We like to think that as we become older, we gain wisdom and gradually are more comfortable in our own skin. But for many of us, as we age, we also confront an aesthetic nemesis that reminds us that our younger years are indeed behind us, and that is wrinkles.
Despite their universality, wrinkles continue to be, in some circles and societies, a stigmatized aspect of human appearance. The $200 billion cosmetics industry has responded with various products designed to treat our skin to slow down or reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
For the many millions of us whose faces are etched with wrinkles, there are medically approved, natural, and time-tested ways that we can reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Taking some of these measures could potentially make us look years younger.
10 Ways to Reduce Wrinkles
1) Avoid UV Light from the Sun
It should be no surprise that this is the most common cause of wrinkles, with medical research consistently proving this cause-and-effect phenomenon. Sun exposure has even been shown to be more of a decisive factor in causing wrinkles than heredity.
So, make it a point to use SPF 50 or stronger when out in the sun, wear hats, and seek shade whenever possible. Studies have shown over the years that wearing sunscreen can actually help to delay signs of aging. Applying moisturizing sunscreen when you are outdoors, as a regular part of your daily regimen, could greatly benefit the appearance of your face for many years to come.
2) Stop Smoking
If you do smoke, do what you can to stop. More studies now prove that cigarette smoking prematurely ages skin. It does this primarily by releasing an enzyme that breaks down collagen and elastin, which are vital components of the skin that slowly diminish as we age.
Elastin allows your skin to stretch and then regain its original shape. Collagen is responsible for your connective tissue health, strengthening the dermis, anti-aging and healthy skin, in addition to preventing fine lines, wrinkles and sagging of the skin.
People who smoke tend to have skin that wrinkles more and is up to 40 percent thinner than a non-smoker, according to studies at the Twin Research Unit at St. Thomas Hospital in London.
3) Get Enough Sleep
Medical experts tell us that if we do not get adequate sleep, the body produces more cortisol, which is your body’s main stress hormone that breaks down skin cells. Conversely, when you do get plenty of sleep, your body will produce more HGH, or human growth hormone. HGH helps your skin remain thick, more elastic, and less likely to produce wrinkles.
4) Change Your Sleep Position
If you want sleep that will have optimal positive results for your skin, then sleep on your back. The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), cautions that sleeping in certain positions for many consecutive nights will bring about sleep lines, which are wrinkles that become engraved into the surface of the skin. Unfortunately, they do not go away when you get up in the morning.
An example of this is sleeping on your side will gradually increase wrinkles on your cheeks and chin. When your face is pressed against the pillow in the same way night after night, “compression” happens. Compression causes your skin to be weaker in certain places than others, and then wrinkles form.
You can prevent this from happening, or from getting worse, by sleeping on your back.
5) Regularly Wash Your Face (But Avoid Too Much Tap Water)
Another way to reduce wrinkles is by washing your face on a daily basis. The benefit of washing your face, particularly at night, is you eliminate the makeup that, if left on your face overnight, will add to the oxidative stress that your skin faces. You might use a water-based wipe to cleanse your face before going to bed.
Like with many things in life, you want to avoid extremes. So, be careful not to over-wash your face. Dermatologists tell us that tap water can strip skin of its natural barrier oils and moisture that protect against wrinkles. If you overdo it with washing your face – particularly with tap water, you remove that skin protection.
This is why using a cleanser to wash your face is preferred to using tap water.
6) Eat More Seafood
Salmon is especially good food for your skin, in addition to other cold-water fish, as it is an ideal source of protein, which is a building block for extremely healthy skin. When you eat fish, you also give your skin more omega-3, a fatty acid that plays a role in nourishing the skin and it helps your skin stay plump and youthful looking.
A diet rich in seafood will potentially assist in reducing wrinkles.
7) Swap Coffee for Cocoa
If you love chocolate, then you’ll be happy to know that researchers have found cocoa to contain high levels of two dietary flavanols – Epicatechin and Catechin– that protect skin from sun damage, as well as improve circulation to skin cells, increase hydration, and make the skin appear and feel smoother. Their results were published in the Journal of Nutrition.
8) Consume More Fruits & Vegetables
The key benefit to your skin from fruits and vegetables are the antioxidant compounds. It is those compounds that combat the damage that is caused by free radicals – unstable molecules that can damage cells – which assist in the skin looking more youthful. The antioxidant compounds also help your skin appear more radiant and protect your skin from some of the effects of photoaging.
9) Use Plenty of Moisturizer
When you apply ample amounts of moisturizer onto your face regularly – include it in your daily skin-care routine – your face will look smooth and silky. Most importantly, moisturizers can potentially reduce wrinkles and delay the onset of wrinkles. They make lines and creases far less noticeable.
10) Use Coconut Oil
When you apply this natural emollient to your skin, it fills in gaps in your epidermis and makes your skin feel very smooth. Additionally, coconut oil will help your skin retain moisture, and that makes your skin appear fuller.
Another benefit of coconut oil is that it minimizes the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Topical Treatments to Reduce Wrinkles
Alpha-Hydroxy Acids — AHAs are natural fruit acids that can lift away the top layer of dead skin cells, while reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It is especially effective at eliminating these signs of aging around the eyes. There are more recent studies that indicate that AHAs could play a role in stimulating collagen production.
Topical Vitamin C — Tulane University studies, and other similar ones, point to Vitamin C increasing collagen production, improving inflammatory conditions, and protecting the skin against damage from UVA and UVB rays. These studies tend to refer specifically to a particular type of Vitamin C, the L-ascorbic acid form as the most effective for reducing wrinkles.
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