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A woman with short gray hair applies moisturizer to her face with a smile.

Healthy Skin Must-Haves for Your 30s, 40s & Beyond

With time comes change, and for our skin, this means a shift in the nutrients and care required to keep our complexions clear, healthy, and happy. As we age, our skin asks different things of us than in earlier years to stay glowing. To help you put your freshest face forward and embrace your best skin at any age, look no further than the top 10 must-haves below for your 30s, 40s, and beyond.

1. Collagen-boosting support

As years pass, levels of naturally produced collagen– the most abundant protein in the human body– tend to decline. Because collagen is the hero behind strong, resilient tissues (think elasticity) and contributes to the firmness and renewal of skin (think suppleness and glow), this depletion can begin to show in our complexions as wrinkling, crepeing, and sagging. As a building block for keratin, depleting collagen can also show up as lackluster hair health and weak, brittle nails.  

Adding collagen-rich foods to our diet may help to support this natural decline. For a plant-based option, adding beans or seaweed into your menu plan can help provide an extra boost. Other foods include bone broth, animal skins, salmon, and jellyfish. (Yes, that jellyfish.) For a tastier way to supplement your body’s skin-supporting protein needs, try starting your day with this collagen packed superfood smoothie, blended with tasteless, easy mix collagen peptides.

Bonus for bones and joints: Collagen is a structural protein that supports bone and joint health by helping to form protective cartilage. Collagen peptides have been shown to aid in stiffness, pain, and improved function of bones and joints. And as we age, these areas can require a little extra TLC.      

2. UV protection 

For our skin, sun damage, or “photoaging,” is the leading cause of premature signs of aging. Unprotected exposure to the sun’s UV rays, according to Yale Medicine, causes DNA changes at a cellular level. And because this damage happens at the deepest layer of our skin, it can take years to surface and become visible. These signs can include changes in pigmentation, loss of skin tone, a rough, uneven texture, spider veins, redness, and blotchiness. 

To prevent photoaging and ward off further signs of sun damage, says the CDC, opt for shade or use an umbrella when outdoors, and wear protective clothing. And always, no matter the season or weather, wear SPF protection as part of your daily skincare routine. According to most dermatologists, try opting for a minimum SPF of 30, though 50 is ideal.  

Bonus for the nutrition-savvy: Supplementing your diet with antioxidant vitamins may also help to slow or reverse the signs of aging by warding off free radicals like those caused by harmful UV rays. Consider adding an antioxidant-rich multivitamin into your routine.  

3. A gentle cleanser

Harsh cleansers can strip our skin of moisture, interrupt our natural skin barrier, and overstress the skin, all of which can lead to accelerated signs of aging. Our skin types can also change over time, in some instances becoming more sensitive, and in most cases losing natural hydration and protection due to the slowing of oil production. While we may be attached to the tried and true scrub we swore by in our 20s, it could be time for a change. 

Opt for a gentle, nourishing cleanser that won’t overdry your skin, interrupt its natural barrier with harsh abrasives, or cause irritation to sensitive complexions. Dermatologists recommend daily washing, but note that as skin matures, less frequent washing can suffice. For especially dry and sensitive skin types, gentle cleansing oils can also be an excellent option for makeup removal and cleansing, though they are not recommended for acne-prone skin. If you deal with breakouts, always reach for a water-based cleanser.  

Bonus for the microbiome: Recent research has shown the benefits of gentle, skin microbiome-balancing products that work with the skin’s natural bacterial ecosystem to maintain health and support the skin barrier. Studies have shown potential links between the health of the skin microbiome and signs of aging. See for yourself with a probiotic enriched daily face wash.   

4. Retinoids

Retinoid is the catch-all term used to refer to vitamin A-derived skincare products. These can include retinol topicals like creams, serums, and gels, and retinoid oral treatments, all of which can be either OTC or prescription. When it comes to signs of aging, retinoids work by triggering collagen production in our bodies and skin, leading to greater elasticity and improved appearance of signs of aging like wrinkles. They can also help with clogged pores and inflammation and increase skin cell renewal.  

