Want the best skin in your 30s? Pick from 5 highly effective skincare procedures, powered by science
Fractional CO2 treatment isn’t a trigonometry trick question
Ageing gracefully. Two words that carry a barrage of judgement and double standards, mostly aimed at women. Especially in today’s world of cut-throat competition, when looking your best isn’t just about vanity but also about professional longevity. It’s no secret that women have to work harder to be taken seriously in the workplace. Some adopt harsher personas, then get tagged ‘Dragon Lady’, while for others, being assertive is followed by an anxiety spiral. Because we’re socialised to equate youthful looks with passion, vitality and social relevance, when we cross a certain age, a subconscious ticker starts in our minds — “how much longer before I’m replaced by a younger face?”
Choosing to invest in our outward appearance will attract commentary, no matter what decision women make. We’re analysed for how we look, and every flaw discussed like a plot twist in Dark, whether you opt for skincare procedures to smoothen the ageing process or let your skin ride the timeline unaided. This isn’t a new phenomenon. Even over 2000 years ago, Cleopatra wasn’t spared the judgement, called “a woman of surpassing beauty” by some, while Plutarch wrote she was “not altogether incomparable, nor such as to strike those who saw her.”
We know the image you’re conjuring in your mind about facial treatments and skincare procedures. Luckily, we also live in an age of noninvasive modern microtreatments and skincare procedures that give you subtle changes and rejuvenation without the long periods of downtime and fear of a botched job. Whether you choose to on professional help or prefer to stick with nani‘s tried-and-tested remedies, it’s your body, your choice.
In our 30s, as collagen production starts to decrease, you’re likely to start spotting the first signs of wrinkles on your face. Sun damage rears its head as hyperpigmentation and spots, and you’ll notice your skin isn’t as fast to bounce back after you over-exfoliated or popped that angry pimple on your forehead.
You might consider trying out non-invasive skincare procedures like moderate chemical peels and hi-tech lasers. These are designed to refresh the outer appearance without the fear — and unfortunately, the moral guilt — of going under the knife. But be prepared, these procedures are not light on the pocket.
“Meet different doctors to find the one you feel most comfortable with,” advises dermatologist Medha Gatkare. “Someone who understands your skin and what you want, not just someone trying to sell you more procedures so they can make money. Do your own readings and then go back for the procedure later.”
Common treatments and skincare procedures for your 30s
Medium-depth chemical peel
You may have inferred by the name that a medium peel works harder on your skin than a superficial one. Penetrating deeper levels of dead skin cells on your face and exfoliating using trichloroacetic acid (TCA) or glycolic acid. These are stronger than AHAs in a superficial peel and work on the outer and middle layers of the skin.
“A solution can be applied on target areas, but usually it is all over the face. The doctor may add other ingredients like azelaic acid to the mix for brightening pigmentation spots, but TCA peels and glycolic acid are highly efficient by themselves,” says dermatologist Rati Seth.
Your doctor will give you a regimen to follow after, to care for your skin which will literally start to peel off to reveal smoother skin underneath. Keep your skin moisturised and preferably stay indoors.
Seth says to stop the use of any retinoids, retinol and exfoliating products at least 48 hours before your scheduled peel. Also share information of any prior treatments or medications you may be on to treat your skin, namely for acne.
A medium peel can help recover damaged skin and acne scars, reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and uneven skin tone.
Cost: Approximately ₹3,000 – ₹7,000
Intense-pulsed light (IPL) therapy
IPL is a kind of photofacial, like LED therapy, which uses intense, broad-spectrum light at a certain wavelength to penetrate deep into the skin. It has been shown to repair the skin at a cellular level and get rid of skin that is photo-damaged. Using light energy to treat skin damaged by sunlight sounds a bit whacky but is incredibly effective.
IPL can help with skin discolouration of different kinds, brown and red spots from post-acne marks and redness from rosacea, vascular lesions and spider veins. IPL works in a similar manner as laser treatments, by targeting certain coloured cells with causes them to break up and be discarded by the body.
This resurfacing technique targets the lower layers of skin (dermis) without affecting the top layers of skin (epidermis).
Cost: Approximately ₹3,000 – ₹5,000 per session
As opposed to a chemical peel think of microdermabrasion as a kind of physical exfoliation of your skin. Almost like polishing wood with sandpaper, except not that intense. The treatment involves using a minimally abrasive instrument and gently sands the upper layers of your skin.
It can help remove the thicker layers of dead skin, even out your skin tone and help with lightly indented acne scars, sun damage and even stretch marks to an extent.
It sounds more frightening than it actually is. It’s a painless procedure and your skin’s post-treatment redness will subside by the next day. That’s the only downtime you really need. You may feel a dry tightness, so be consistent with your moisturiser and sunscreen after the treatment and skip applying makeup for a day or two.
It’s not advisable to undergo microdermabrasion if you have active acne, skin infections or sensitised skin.
Cost: Approximately ₹2,000 – ₹4,000 per session
The Hydrafacial is the hot new kid among skincare procedures. It’s pretty much three processes in one following the cleansing of your skin – extraction, exfoliating and hydration.
A hydrafacial vacuums out the dirt, grit and sebum from your pores while also blasting the skin with potent hydrating and active ingredients. You may have raised your eyebrows at the ‘extraction’ part earlier, but this isn’t like you trying to dig out a blackhead on your chin at home. This in-clinic process is gentle on your skin and feels more like a massage.
“It can help improve your skin texture and tone without the peeling or irritation that can come with a lot of other skincare procedures,” says Seth.
You’re pretty much done in 30 minutes and the serums in the hydrafacial can be customised according to your skin’s needs. You may have some redness but that’ll subside in a few hours.
Cost: Approximately ₹5,000 – ₹9,000 per session
Fractional CO2 treatment
This is an ablative laser treatment, meaning the resurfacing process to remove thin, outer layers of damaged skin.
It can improve the skin’s texture and quality to create a brighter and smoother appearance. The laser passes to the dermis layer of the skin, creating microscopic holes to stimulate the skin to produce more collagen.
Because the laser is fragmented, it doesn’t affect all parts of the skin at the same time which allows faster recovery. “The device injures micro-segments of skin leaving normal skin in the middle. Injury caused to the skin by thermal damage helps in remodelling the skin. These uninjured segments hasten the recovery process,” explains Dr Aanchal Panth, consultant dermatologist and hair transplant surgeon.
About 7-10 days after treatment, when your skin has healed, you’ll notice the changes begin to take shape with smoother, brighter skin. You’ll see more effects for up to 12 months since your body will keep increasing collagen production. After CO2 laser treatment, it can take 1 to 2 weeks for your skin to fully heal. “We recommend getting the procedure done when you know you’re going to be at home for at least a week for downtime and aftercare,” adds Seth.
The recovery process can scare the pants off anyone at first, there will be swelling and redness that follows. As long as you follow your doctor’s recommended aftercare routine, you will get through just fine and feeling rejuvenated at the end of it all.
Cost: Approximately ₹4,000 – ₹8,000 per session
A note of caution: The above information has been shared with the consultation and inputs of medical professionals. Please consult a dermatologist to find the treatment that would work best for your skin type and skin’s needs. The prices of treatments vary from clinic to clinic.