic duo prevents sagging.


    By focusing on these root causes, anti-aging ingredients in your 30s aim to protect youthful skin structure and function. It's all about prevention!

If you want specific suggestions for your Baumann Skin Type and lifestyle habits- take the free 3-5 minute skin type quiz here. Once your skin type is diagnoses, you will receive a suggested regimen that you can customize at every step by browsing through all the products that we recommend for that step of your skin car regimen. You can choose by brand, price, and other preferences and you will be confident that you are using the best products to prevent aging for YOUR skin type.

Level up your skin care knowledge with medical advice from dermatologists

Best References and Scientific Publications on Antiaging in your 30s

  1. Baumann L. Antiaging Ingredients in Ch. 37 of Baumann's Cosmetic Dermatology Ed 3. (McGraw Hill 2022)
  2. Baumann, L. S. (2022). Extrinsic Aging. Baumann's Cosmetic Dermatology, 71.
  3. Baumann, L. Ch.  Cosmeceuticals and Cosmetic Ingredients (McGraw Hill 2015)
  4. Baumann, L. (2018). How to use oral and topical cosmeceuticals to prevent and treat skin aging. Facial Plastic Surgery Clinics, 26(4), 407-413.
  5. Baumann, L. (2007). Skin ageing and its treatment. The Journal of Pathology: A Journal of the Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland, 211(2), 241-251.
  6. Idalgo Vasques, L., & Ricci Leonardi, G. (2023). User Experience in Cosmetics: Perception Analysis Regarding the Use of an Anti-Aging Moisturizer. Cosmetics, 10(1), 33.
  7. Baumann, L., Weisberg, E., & Percival, S. L. (2009). Skin aging and microbiology. Microbiology and Aging: Clinical Manifestations, 57-94.
  8. Baumann, L. (2008). Understanding and treating various skin types: the Baumann Skin Type Indicator. Dermatologic clinics, 26(3), 359-373.

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