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, because retinoids can make skin more sensitive to the sun, it is recommended to always use a protective sunscreen in tandem. Dermatologists advise choosing the lowest retinoid formulation to begin, and recommend consulting your dermatologist before starting a retinoid regimen. If you’re looking to add more skin-supporting vitamin A to your diet without the risk of sensitivity, reach for leafy greens, carrots, eggs, and mango.  

Bonus for breakouts: Adult acne plagues more of us than you might think. If you’re dealing with blemishes well past your teens and 20s, a safe, natural, clinically-proven supplement powered by vitamin A-derived compounds and other essential nutrients could be your answer. And if you do have a pesky breakout, this irritant-free spot treatment should do the trick.   

5. The right hydration

In our 30s and beyond, we can start to see lower levels of moisture in our skin as the production of natural oils begins to slow. With dehydrated skin comes signs of aging like wrinkles and fine lines and reduced elasticity, whereas sufficient hydration can help to plump skin, maintaining a more youthful appearance. 

Daily moisturizing with the right ingredients helps to prevent water loss, prevent dryness, improve the signs of aging, and maintain skin’s overall appearance and health. One crucial ingredient to look for in your moisturizer from your 30s on is hyaluronic acid, a naturally occurring hydrating substance in our bodies affecting our eyes, joints, and skin that lessens with age. Research has shown that hyaluronic acid can increase skin hydration up to 55%, and helps to promote healthier, more supple skin and reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Try opting for a daily moisturizer with hyaluronic acid as part of your skin-quenching routine.  

Bonus for the total body: Your skin needs more than just topical hydration. Staying hydrated by drinking enough water has been shown to impact skin hydration and overall health, and recent studies suggest that staying well hydrated may slow the aging process altogether. Aim for a minimum of 11.5 cups of water each day, says the Mayo Clinic.  

6. Skin-supporting nutrition

Like collagen and oils, the natural production of essential nutrients in our bodies can slow with time. Over the years, we can become prone to deficiencies in calcium, iron, magnesium, vitamins A, B, C, and D, and other crucial vitamins and minerals. These lower than optimal nutrient levels can manifest in our energy levels, the quality of our sleep, the appearance of our hair, skin, and nails, and even our bone and digestive health. Eating a balanced, nutrient-dense diet full of supportive vitamins, minerals, healthy fats and carbohydrates, and lean proteins is vital to our overall health as well as the appearance of our skin, hair, and nails.   

Try adding meals rich in essential nutrition to your weekly plan, like this calcium and vitamin D loaded fish florentine or a pasta puttanesca packed with magnesium and essential vitamins. It can be difficult to get everything we need from our diets alone. So if you’re looking for a fool-proof way to ensure you’re giving your body the proper nutrition it needs to support your skin and combat signs of aging through the years, consider a specially formulated daily multivitamin.

Bonus for stress relief: Essential nutrients that deplete as we age, like calcium, vitamin D, and magnesium, also help to promote rest and relaxation. Ensuring we get enough of this power trio can help us to not only look great, but feel great, too.    

7. A healthy gut

Gut health is a surprisingly crucial contributor to skin health, impacting immunity, inflammation, acne, and a number of unpleasant skin conditions. Because a balanced gut microbiome and a healthy complexion are so intricately linked, ensuring optimal nutrition to sustain healthy gut flora is of great importance to the health and appearance of our skin. As with other bodily processes, the production of gut-friendly bacteria and the necessary digestive enzymes they create can diminish with age, and these bacteria are essential to the absorption of all critical nutrients. 

Adding probiotic foods like this homemade yogurt or traditional kimchi into our diets can help to increase the presence of healthy gut bacteria by strengthening the communities of beneficial microbes that help us thrive. For an easy way to get your gut health on track, try a convenient probiotic supplement, formulated with multiple bacterial strains for optimal balance.      

