It's during this era that your skin will start to show visible signs of aging - more or less, depending on how you treat it.
If you've protected your skin really well from the sun and other climatic extremes, it may still be bright and blooming. But that's the exception: most of us notice some dullness as cell turnover slows and the stratum corneum (the surface 'horny layer') retains dead cells.
There's almost certainly some environmental damage in the epidermis; it may be invisible but reckless sunbathers will probably have sun spots and possibly even small, scaly, pre-cancerous skin lesions: do consult your doctor if you notice any suspicious signs. Those on very low-fat diets - and, of course, smokers - may notice dullness, dryness and the start of significant lines.
With collagen and elastin fibers not working as efficiently, your dermis is likely to be losing some of its bounceback. Stress can affect collagen formation so, if you're under pressure, look for ways to relax. Creasing of the skin from repeated muscle activity (eg. frowning) can begin to show now, with the start of a central frown furrow, lines across your forehead and crow's feet. Look at your mother and grandmother to see how particular areas age, then take specific action. Bodywise, things won't be as youthful and taut, and you may notice drier, even rougher skin.
TLC for your skin
This is the time to really boost hydration outside - and from the inside, so sip at least eight large glasses of pure, still water daily. The basic products you need for your face are cleanser, alcohol-free toner, day moisturizer, night cream and/or oil, eye product, exfoliator and mask.
For your body, it is suggested to use a rich top-to-toe body cream, as well as an all-over body exfoliator/scrub to use in the shower once or twice a week - and, of course, sun protection for every bit of exposed skin.
Cleansing and moisturizing remain the most important activities. Choose a cream-based, detergent-free facial cleanser to work in harmony with the skin's slightly acidic pH balance (the 'acid mantle'). Some experts never use anything that foams on their face as it's too drying, even for oilier skins - and can trigger the production of even more sebum. A cream cleanser also works well as an eye make-up remover, even on stubborn waterproof mascara. It is advisable to use a soft cotton muslin cloth to remove cleanser and whisk off dead grey skin cells.
Follow cleanser with a sweep of skin tonic/toner sprinkled on a soft (beware rough, scratchy varieties) cotton wool pad. Toner not only feels refreshing but can temporarily minimize enlarged pores. Choose an alcohol-free formulation that won't overly dry or irritate: a little is OK, but you don't want to see 'alcohol denat' near the top of the ingredients.
Select your moisturizer according to your skin type, making sure it's based on plant oils, not pore-clogging mineral oil (paraffinum liquidum). Dry skins tend to feel taut after washing and need a rich cream packed with skin emollients, such as avocado, wheatgerm and rosehip seed oil together with borage or evening primrose seed oils, which are full of essential fatty acids to moisturize deeply. Humectant ingredients are also beneficial, including glycerin and hyaluronic acid (sodium hyaluronate).
If you have combination skin with an oily T-zone, choose a lighter moisturizer, formulated for normal/combination skin. Even if your skin is oily, it's still worth using - sparingly; the merest trace of a very lightweight cream with antioxidants and essential fatty acids will do. It's really important if you live or work in an urban environment to help shield your skin from airborne pollutants that trigger free-radical damage.
While sun protection is key to prevent premature skin aging as well as skin cancers, I don't believe in using an SPF in a moisturizer. The amount of protection is small and the SPF mostly wears off by lunchtime. It is advised to buy a separate facial protector, ideally SPF20, screens (a blend of titanium and zinc oxide) and apply a fine layer over your moisturizer when going outdoors. If you wear make-up, the mineral ingredients should provide a protective veil equivalent to about SPF1 0-20.
For small 'sun' or 'age' spots on your face, massage in a little rosehip oil mixed with the contents of a vitamin E capsule every night; during the day always cover with a concealer or face-specific sun block. If the backs of your hands have sun spots, try a hand cream rich in vitamin E (natural source - d-alpha tocopherol - is more effective than synthetic) and use your facial SPF on your hands, too.
Get into the habit of using an eye cream, as it will help to keep the finer skin around your eyes smooth: use daily, for best results. You don't need lots of eye products: a good formulation should deliver several benefits. Look for one that contains natural skin plumpers such as GLA, antioxidants and richer plant oils, such as borage seed, rosehip seed, cranberry seed and/or avocado. It should preferably contain a mineral sunscreen, such as titanium and zinc oxide - so you need to apply it in the morning, rather than at night. Some under-eye creams also contain light-reflecting particles which can help banish the appearance of dark circles and shadows by 'bouncing' the light away from the skin. Wearing big Jackie O-style sunglasses with 100 per cent UVA/UVB protection and wide arms will help prevent lines round your eyes.
You can double up by using your daily moisturizer as a night cream, as long as it doesn't contain a sunscreen. But if your skin is very dry, you may want to switch to a slightly heavier - richer - night cream. The skin cells do more of their repair work whilst we sleep, so this is the best time for the cream to sink into the upper levels of the epidermis and moisturize. All skin types will reap rewards from a nightly application of facial oil: even oilier skins benefit from their gentle skin-balancing properties. Look for blends based on pure plant oils (not mineral oil - paraffinum liquidum): lightweight facial oils include hazelnut, passionflower, peach and apricot kernel. Lightly massage into your face and neck, last thing; rub any excess into your cuticles and nails.
