Your late 20s and 30s can actually be a really good skin time. Wrinkles and fine lines generally aren't too pronounced and if you're pregnant you might even be lucky enough to enjoy your pregnancy glow. But it is an ideal time to start smart prevention. Collagen production naturally begins to slow down, and stressors like UV exposure and dietary factors can speed up its breakdown and prevent new collagen formation. Here are some easy tips on how to take care of 30-something skin in a safe way when you're expecting:
1. Understand your basics
Ideally, you developed good skin care habits when you were in your 20s (teens even!), but if you're late to the skin care game, that's OK. There's plenty of time to catch up. But here's the baseline: You need to care for your skin morning and night, no days off. The most basic of routines goes as follows: cleanser, moisturizer, SPF. The specifics from there are often highly tailored to your skin type, needs, price points, and personal preferences. And when you're pregnant you might even have to reconsider your routine because of the possible changes of skin caused by hormones. But as long as you have some skin care plan in place, you can start building off of it with smart, age-specific skin care recommendations.
2. Treat your (pregnant) melasma
These are changes in pigmentation (usually darker patches of skin that show up on your forehead, nose, or cheekbones) that can start to appear in your 30s thanks to sunbathing in your teens and 20s. When you get pregnant your skin gets even more prone to melasma because of the hormonal changes. That's why it's often referred to as the "Pregnancy Mask". It can cause significant emotional distress for the estimated 6 million American women who develop these dark patches on their faces. That's why minimizing triggers, like sun damage, is important. If you want to read more about how to prevent melasma during your pregnancy, click here.
3. Make friends with serums
Incorporate serums, which deliver high concentrations of active ingredients, into your arsenal. The molecules in serums are small enough to penetrate into the skin to strengthen cellular walls to repair stressed skin, balance hydration, and brighten uneven skin tone. Given that in your 30s, your skin's range can vary between oily and breakout-prone to dry and sensitive, consider a good multitasking option that is safe to use when you're expecting. Ideally, you'll find something that can check all the boxes and has plant-based ingredients that soothe, smooth, plump, hydrate, and tackle anything that's 'off' with your skin. A great example is our Repair Serum which launches this November.
In addition to your "baby-safe-diet" and boosting your daily sunscreen habit for sun protection, add in whole foods with UV-protective benefits like tomatoes, spinach, pomegranate, and wild caught salmon (only fresh when you're pregnant), which are rich in lycopene, vitamin C, and omega-3 fatty acids respectively. All of these nutrients help combat the free radicals, oxidative stress, and inflammation generated by UV exposure.
If you want to take it even one step further you can also try to minimize processed foods and added sugars, as the latter is a big culprit for contributing to skin sag and wrinkles. In several studies, researchers found that eating a high-sugar diet made it more difficult for collagen to repair itself, resulting in accelerated collagen decline and premature aging.
5. Slough it off
If you haven't gently incorporated exfoliation into your skin care regimen, the time is now. Many dermatological studies have confirmed that regular, gentle exfoliation is an effective way to accelerate cell turnover, promote collagen production, and so on. Choose a gentle formula cause when you are pregnant it is not safe to use BHA's (beta hydroxy acids) such as salicylic acid as an exfoliator. Instead, you can use an AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) like glycolic acid, lactic acid, and malic acid. These are known as safe for your unborn child and also do their job on your skin!
6. Consider an oil cleanser
Your skin barrier is essential for skin health. And all the things that make your skin barrier strong—ceremonies, hyaluronic acid, elastin, collagen—start diminishing around your 30s. What does this mean? You need to tend to your barrier function above all else. And one of the major ways that people damage their barriers is through harsh cleansers that disrupt the skin's microbiome and therefore trigger inflammation. Oil cleansers are perfect for almost all skin types. Oil cleansers don't strip the skin and gently exfoliate, soften, detoxify, and tone. They're really great for dry, dehydrated skin yet concentrated enough for all skin types.
If you're going to learn one thing on your skin care journey in your 30s, make it this: Enjoy the the skin you're in and don't take a break when you're pregnant. Once you learn to appreciate your skin, you'll learn to care for it. Coincidentally, your 30s are just the time to start thinking about serious skin care—if nothing else but as a preventive measure.