Bonus for digestion: Changes in our gut microbiome as we age can also lead to things like sluggish digestion, bloating, and irregularity. Upping our probiotic intake can help to alleviate these symptoms, as well. 

8. A nourishing eye cream

Often, one of the most noticeable signs of aging in our skin is the development of fine lines and wrinkles around our eyes. The delicate skin that frames our eyes, according to Healthline, is thinner than other areas with little fat below, fewer oil glands for necessary moisture, and lower levels of collagen than other parts of our faces. While genetics and other elements can contribute to the appearance of the skin around our eyes and the age at which we develop fine lines and wrinkles, for many, they can begin to show up as early as age 25. By our 30s, a hydrating eye cream becomes a fundamental part of our daily skincare routines. 

Fine lines and wrinkles around the eyes can be caused by sun damage, depleting collagen, smoking, dehydration, the environment, genetic predisposition, and years of facial expressions. And while we may not be able to avoid them altogether, keeping the eye area hydrated can play a major role in the appearance of “crow’s feet'' and fine lines. Hydrating the eye area can help to plump skin, temporarily reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. As a plus, eye creams may also contain de-puffing ingredients, like caffeine, or actively work to brighten undereye circles. To see the best results, say dermatologists, apply eye cream at least once daily as part of your skincare routine.

Bonus for tea drinkers: Research has shown some benefits to the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles with a daily cup of antioxidant-packed green tea. If you’re a green tea lover, you can try sipping your way to less visible lines.    

9. Go smoke-free

Tobacco use is responsible for a host of health concerns, and that includes impacts on our skin. Smoking can lead to increased production of an enzyme that breaks down our already-depleting collagen, reducing skin’s elasticity and causing further signs of aging. Many smokers experience telltale patterns of age lines on their faces, including crow’s feet and creases around the mouth. Smoking can also cause dehydration, constrict the skin’s blood flow, and impede oxygen supply, all of which can contribute to signs of aging in the skin.

When stopping tobacco use, many observe not only a reduction of these signs, but a reversal. Smoking cessation may be challenging, but if you’re looking to make a change, you’ve got this!  Your skin– and body– will thank you.

Bonus for overall wellbeing: Smoking can have enormously negative impacts on the immune system. In individuals who stop tobacco use, drastic improvements in immunity have been observed. 

10. Rest and renew

Without proper sleep, just about every process in our body can suffer, from our immune response to our cognitive abilities. After our 30s and 40s, many people report greater difficulty falling asleep and fewer than the minimum recommended seven hours overall, which can negatively impact our health. Without regular, restful sleep, dermatologists say, we may begin to notice signs of aging like increased fine lines, reduced elasticity, and changes in pigmentation. When we sleep, our skin repairs and renews, which contributes to overall tone and appearance. Insufficient sleep means a weakened ability in skin to repair and rejuvenate

During a full eight hours of sleep, according to dermatologists, our bodies produce somatotropin, the human growth hormone, which contributes to the maintenance of healthy, youthful skin. We also produce melatonin as we sleep, which helps to protect skin from aging free radicals, and levels of the stress hormone cortisol decrease, which helps to stimulate collagen production. For the full anti-aging benefits of a full night’s sleep, aim for between seven and nine hours of quality rest every night.    

Bonus for your brain: Getting enough sleep also supports brain health, memory, attention span, and focus, all of which can sometimes require a bit of extra help as we grow older and our brains change. Supplementing your diet with rest-promoting nutrients like magnesium can help to support more restful, restorative sleep.  


Wherever you find yourself on your skincare journey, ensuring your body receives the right nutrition, hydration, and rest, and opting for gentle, nourishing skin care topicals can help to keep your skin healthy and ease the toll the passage of time can take on our complexions. 

So you can smile wide, be as expressive as you like, and cross every last thing off your bucket list without worrying what map lines your adventures might leave at the corners of your mouth or eyes. And when they do start to show, let them be a beautiful reminder of the remarkable, well-nourished life you have led.

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