Giving your face a once or twice weekly exfoliation and mask is time well spent. Gentle facial exfoliators (make sure there's nothing scratchy in the product, such as jagged particles of nut kernels) pep up the skin by giving it an extra buffing and are ideal to use before applying a treatment mask. Choose a mask specifically for your skin type, such as a rehydrating mask for parched skins, or a clay-based one to draw impurities from spottier complexions (these also help absorb excess sebum). Take both exfoliator and mask down on to the neck and upper chest for best results.
Exfoliators, also known as scrubs, are brilliant body buffers and one of the fastest ways to improve the overall look and feel of your skin. Keep a tube of your favorite handy to rub into damp skin, especially on hips, thighs and the backs of arms. Particles of olive kernels and ground pumice are great for body buffing. Safety note: avoid glass jars, which can smash in the shower.
Apply lots of body cream daily, from chin to toes, as soon as you have toweled dry after a bath or shower — it absorbs more easily into warm skin. Choose products with nourishing plant oils, such as shea butter, rather than mineral oils, as these sit on the surface, often feeling tacky, and don't rehydrate deeply. Now is a good time to think about bust perk-ups, especially if you have a generous bosom or have been pregnant and breastfeeding. If you can't face a daily hosing with cold water (the results are guaranteed by beauty editors), you might want to include a specific product. Nothing short of the surgeon's knife will keep the bust as pert as a teenager's, but there are useful, non-surgical options. With regular use, specific skin-tightening bust gels and serums have been shown to tighten slackened skin —although don't expect a miracle. That said, good formulations can certainly improve skin hydration and should help overall tone and elasticity. Useful skin-toning ingredients include kigelia africana (sausage tree extract), quince and mangosteen — all proven skin firmers. Bust treatments are also a useful way to encourage you into regular checking for breast lumps, too.
Even if you are watching your weight, please don't go on a fat-free diet: it's more important than ever to make sure you get enough of the 'good' omega-3 fats, vital for your skin and the rest of your body — and your brain. If you are cutting back on fats, add in a daily supplement with a combination of omega-3 and omega-6; the calories are negligible but the benefits to your skin and the rest of your body, including your brain, are significant.
From 30 onwards is the peak age of onset for rosacea, if you are affected by this inflammatory condition, which causes redness, pimples and prominent tiny blood vessels.
In a natural, clean, outdoor environment, the balance of negative (good) and positive (bad) ions in the air is about equal. But in enclosed indoor spaces, particularly with computer monitors and other office equipment, the negative ions are claimed to be depleted, leading to tiredness, headaches, allergies and, possibly, to less good skin. There is some science to suggest that negative ions can boost collagen and improve the functioning of skin cell membrane, also helping the delivery of oxygen to cells and tissue. As well as getting out of the office into clean air as much as possible, consider investing in an ioniser: but choose one from a reputable company.
*If your skin is looking a little tired and in need of an instant 'lift', try Chanel's Base Lumiere, an illuminating primer that you can use under foundation or even on its own to give skin a natural luminosity: it looks as if you've had several nights' excellent sleep.
*As a foundation, it is suggested to use Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation; it's oil-free, leaving your face matt but not dry. (Beauty editors have raved about it for years.) L'Oreal's oil-free formulations are also good.
*Eye pencils add instant color and are brilliant for travelling. Deep, soft grey works well on all colorings: some experts like RMK Deep Grey, and there are plenty of good, budget-priced pencils by brands such as Max Factor and Bourjois.
*For make-up on the run, the instant kit consists of an eye pencil, plus a Stila Convertible Color cream blush in “petunia” for cheeks and lips, which is topped with a Stila “Mango” lip gloss.
*To create a fabulous pout, dab a touch of white-ish highlighter, such as Benefit's High Beam (or any pale pearly shade from your eyeshadow compact), in the cupid's bow of your upper lip, to emphasize the lip line.
*If you've never had your eyebrows professionally shaped, book in now! For some, it's the equivalent of a non-surgical facelift. If you're doing it at home, don't overpluck them in the middle. Hold a pencil vertically from the inner corners of your eyes to your brows and pluck hairs within that area only. Generally, pluck hairs from underneath brows only, although if the arch is very sharp and your face narrow, just even out the top a tad to widen your face and give a graceful curve. Soothe skin afterwards with a sweep of alcohol-free skin toner.
*Taking a high absorption form of vitamin C with minerals will help maintain the collagen network. Some women take Emergen-C sachets when travelling.
*Continue taking a multivitamin/mineral and an essential fatty acid supplement.
*A natural source vitamin E supplement is useful to help guard against premature skin aging by minimizing free-radical cell damage.