We’re all going to get them eventually. There’s no way to stop from getting a wrinkle though there are numerous ways to try to lessen the appearance of wrinkles and to stop them from getting deeper.
How exactly do wrinkles form in the first place? Dr. Leslie Baumann explains the process very succinctly:
… all wrinkles are caused by the same chain of events within the skin. Age causes uppermost epidermal cells to get thinner and less sticky, which allows moisture to seep out in turn making skin drier. Oil glands also begin to slow down, which contributes to dryness as well. A bit deeper in the skin, supportive scaffolding (i.e. collagen and elastin) breaks down, and skin loses its smoothness and tautness – leaving it on other choice than to wrinkle and sag. In the skin’s lowest layer, the subcutaneous layer, fat cells begin to shrink, so they are less able to “fill in” or plump out damage in the skin’s other layers.
There are quite a few factors that contribute negatively to this skin chain of events:
- Sun exposure: UV rays breakdown our collagen and elastin. One of the easiest ways to prevent wrinkles and skin laxity is to be a vigilant sunscreen user – every day (no matter the weather) and to reapply throughout the day if you are outside or by a window. Yes, aging UV rays can pass through glass.
- Repeated facial expressions: Areas of the face, like by the eyes or the forehead, wrinkle because of repeated use of that area. Just as lines become a permanent part of a piece of paper that has been folded and refolded facial lines become etched in your skin.
- Genetics: How your parents aged can work both for and against you. Some people win in the skin lottery – their DNA actually protects them from aging. On the other hand, other people lose out when it comes to aging. Think about how your parents looked in their 60s in order to determine how you may look at that age as well.
- Skin color: The lighter your skin tone is the less natural sun protection you have (that doesn’t mean that someone with darker skin can forgo daily sun protection – everyone needs sunscreen). Darker skin tones show wrinkles later than those with light skin.
- Your health: poor health can adversely affect your skin. The medications you are prescribed can also have a negative effect on your skin.
- Your diet: Though there continues to be quite a bit of debate over how our diet affects our skin a few things are clear – it is always best for your overall health and your skin’s health to eat a diet low in processed foods and full of multi-colored fruits and vegetables. Omega-3 rich foods (fish, walnuts, and almonds for example) are anti-inflammatory which protects the skin from aging. (Many experts believe that skin inflammation is at the root of skin aging).
- Lack of sleep and stress: Both of these factors can cause your body and your skin to age faster than it would normally. See my previous posts for more information on both of these topics: No Lie – Why You Really Do Need Your Beauty Sleep and Stress and Your Skin.
- Smoking: Cigarettes are a killer. They kill your body and your looks. See my previous post for more details: How Smoking Ruins Your Skin.
I want to end this post on a positive note so let me once again quote Dr. Baumann for some easy advice on preventing and correcting facial wrinkles:
So now you’re probably wondering what you can do about wrinkles? If you haven’t already started preventing signs of aging by wearing sunscreen every day, it’s not too late. To repair wrinkles, retinoids are the most effective skincare ingredient available today because they address these aging changes within the skin. These vitamin A derivatives boost your skin’s collagen production and help thicken the uppermost layer of the skin. Together, these actions smooth the appearance of wrinkles and keep skin looking its best.
Sources and Further Reading:
- The Anatomy of A Wrinkle – Skin Type Solution Library: Tips
- Simple Skin Beauty by Ellen Marmur, MD – Chapter 3: Factors That Influence Your Skin