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The Glow Guide To Hormones & Your Skin: The Thirties

Your skin is many things, but consistent isn’t one of them. Everything from the weather to your sleep habits (or lack thereof) can have an impact on its condition. One major player that doesn’t get nearly enough attention is your hormones. Starting in your teenage years and well into middle age, your hormone levels fluctuate and can cause a host of complexion changes along the way. While men also have issues with hormone changes, they are not as wide-ranging and do not have the same impact on the skin as fluctuations for women do.  

In this new series, we’ll explore the effects hormones have on women’s skin at every age, plus what you can do to manage those swings and keep your skin sane. Because puberty, periods, and menopause are bad enough without adding skin troubles on top of them.

Hormonally speaking, your thirties are an action-packed midway point between puberty and menopause. As in your twenties, your monthly cycle means hormones like estrogen and progesterone are surging and waning around ovulation — which means that you may still be dealing with acne breakouts. 

But this decade has much more going on, too. “Females between the age of 30 and 40 are losing half of our testosterone production,” says Jessie Cheung, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in Willowbrook, Ill. And that development has one big benefit: acne breakouts usually improve by becoming less intense or disappearing altogether.

Ah, but you knew there was a flip side coming. “Women may observe other things happening to their skin,” Dr. Cheung says. These are the years when sun damage begins to appear, skin becomes less bouncy, and maintaining a glow doesn’t happen on its own. “We know that testosterone is the best thing for your bone density,” Dr. Cheung says. “Women age faster than men do because we start to experience bone loss. We lose the structure of our jaw line and the baby fat in our cheeks.”

These are the years when sun damage begins to appear, skin becomes less bouncy, and maintaining a glow doesn’t happen on its own.

To address visible loss of volume, injectable hyaluronic acid can rebuild sunken cheeks and hollowed-out eyes. But if you’re not down with needles, you can slow the effects of aging by using highly active products that stimulate collagen and floods skin with moisture. Hyaluronic acid, as found in our Watermelon Glow Pink Juice Moisturizer, retains 1000 times its weight in water — which helps make skin plump and pillowy. Retinol is another gold-standard ingredient for thirty-somethings due to its ability to help skin renew itself and maintain elasticity; our Avocado Melt Retinol Sleeping Mask uses its gentlest form, encapsulated retinol, to do the job well.  

While not exclusive to the thirties, many women are waiting later in life to have children. As can be expected, along with pregnancy comes a host of other hormonal skin issues. First, the good news: The pregnancy glow is better than any highlighter you could apply. “You’re getting this sudden increase of a lot of hormones like estrogen and progesterone,” Dr. Cheung says. “Pregnant women are making more blood vessels to have a larger blood supply to feed the baby.” All of that hormonal activity, though, can also cause acne (most commonly in the first and second trimesters) due to the surge of male hormones called androgens. 

Again, while skin care can’t tell your pregnancy hormones to chill already, a well-considered regimen can keep them from wreaking havoc on your complexion. But pay attention! Pregnant and breastfeeding women should review their routines, as some ingredients are not safe for the fetus or infant. “I always tell pregnant and breastfeeding patients to avoid retinol,” Dr. Cheung says. Salicylic acid, too, should be reserved for the post-weaning time. To safely keep skin glowing and blemish-free, she recommends bakuchiol, a plant-based alternative that is safe for nursing and pregnant women. Or choose a cream, mask, or cleanser with gently exfoliating alpha hydroxy acids — as found in the products that make up our Cloudless Skin Kit.

No matter what your reproductive decisions may be this decade, your hormones will be on a wild ride. Good thing it’s smooth sailing once you hit 40. Just kidding, you have menopause to look forward to. 

We’re sure you’ve got questions, so ask away! Tell us in the comments what issues you’re facing or what else it is you want to know.

And, check out our other guides to learn what hormones are doing to your skin at every age:

The Glow Guide To Hormones & Your Skin: The Teen Years

The Glow Guide To Hormones & Your Skin: The Twenties

The Glow Guide To Hormones & Your Skin: The Forties


Glow Recipe

Avocado Melt Retinol Sleeping Mask


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Blueberry Bounce Gentle Cleanser


Glow Recipe

Glowipedia Cloudless Skin Kit


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