During your 30s, levels of key muscle-building hormones, including growth hormone and testosterone, begin to decline. As a result, you may start losing muscle, which can slow your metabolism and lead to weight gain.

But this pivotal decade is also a time when some unexpected body issues strike that may make you wonder, ‘huh? what’s happening?’

A natural dip in estrogen and progesterone levels at about age 35 can cause your cycle to change—it might be shorter or longer, lighter, or heavier, or earlier or later than usual. Some women also enter perimenopause (the transitional phase before menopause) as early as their late 30s, and that also bring on period changes.

Your skin is also going through a transition during this time. After 30, you might experience more dryness and irritation than you ever did. Not to mention strange spots seem to pop up from nowhere.

Your skin cell turnover slows down as early as your 20s. By the time you hit your 30s new cells are visible every 28-35 days, whereas they once turned over every 14 days or so when you were a child.

Another side effect of slowing skin turnover is that the top layer of skin has a more difficult time staying moisturized naturally, skin recovers less easily from inflammation, important proteins such as collagen and elastin breakdown faster and less is made and the naturally found skin plumping sugar known as hyaluronic acid  starts to decrease.

Many are surprised to learn that adult female hormonal acne kicks into high gear during this decade, due to changing hormonal levels. Unfortunately, the rise in testosterone and drop in estrogen levels can often lead to increased oil production that triggers jawline acne. Worse yet, as many people in their 30s are also starting to experience dryness, those harsh acne-fighting treatments that worked in your 20s may suddenly do more harm than good.

AGE OF 40 AND Perimenopause or pre-menopause 

Perimenopause or pre-menopause is the transitional period that precedes menopause in which hormonal imbalances and fluctuations occur in a woman’s body and may cause distress. During perimenopause, the body is beginning to transition into menopause, which is the time when a woman does not have a menstrual cycle for 12 consecutive months. Levels of the reproductive hormones estrogen and progesterone begin to fluctuate irregularly. The imbalance is primarily caused by a woman having too much estrogen and too little progesterone.

While the skin on your face likely looks full and plump rather than thin and sunken, as it can while you’re aging, in your 40s your body’s production of elastin and collagen starts to slow. Our skin cell turnover dramatically reduces as well, resulting in dullness, dryness as well as fine lines and wrinkles. Retinols are critical to help speed up the process once again and brighten the complexion

Fibroblast cells in the skin are responsible for making collagen, which provides the structure and support of the skin. As these cells age and become sluggish, collagen production reduces and we start noticing lines, wrinkles and enlarged pores.

Sadly, it’s not just our collagen that decreases – we also lose fat from the face, and this is when we start to notice structure and volume loss, sagging and a lack of skin firmness.

Then there’s the decline in oestrogen, which means skin becomes finer and drier, and with an increase in dryness the skin becomes more sensitive.

All is not lost, however – swapping to a more specific and focused skincare regime can help get your skin’s groove back.

The key ingredients women 40+ should be looking for in skincare products with vitamin A, B, C – all clinically proven – and AHA’s to remove surface dead cells and refine pores.

A sunscreen with zinc offers the best broad-spectrum protection against UVA, which are the rays that prematurely age our skin.