Let’s face it. We’re all going to get older, and with the natural aging process comes changes in our appearance that might not be so welcome. And when we think of changes in our appearance, skin wrinkles come to mind. However, there are more options now than ever before for preventing, minimizing, and reducing the appearance of wrinkles.
Technology has given us much in the realm of cosmetic medicine. People who are bothered by their wrinkles1 can utilize skin-resurfacing techniques, medications, filler procedures, even surgery to remove or reduce wrinkles.
However, many would prefer a more natural, non-invasive approach. And we can see why! Luckily, there are plenty of home remedies and natural approaches to preventing wrinkled skin.
What Causes Wrinkles?
One of the first steps towards knowing how to prevent and reduce wrinkles begins with knowing what causes wrinkles. The Mayo Clinic2 offers some concise explanations for the causes of wrinkles:
- Aging. Aging is the most common cause of wrinkles. It happens to all of us. As we age, our skin changes its texture and structure, forming lines on the skin’s surface. Aging causes the skin to becomes less elastic and more fragile. Our skin’s production of natural oils slows down as we age, and fatty tissue deep in the skin recedes. All of these phenomena contribute to skin wrinkles.
- Sun exposure. Ongoing, regular sun exposure contributes significantly to skin wrinkles. Ultraviolet radiation speeds the aging process of the skin. In fact, sun exposure is the primary cause of early-onset wrinkling. And that’s because exposure to UV light breaks down the skin’s connective tissue, mainly collagen and elastin fibers. Without those supportive tissues, the skin loses its strength and tensility. As this process continues, the skin surface appears to sag and wrinkle prematurely.
- Genetics. Some people are more prone to develop wrinkles than others are. The appearance of early-onset wrinkles can be an entirely hereditary matter.
- Smoking. Among the many harmful side effects of smoking is the acceleration of the skin’s aging process. Smoking reduces collagen, which in turn leads to premature wrinkling.
- Facial expressions. When we repeat the same facial expressions over and over again, such as by squinting, smiling, frowning, or raising an eyebrow, that facial expression works the muscles beneath the skin layers. Doing so causes repeated grooves beneath the surface of the skin. As the skin ages, it loses its flexibility, and those grooves become more prominent. A good example is how someone who spends a lot of time outside in the sun is more likely to form crow’s feet around their eyes early on in life, due mostly to squinting in the sunlight so often.
Those are the common causes of wrinkles. Now, how does one prevent the formation of wrinkles? And how does one reduce the appearance of wrinkles once they do form?
Preventing and Remedying Wrinkled Skin
Though some degree of wrinkling is inevitable for everyone, there are skincare routines3 we can implement daily to not only slow down the natural aging and wrinkling process but also to reduce the aging of our skin. Here are some quick tips for preventing and minimizing the appearance of wrinkles:
- Protect your skin from the sun. To prevent wrinkles, one should reduce the time they spend in the sun. This is especially important during midday and in the summer, but off-season sun can also be damaging. Most experts advise wearing wide-brimmed hats, long-sleeved shirts and pants, and sunglasses. Skin that is exposed to the sun should be covered by a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or more.
- Use Aloe vera products daily. Aloe vera is the skin’s best friend in more ways than one. Studies show that Aloe vera not only hydrates the skin considerably, but that Aloe even goes so far as to add and maintain collagen4.
- Refrain from smoking. Smoking has a direct effect on the rapid reduction of collagen. Cigarette smoke also harms the skin from the outside, too, reducing elasticity and generally damaging surface skin cells.
- Use skincare products with built-in sunscreen. It’s best to use moisturizers and lip balms that have built-in sunscreens, such as skincare products that block both UVA and UVB rays.
- Eat a healthy diet. There is plenty of evidence that indicates a healthy diet is conducive to youthful, smoother, wrinkle-free skin. Be sure to maintain a healthy diet every day, particularly one that is rich in fruits and vegetables. And while various foods will have different effects on different people, the following foods have been found to promote healthier skin in most people: artichokes, avocados, chia seeds, cinnamon, egg whites, ginger, miso, oatmeal, salmon, sardines, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and walnuts.
- Take good care of your skin year-round, but especially during the winter months. The winter season has the added effect of drying the skin out, something that further serves to wrinkle the skin. Be sure to moisturize, apply lip balm, keep the skin covered when outdoors, and keep the skin at a comfortable temperature when indoors too. Also, consider running a humidifier indoors to keep the air at a suitable humidity level.
- Moisturize! Daily moisturizing is anyone’s best defense against skin wrinkles. And that’s because dry skin shrivels up and shrinks what would ordinarily be plump and healthy skin cells. That can lead to premature wrinkling, as well as a whole other host of unpleasant skin symptoms. Moisturizing, on the other hand, helps to trap water in the skin, keeping the skin adequately hydrated and lubricated. Doing so prevents dryness and also serves to keep the skin healthy, smooth, itch-free, and redness-free.
- Moisturize with essential oils. While any skincare lotion, face cream, or organic skin cream is going to have benefits for anti-aging and wrinkle prevention, the best types of skin creams for wrinkles tend to be creams that are chock-full of healthy ingredients, essential oils, and other natural (not pharmaceutical) substances. For example, some research suggests that the following skin cream ingredients can help reduce and prevent wrinkles: argan, carrot seed, clary sage, frankincense, geranium, grapeseed, helichrysum, jojoba, lavender, neroli, pomegranate, rose, rosemary, sandalwood, and ylang-ylang.
From protecting your skin from the sun to moisturizing daily, anyone can take steps towards healthier, wrinkle-free skin. And for those who begin implementing these daily habits early on, it’s entirely feasible to slow the aging process considerably. Diligent skin care routines maintained as daily habits are the keys to youthful, healthy, wrinkle-free skin.