In your 30s
"It's time to face the music." Now you begin to confront past skin sins. "This is the decade when you wake up to things you've never noticed on your skin before," says dermatologist David Bank, MD. Sunspots, broken blood vessels and fine lines replace acne for some and accompany it for others. Acne tends to become more hormonally driven, so the week before and during your period might not be pretty. Your complexion dulls, too, since cell turnover is slowing down.
"Speed up turnover." Bump up your retinoid use to four or five nights a week to stave off wrinkles, uneven texture, and loss of elasticity. "It gives you an antiacne, antiwrinkling effect with little to no drying or irritation," says Bank. (If you have sensitive skin, try less-irritating Kinerase instead.) On nights you're not using a retinoid, smooth on a potent exfoliant like glycolic or lactic acid to speed cell turnover; if your skin can tolerate it, apply a mild at-home glycolic peel once a week.
"Mmm, antioxidants!" They boost sun protection and fight free radicals (destructive molecules that are formed when your skin comes into contact with UV rays, pollution, allergens and a host of other irritants). "The most effective include vitamin C and tocopherol [a potent form of vitamin E]," says Bank. Green tea and selenium may also be beneficial. Look for them in your moisturizers and sunscreens.