Wrinkles are one of those things that tend to creep up on you. One day you look in the mirror and what you would have used to consider tiny laugh lines have morphed into full on crow’s feet. Fine lines and wrinkles tend to make their appearance in the mid-twenties. They’re most prominent on the face, back of the hands, neck and chest. While wrinkles are a natural part of the aging process, getting older isn’t the only reason we have them. Wrinkles can be caused by a wide variety of factors, including sun exposure, diet and habits. Here’s a look at what causes wrinkles.
Sun exposure is one of the biggest culprits when it comes to the formation of wrinkles. The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) light damages elastin, the fibers in the skin, as well as collagen, which is the skin’s support structure. As elastin and collagen break down, skin loses its ability to “bounce back.” It sags and stretches, and also bruises more easily, leading to lines and wrinkles. UV rays are also a primary cause of pigmentation, sun spots and the degradation of skin texture. By some estimates, up to 90% of the visible signs of aging may be caused by sun exposure.
Keep in mind that sun damage often appears much later than exposure, so if you spent your childhood baking in the sun, you will see the results in your 30s and 40s. Sun damage is cumulative, so even if you are popping out for 15 minutes to walk the dog, all the exposure adds up over time. That’s also why people often have more wrinkles on the left side of their face, as that is the side of the face getting the most sun when driving. The bottom line? Always wear sunscreen every day. Choose a moisturizer with a high SPF or use mineral makeup, which has physical sun blockers such as zinc oxide.
Your health should be reason enough to quit smoking. Puffing on cigarettes not only takes a toll on your body but your face. Smoking accelerates the aging process as it restricts blood flow to the skin. Without oxygen, skin cells cannot regenerate. The chemicals in cigarettes also break down the skin’s fiber and elastin, which are responsible for keeping skin looking plump and full. The sheer act of inhaling a cigarette also creates fine lines around the mouth, leading to a puckered look. Smoking has also been linked to an increase in psoriasis, a scaly skin condition, and stains teeth. Cigarette smoking also depletes nutrients such as vitamin C, which help protect and repair skin damage. Need more reasons to quit?
Repetitive Facial Movements
We all have repetitive habits that we do unconsciously, from twirling our hair to pursing our lips or frowning in concentration. But repetitive facial movements, such as sucking on a straw, can also lead to the formation of wrinkles. Even chewing gum can have a negative effect. Here’s why. When you use a facial muscle, a groove forms beneath the surface of the skin. The skin loses its ability to bounce back as we age, and these grooves become permanent, leading to the formation of wrinkles. Although habits are hard to break, try to keep the face as relaxed as possible. If you’re a frequent gum chewer, switch to breath mints instead and ditch the straws.
If you have a sweet tooth, it can be hard to break a sugar habit. While it’s not great for the waistline or your teeth, sugar also isn’t doing your face any favors. Sugar causes glycation, and glycation can cause skin to age.
When sugar or refined carbohydrates such as white rice and bread are eaten, the level of sugar in the body goes up and stays that way. Sugar molecules bond to proteins such as collagen in the skin – a process known as glycation. This creates a chemical reaction causing the skin to become more stiff, leading to wrinkles, lines and discoloration. When collagen and elastin are damaged and can’t do their job of supporting the skin, the skin starts to sag. Glycation also prevents cells from functioning properly, and create free radicals, which can further damage skin cells. It also makes the skin more susceptible to environmental stressors such as UV light, pollution and cigarette smoke. Sugar is also dehydrating and can increases oil production. It also affects water binding so as a result, skin doesn’t look plump and healthy. Need more reason to bypass the dessert table? Sugar is thought to weaken the immune system, and a suppressed immune system cannot fight off bacteria.
Sleeping on Your Side
Are you a back sleep or a side sleeper? The position you sleep in can have an effect on wrinkles. Sleeping with the side of your face crushed against the pillow can lead to the formation of deep lines on that side Why? Repeated pressure in one targeted area can break down collagen, resulting in visible lines. Keep in mind that you spend more time sleeping than doing a repetitive facial motion such as frowning, so it all adds up. Sleeping face down is perhaps the worst for facial wrinkles.
