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A skin care regime for 30-somethings

Is a Solution for:
Dull Skin, Oily Skin
April 6, 2009 Reviewed by Marta 13 Comments

At some point in my mid-30s, my skin started to looking as dull and listless as a wet weekend. I was using Sheisido products, which I didn't blame, and was smoking, which I did. My French tutor (who puffed fairly incessantly on Gauloises) would say that she could always spot another smoker. "Nous sommes gris". Knowing that we were all a head-to-toe washed out gray, like some abandoned population of ghosts, haunted me until I finally gave up cigarettes at the age of 40. Anyhow, I was reminded of all of this the other day when I was visited by a 36-year old friend who suddenly said, "I'm gray". And she didn't mean her hair.

Basically, being well under 40 and in good health doesn't count for much if you are not taking care of your skin. So I presumed (well, she did ask) to give Ms. 36 a few tips. First off, start cleansing properly. Even if everything else seems too daunting and expensive, or you are just in plain denial, do yourself a favor and invest in a Clarisonic brush (it is currently selling for about $169). It gently, but thoroughly lifts off dead cells and debris from your skin. That's a good thing in itself, but it also prepares the skin to make the most of whatever you do next.

Which would be to cleanse. I don't put my facial cleanser on the Clarisonic brush head; I use the brush on my dry face and then wash my face. Just to confuse you, I will admit that in the shower I use the brush head for body with Japanese charcoal cleanser to keep my shoulders and chest free from breakouts (it works a treat, too). I recommended that Ms. 36 get Tracie Martyn's Amla cleanser for a few reasons. First, I really think it helps to brighten and freshen the skin. Secondly, it has so many good things in it that it is virtually a treatment in its own right. So, for a skin care novice who can't contemplate restocking the entire bathroom cabinet at this stage, it is the stone that swipes two birds.

Ms. 36 was't going to get off that lightly though. She was right, she was gray. In fact, I ran (literally) to my bathroom and came back with my half-empty bottle of IMAGE Skincare's Ageless, urging her to take it home and start using it immediately. She looked at me as if I was slightly nuts, but I wasn't put off. IMAGE's Ageless is the best brightener that I have come across so far with its glycolic acids. It even has some Matrixyl to get her set on the anti-aging path. Click here for more information on IMAGE and our Five Best brightener picks. NB: YBF's Restore isn't on the Five Best list because I am still testing it. But based on results so far, I think that this would also be good for a 30-something in need of skin tone refinement.

"What about a lotion", asked Ms. 36 in a follow up email. I suggested a Jurlique cream with calendula (marigold), vitamin C and carrot. She certainly doesn't need heavy gun antioxidants at this stage, but all that vitamin C and betacarotenoid will do her the power of good. Jurlique is not a brand I associate with repairing fine lines and wrinkles, but its gentle and well-chosen botanicals all perform useful roles making it a great choice for 30-somethings. I would also, especially if budget conscious, look at the Yes to Carrots range. The Moisturizing Day Cream is brilliant value at $14.99 with carrot and avocado oil as well as some niacinamide (a vitamin B). Meanwhile, Stephanie's review of Yves Rocher Recovery Moisturizer suggests that it would be a good choice for early-30-somethings.

Abella's Colorshade tinted sunscreens (in four shades to match skin tone would also be worth thinking about - especially, if you'd like to cut down on make up as well as protect from the sun. It gives great protection without lathering on the harsh chemicals and parabens and it even has moisturizers, vitamins and antioxidants.

30-something is when those first crow's feet can appear, accompanied perhaps by a little crepiness under the eye or on the lid. Derma Radiant Ageless Eyes ($39) is a good choice. This has a good anti-aging ingredient, Matrixyl 3000, and Eyeliss (a flavonoid and peptide combo), which is very effective against puffy bags and dark circles. There are also some useful botanicals, including a plant called eyebright. The only thing not to like is a couple of parabens. I would also use Stem Organics Intensive Eye Serum as an excuse to get to know the entire Stem range. These are lovely products that hail all the way from Australia, where organic has a level of meaning that shames the rest of us. The signature ingredient is the vit C packed (and I mean packed) kakadu plant.

Finally, if you are thinking about a treatment, you could find a salon in your area that gives microcurrent facials. This entirely painless - in fact, amazingly relaxing - procedure sends little microcurrents of electricity to your facial muscles. It kind of perks them and gives them a little workout. Sustained use will mean that you will prevent sagging jaws, chin, neck and maintain an apple-cheeked youthfulness into the decades ahead of you.

Ingredients in Yes To Carrots:

Spring Water (Aqua), Cucumis Sativa (Cucumber) water, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Daucus Carota (Carrot) Juice, Dead Sea Water (Maris Aqua), Daucus Carota (Carrot) Seed Oil, Isopropyl Myristate, Propylene Glycol, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Glycerin, Glyceryl Stearate, Cetyl Alcohol, Disodium EDTA, Squalane, Caprylic/Capric Triglyeride, PEG 40 Stearate, Potassium Cetyl Phosphate, Sorbitan Tristearate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Parfum (Fragrance), Ginkgo Biloba Leaf Extract, Hyaluronic Acid, Niacinamide, Benzophenone 3, Salicylic Acid, Hamamelis Virginia Flower (Witch Hazel) Water, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange Peel) Oil, Citrus Nobilis (Mandarin Orange) Peel Oil, Silt (Maris Limus), Imidazolidinyl Urea, Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Peel Extract.

