Written by, Ali Waychoff Reviewed by, Dr. Justin Harper, MD
“Wrinkles” — a word as old as time that makes you cringe just a tad when you hear it. Wrinkles, while they can be prevented to an extent, are inevitable — sorry!
Aging gracefully is hitting the genetic lotto, right? But, if the genetics and the stars don’t work out in your favor, what’s a person to do?
Sure, there are creams, surgeries, and fillers, but what is the root cause of wrinkles and poor aging? What causes the appearance of aging skin besides, well, age?
1- Sun damage
Although it gives us some Vitamin D and a bronzy summer glow, soaking up the sun’s rays isn’t as good for the skin as we may think. The harsh UV rays from the sun can cause freckles, sun spots, age spots, you name it. Being exposed to the sun can cause what we call “Photoaging” — premature again from the sun. The UV rays damage collagen fibers and skin tissue, which turn into wrinkles over time as the skin tries to repair itself.
Don’t fret right away, though. If you spent a holiday in the sun and developed a few spots that weren’t there before, there are laser treatments that are happy to remove dark spots marked by the sun.
Don’t forget, sunscreen is a holy grail product, and is encouraged as part of your everyday routine. It’s cloudy? Sunscreen. It’s sunny? Sunscreen. It’s an everyday product that you’re going to want to toss in your travel bag, work bag, or desk!
Sometimes, we start to see wrinkles just because we’re not 16 anymore — what a bummer! Since wrinkles are a by-product of aging, it’s something we can’t stop from happening. With every passing birthday, our skin cells divide more slowly and our inner layer of skin begins to thin. The network of collagen and elastin fibers begin to unravel, causing depressions on the surface of the skin. If all this wasn’t bad enough, as our skin loses its elasticity, it is less able to retain moisture and the skin is slower to heal — big yikes!
Since aging will happen to us all, taking steps to age gracefully is the real trick. Depending on your skin type, having a facial every month, getting microneedling treatments, fillers, or wrinkle relaxers, using a good moisturizer, and, of course, sunscreen, should have you aging with grace with nothing to worry about.
Oh, smoking is bad for the skin? Yeah, we aren’t learning anything new here. Smoking breaks down collagen and elastin growth and can dull our skin color. Plus, smoking can cause a decrease in the production of new collagen and thus causes the development of wrinkles.
The number one prevention tool is to quit — sayonara, cigarettes! While we understand that this process could take some time, we recommend filling this habit with another one that’s healthier. Get in the gym, read more, go for a run, etc. Anything is better than nothing!
When the skin is dehydrated, it’s exactly that – dehydrated. It’s lacking the proper amount of water needed to function properly which can lead to dull, dry, itchy skin. Your skin tone can appear uneven and fine lines may become more noticeable. When the skin is craving water, it will become loose and make skin appear saggier and rough in texture.
While the number one way to prevent skin dehydration is drinking more water, it could also help to the moisturizers up a bit. Is your bathroom piled up with tons of moisturizers and serums that just aren’t cutting it for you? Maybe it’s time to declutter and focus on using hydrating serums and moisturizers to give an extra hand.
5- Poor Nutrition
You are what you eat, or something like that. Spend a week gorging on pizza and Mt. Dew and not only will you see a significant difference in your body, but you will also notice it in your skin as well. Instead of having clean pores, they are filled with all the extra grease from your unhealthy food.
With time, an unhealthy diet can break through our digestive lining, creating holes in our gut. Alcohol can add dehydration, redness to the eyes, and make the skin appear dull in color. Dairy can even have an effect on the skin by adding in some extra under eye baggage, textured complexion, and even spots and dark circles.
Watching what you eat can be great for a number of reasons, but straying away from greasy foods and heavy snacks can make the skin look brighter and more youthful, and keeps the pores clean and free of grease!
6- Lack of Sleep
If catching up on lost sleep is a race you run every night, you’re definitely not alone. While pulling the occasional all-nighter with a glass of wine isn’t bad, consistently depriving yourself of sleep will inevitably affect your skin. Our skin cells regenerate while we’re asleep, so if we’re not letting our bodies turn off, we’re depriving it of much-needed repair time which leaves us looking older, dull, and wrinkled.
A minimum of eight hours is recommended in order to feel refreshed and rejuvenated the next day. Try to be active and productive during the day so you’re worn out when you go to get comfy in bed. If you’re someone that struggles with sleep, you may want to consult your doctor and see if you have options.