Everything You Wanted to Know About Wrinkles

Unless you were born with “super” genes, most of us have some wrinkles or our skin is not as tight as it used to be.

Well, if we can’t stop aging, what CAN we do? There’s hope!

Facial wrinkles are always a hot topic in the world of skin care and plastic surgery. There are constantly new treatments, products or tips claiming to help reduce or prevent lines and creases developing in the face.

We’ve all heard the traditional cautionary tales from dermatologists about preventing the signs of aging: “Wear your sunscreen, don’t smoke, eat right.” And if you’re like us, you abide by these rules like they’re doctrine. But what about the other causes of wrinkles? You know, little things here and there that are secret culprits of wrinkles, sagging, and fine lines.

Let’s focus on giving you some insight into what works and what doesn’t when it comes to preventing and erasing these age-revealing lines. Continue reading to find out what you’ve always wanted to know about them, but were too bashful to ask us.

They’re not all about age

“If your parents have bad wrinkles, you will, too”. This age-old, common myth isn’t necessarily true. Though genes do play a part in wrinkle development, they play a much smaller role than most think.

Specialists say the biggest cause of wrinkles is actually environmental factors, such as sun exposure and smoking. Of all causes, smoking and sun exposure play the largest part, with sun exposure responsible for more than 90 percent of visible changes attributed to skin aging, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

So, if you take better care of your skin than your parents did, you are sure to develop fewer wrinkles than they have.

There is a popular opinion that all wrinkles form by age 25 – it’s that they just start to show later. However, dermatologists report this is not true – largely because activities after 25 – like spending more time out in the sun – can lead to an increase in wrinkles. If you get a lot of sun exposure, you're definitely going to get more wrinkles.

Wrinkles are the result of a loss of collagen, the main structural protein of the skin. As you age, the body begins to produce less of it, which keeps skin from being as firm as it was when you were younger.

But while that decline in collagen happens to everyone, sun exposure breaks down collagen even more, leading to wrinkles that otherwise might never have happened.

Exposure to ultraviolet light accelerates the aging process by breaking down subcutaneous connective tissue; this is thought to be the main cause of premature wrinkling. Being overexposed to the sun, smoking, eating unhealthy, and stress are all factors that can contribute to developing fine lines and wrinkles at a young age.

Does sugar cause wrinkles?

Sugar consumption can certainly play a role in the development of wrinkles and sagging skin, but its influence may be slight compared to the effects of other environmental factors and of aging itself.

As we get older, our skin begins to dry, becomes less elastic and more fragile because of decreased production of natural oils. Skin also gets saggy and lined as underlying fat diminishes.

It is true, however, that diets high in sugar can damage elastin and collagen molecules in the skin, increasing wrinkles and sagging. Research has shown that advanced glycation end products, a class of compounds resulting from combinations of sugars and proteins, can accelerate the effects of aging.

Limiting sugar intake to 10 percent of daily calories may help keep your skin looking younger longer.

Our daily habits

If you’re a true beauty fan, you’ve likely heard about your pillow being a big cause of breakouts as well as wrinkles. And sadly, according to doctors, this pillow talk is actually true.

If you sleep with your face against a pillow, you could be causing compression wrinkles around your eyes, nose and mouth.

Actually, sleeping is the only way to artificially create a wrinkle, as it’s basically stretching the skin for a prolonged period. Sleeping on one side of your face all the time can cause wrinkles on that side because you are creasing the skin in the same way night after night.

In addition to this, many pillowcases draw moisture (or night cream) away from your face, leaving your skin parched, dry and problematic in the morning.

A good solution to prevent this might be switching to a silk pillowcase or a well-shaped pillow, which won't dry out your skin and make a conscious decision that you will at least go to sleep on your back.

Pay attention to your frowns

Now, we’ve all heard that facial expressions, as well as squinting or rubbing your face, can cause wrinkles. And this is a proven fact. Wrinkles occur where they do because of the places where skin cells are squeezed millions of times by facial expressions. As the skin loses firmness with age, wrinkles form where it has been squeezed.

Over time, repetitive movements (such as smiling and frowning) break down collagen in your skin and create lines.

So, squinting, or any other repeated facial expression, will lead to wrinkles when it is done enough times. Your habitual facial expressions, over the years, cause grooves to form under the skin. Animating the face leads to wrinkles especially in the upper 1/3 of the face.

But, while facial expressions may be the cause of wrinkles, there's little that can be realistically done to prevent them from forming. You can't walk around stone-faced all day. One thing you can do is be aware if you tend to furrow your brow when you work, or if you are constantly raising your eyebrows when you emphasize a point when you’re talking, for example.

Making an effort to decrease some of these habits will decrease your facial lines.

No reason to worry

With all of the above said, it’s clear that worrying about getting wrinkles is the last thing that works to fight them. Actually, it is imprudent, as worrying will probably just get you more wrinkles!

You shouldn’t be afraid that once wrinkles and other signs of aging have started to show, it’s too late to prevent them. We can always improve things!

Dermatologists have proven that the skin has fantastic powers of recovery, provided the right skincare routine and treatments are adopted.

There are a variety of skin care products out there that insist they have the cure for wrinkles. The truth is there is no way to prevent fines lines and wrinkles from developing, as they are a part of the natural part of the living and aging process.

But, there are things we can do to help slow down the process. There are certain creams and other skin products that can help improve the appearance of wrinkles. They don't "remove" them, but using an anti-wrinkle cream daily will help keep the skin strong and ensure fine lines and wrinkles don't get worse.

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