Ingredients in Derma Radiant Ageless Eyes:

Deionized water, ceteraryl alcohol, ceterearyl glucoside, glycerin, hesperidin methyl chalcone, montmorillonite, steareth 20, dipeptide-2, palmitoyl tetrapeptide-3, caprilyc/capric triglyceride, hydroxyethyl acrylate/sodium acryloydimethyl taurate copolymer, squalane, polysorbate 60, butylene glycol, palmitoyl oligopeptide, polysorbate 20, carbomer, sodium hyaluronate, retinol, lavender extract, licorice extract, chamomilla recutita (matricaria) flower extract, centella asiatica, euphrasia officinalis, biotin, hops extract, L-tyrosine, rosa canina fruit extract, citric acid, propylene glycol, diazolidinyl urea, methylparaben, propylparaben.

Ingredients in Stem:

Organic Aloe Barbadensis, Vegetable Glycerin, Organic Rosehip Oil, Vegetable Emulsifying Wax, Cucumber Distillate, Organe Blossom Water, Glyceryl Monostearate, Organic Ginseng Extract, D-alpha Tocopherol (Vit. E), Guar Gum, Hydrolyzed Hibiscus Esculentus Extract, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate (Vit. C), Kakadu Plum Extract, Raspberry Seed Oil, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Collagen, Organic Seabuckthorn Berry Oil, Organic Pomegranate Extract, Organic Evening Primrose Oil, Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate

See also:

A skin care regime for 20-somethings
A skin care regime for 40-somethings (part one: treatments)
A skin care regime for 40-somethings (part two: potions & lotions)
A skin care regime for 50-somethings

  • January 3, 2010

    by Thia Bateman

    I was just wondering why copper peptides would not be involved with the regime. A good hydroxy acid to exfoliate followed by a copper peptide. It's never too early to repair your collagen, is it?

  • September 17, 2009

    by Anna

    Thank you- that sounds far more manageable! Anna

  • September 17, 2009

    by marta

    Anna, if I remember correctly my esthetician recommends once a week for four weeks and once a month thereafter.

  • September 17, 2009

    by Anna

    Marta, did you have an intensive course of microcurrent facials before having them once a month? Salons in London all advise having ten treatments over 3/4 weeks to start with, which of course is very profitable advice for them. I wondered if your aesthetician said the same to you, or whether one can happily avoid such an expense? Thank you so much! Anna

  • April 8, 2009

    by Lauren

    Marta, is the Clarisonic for exfoliating or just for cleansing? I have sensitive skin and I'm concerned about over-exfoliating. Do you use it daily?

    For your readers: I read a review on that said that Clarisonic claims Amazon is not an authorized retailer so you can't register your product with them and they won't honor free brush offers.


  • April 8, 2009

    by marta

    Well Asya, at least your humid climate won't dry out your skin. How about checking out Babaria. A Spanish brand that is readily available in Europe. The eye cream is pretty good:
    But you have check each product carefully - some are good, others are full of chemicals.

  • April 8, 2009

    by Asya

    Dreary Belgium :-)

    Anything in the European Union is fine. I found this Swedish online shop that carries some Australian brands (as Stem) -
    In the UK Bath & Unwind has some good choices...
    So it's not only the toner from Dermaxine that has left a good impression with you? Will be looking forward for your review

  • April 7, 2009

    by marta

    Stem Organics can be bought in the UK here:
    Content Beauty/Wellbeing
    14 Bulstrode St
    London UK W1U 2JG
    ph 020 3075 1006

    Where in Europe are you?

  • April 7, 2009

    by marta


    For oily skin, I would go with Juice, IMAGE Skincare's Ageless or, my new discovery: Dermaxime's Problem Skin range (there'll be a post on this tomorrow)

  • April 7, 2009

    by dmpond25

    Thanks Marta,
    Question, would you make the same moisturizer recommendation of Yes to Carrots Moisturizing Day Cream or Jurlique to someone who has oily acne skin?


  • April 7, 2009

    by Asya

    Dear Marta,


    Two brief questions:

    Could you please recommend something for the eye area which is more readily available in Europe? Could for example Nutra-lift Rejuvenating Therapy (they have eye products as well) or MD Skincare Lift & Enlighten do the job?

    And could you maybe expand a little bit on how to use Clarisonic (like you did with the post for Amla) - I count on getting it shipped from the US and I'd better make good use of it :-)

    Thanks once again!

  • April 7, 2009

    by marta

    I would go for MD Skincare if that's available. Another option would be Dermaxime:
    The cost in US$ includes shipping to anywhere in the world.

    How to on Clarisonic coming up.

  • April 6, 2009

    by Junko

    Thanks Marta ** I'm excited to see the 30's post because I know that means the 40's and 50's are next!!

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