Try to sleep on your back; you can buy a special pillow to help keep your body in position. Sleeping on your back may also prevent acne as your face won’t be in contact with any bacteria that could be on the pillow. Back sleeping may also help reduce puffiness. Another option is to switch to a smooth satin or silk pillow which won’t stick to the face.
Nobody wants to admit they’re having a hard time reading or seeing the television, but squinting is not only bad for your eyes, but your wrinkles as well. Constantly squinting can lead to wrinkles and loss of skin elasticity, as the eye muscles get trained to stay in a certain position. Make an appointment with an eye doctor to get a pair of reading glasses or upgrade your prescription. If you find yourself squinting in the sun, make sure to always carry a pair of sunglasses in your handbag or in your car. When it comes to sunglasses, bigger is better for sun protection.
If you do have fine lines, try a serum such as Formulyst Anti-Wrinkle Peptide Serum. It’s loaded with wrinkle fighting peptides, which are protein fragments that are the critical building blocks of skin. This serum contains six rejuvenating peptides and also delivers a dose of hydration for smoother, soft skin.
Scrubbing Too Much
Facial skin is delicate, and although we all want squeaky clean skin, don’t overdo it. It’s critical to always wash your face at night to whisk away dirt, makeup and sweat but choose the right facial wash. Never use deodorant soap on the face, which can dry out the skin and make it look dull and creased. Choose the right type of cleanser for your skin type, whether it is dry, oily or combination. Facial cleansers may also have to be switched due to seasonal changes. Resist the urge to over exfoliate as well, because harsh scrubbing can damage the skin. Switch from using a chunky scrub to one with alpha hydroxyl acids to gently slough off dead skin cells, such as Formulyst’s Gentle Foaming Cleanser. It leaves skin clean and refreshed without stripping it. Rosehip seed oil and vitamins A, C and E help nourish the skin and leave it feeling soft and silky.
Many of us live in cities where pollution is a way of life – when your window sills look permanently dirty, and the inside of your nose is often black, you know you live in a polluted place. The environment can have an impact on the formation of fine lines and wrinkles too. Pollution, whether it’s in the form of smog, chemical byproducts, particles, or smoke, can age skin prematurely. Pollutants can cause free radicals to damage the collagen and elastin of the skin. When these building blocks break down, the signs of aging can occur. Pollution has also been linked to fine lines, crepey skin, and dark spots.
Pollution damage may also be linked to acne and inflammation, as well as skin conditions such as eczema and hives. Products with antioxidants and SPF can help prevent this, such as Formulyst’s Active Serum – Vitamin B, C, E, Ferulic + Niacinamide. The powerhouse ingredients help protect skin from environmental aggressors that age the skin, such as UV rays and pollution. It’s also deeply hydrating.
Lack of Sleep
There’s a reason it’s called beauty sleep. Getting enough sleep is vital for the appearance of the skin and preventing wrinkles. While we sleep and get our zzzs, the skin heals and regenerates itself, and also flushes out toxins. At night the body produces more collagen and boosts blood flow to the face, enabling you to wake up with a healthy glow. Try to get eight hours a night and stick to a bedtime winding down ritual to help you get to sleep.
Smart phones & Selfies
Smart phones help us stay connected but constant selfies and scrolling may be doing more damage than you think. There is such a thing as “tech neck,” which refers to the sloped, curved position of your face and neck when staring down at your phone. This not only results in a sore neck but also contributes to neck wrinkles. Try to limit screen time, or hold your head up when using your phone.
Stress is a part of life, whether that is due to work, family issues or simply trying to do it all. But stress can take its toll not only on your mental health but physical health as well. Stress increases the level of cortisol, which leads to higher blood pressure, increased fat storage and a spike in blood sugar. A spike in blood sugar damages the collagen and elastin fibers which provide structure and fullness to the skin. Try to find ways to destress, whether that is outsourcing certain tasks or hitting the gym, or taking breaks from the office to walk a lap or two around the block.
Dry skin can be itchy and scaly. It’s not only uncomfortable but can make skin more susceptible to wrinkles. Always moisturize the skin twice a day, in the morning and at night. During the winter consider adding a few drops of nourishing face oil to your daily moisturizer for even more hydration. Or choose a rich moisturizer such as Formulyst’s Super HA Cream. The star ingredient is hyaluronic acid, which can hold 1,000 times its weight in water. The oil free formula delivers deep hydration with a lightweight feel.