Like death and taxes, they’re impossible to avoid. Walk into any drugstore and you’ll be bombarded with legions of creams, lotions and serums all promising to erase or prevent the most dreaded of skin imperfections: wrinkles. While it may seem like we’ve been told everything we need to know about avoiding the feared creases (who doesn’t lather on sunscreen constantly nowadays?), there’s still plenty to learn.
- Risk even in car
“Your car window can be a moving target for the sun’s harmful rays,” says Ranella Hirsch, MD, a dermatologist who practices in Boston. “If you’re spending hours in your vehicle each day, UVA rays, which cause the majority of wrinkling in the skin, have ample time to penetrate your window — regardless of whether it’s sunny or not,” she says. The best way to ensure that you’re protected while you’re on the road is to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen every day. You might also consider investing in tinted windows, which can help block UVA rays.
- Family tree
“Wrinkles have a genetic component,” says Los Angeles–based dermatologist Alex A. Khadavi, MD, creator of Revivogen, Clearogen, and Rejuve MD hair and skincare lines. “The likelihood of developing wrinkles, as well as the onset, degree, and depth of your lines, is influenced by genetics,” he says. “Looking at your parents and grandparents is one way to predict your own potential for wrinkling and other signs of aging, including sagging of the skin on your face, neck, and chest area,” he says. “The best way to prevent wrinkling and sagging in these areas is by minimizing sun exposure and using a broad-spectrum sunscreen that contains zinc or titanium dioxide,” he explains.
- Switching up diet
Fruits and veggies, such as raspberries, blueberries, red bell peppers, and spinach contain antioxidants which can allow your skin to better defend against environmental damage so that it can stay supple and radiant longer, says Dr. Hirsch. The healthier and plumper your skin is, the less apparent fine lines are, since your skin doesn’t have the opportunity to sag. “As a general rule, whatever promotes a heart-healthy diet, including foods that are high in vitamins C and E as well as soy and green tea, is also beneficial to your skin,” she says.
- Sleeping factor increases lines
As you age, the connective tissue and collagen in your face isn’t as strong or supportive as it used to be. So when you sleep on the same side of your face night after night, the skin gets repeatedly smashed up against the pillow, and won’t smooth out or spring back as quickly as it did when you were young, says dermatologist, Neil Sadick, MD, clinical professor of dermatology at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City. “The good news is, if you vary your sleeping position, you can reverse this type of wrinkling.” To prevent the likelihood of these lines altogether, try getting used to sleeping on your back.
- Frown lines – vision problems
Rather than being an indicator of age or sun damage, frown lines, which are creases between the eyes, may actually suggest that you’re overdue for an eye exam. “Some people overcompensate for eye issues by squinting, which contracts the muscles in the forehead, between the brows,” says Dr. Hirsch. “Repeatedly doing so over time may exacerbate the appearance of these creases,” she says. If you address vision issues early enough, however, you can soften the appearance of fine lines, since the muscles won’t have to work as hard and will begin to relax, she says.
- More expressions – more wrinkles
“Regardless of your age or genetics, often the first wrinkles that appear on your face are those made by repeated facial expressions,” says Dr. Khadavi. “These include laugh lines, frown lines, forehead folds, and crow’s-feet,” he says. “If you tend to use a lot of facial expressions, like frowning, smiling, or lifting up the forehead muscles in surprise, wrinkles are likely to form and set in those locations,” he says. The most frequently used treatments that can relieve these types of static wrinkles are injectable fillers such as Botox, Restylane, or Juvéderm, he says, since these lines have been ingrained into your skin over years of repeated motions.
- Water can make a difference.
Everyone knows they should aim to sip enough H2O daily to stay hydrated, but there’s another reason you should load up on liquids: Keeping your skin quenched helps it stay soft and supple, says Dr. Sadick. “When your skin is dry, wrinkles become accentuated,” he says, since parched skin tends to look flat and dull, which brings out fine lines and creases. Water also flushes out any toxins the body collects, which can have a negative impact on your skin.
- Using face creams could help maintain your glow.
Collagen is a main building block of the skin that keeps it firm and elastic. When you force cells to turn over, new collagen is produced, creating plumper, more rejuvenated skin and less wrinkling, says Dr. Sadick. Topical lotions that include ingredients such as vitamin C, peptides, alpha hydroxy acids, and retinoids help increase cell turnover and stimulate collagen to some extent. However, according to Dr. Sadick the best way to encourage new collagen growth is with an in-office radio frequency procedure (though it comes at a cost of around $750 per session). “It works by heating the skin to cause inflammation; the body responds by producing collagen.”