Aging is a natural and inevitable process that should be embraced. Still, certain signs of aging, such as fine lines and crepey skin, can be reduced, allowing us to hold on to our youthful complexion a little longer while we adjust.
What are fine lines, and when do they typically appear?
“There are actually different types of “fine lines,” and their appearance and onset of appearance depend on many factors,” says Brynna Connor, MD. Certain factors play a role, such as:
- Hydration levels
- Nutritional habits
- Smoking status
Hormones change dramatically as we age, and this process affects the skin, thinning it out, and reducing elasticity. Part of the reason for this is a reduction in collagen. Other lifestyle factors include sun exposure and a lack of hydration.
Different types of fine lines can appear as we age and are often named for their appearance or location. For instance:
- Crows feet — at the corners of your eyes
- 11 — in between your eyebrows
- Static wrinkles
- Nasolabial folds
- Marionette lines
With crow’s feet and the ‘11’, named after their resemblance to their namesakes, are difficult to avoid. “Muscle contraction from just living life and making facial expressions causes these types of wrinkles,” says Connor.
Static wrinkles are visible despite your expression. “These can be due to reasons already described, such as decreased collagen production, levels of sun exposure, smoking, and poor nutrition,” Connor explains.
Nasolabial folds—the lines along either side of your mouth below the nose can deepen with age, and wrinkles along these folds are often due to smiling and other facial expressions. ‘Marionette’ lines are similar and extend down the chin.
While we don’t want to stop smiling, scowling is also a common cause of fine lines. “While the wrinkles that appear underneath the eyes are also related to the change in collagen production, scowling and frowning are significant causes of those wrinkles. It’s amazing just how much being happy can resolve!” notes Connor.
Tips to prevent fine lines and wrinkles
Connor suggests we focus our efforts on two things: lifestyle and proper skincare routines. Everything else, such as genetics and the passing of time, is out of our control. “Even something as simple as frowning less can significantly reduce the appearance of certain fine lines,” says Connor. Here are some simple steps everyone can do to help prevent fine lines, according to her:
- No bar soap!
- Clean your face with a proper, gentle cleanser daily. Use one’s expressly labeled “gentle” or “ultra-gentle.” Use clay-based for oily skin.
- Use moisturizers to minimize fine lines around the eyes.
- Wear sunscreen. Wear it every single day, even in winter, and yes, even if you live up north!
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
As a precautionary tip, avoid adding or taking away multiple products at once. This can cause issues troubleshooting the culprit should you have a bad reaction and makes determining what is working or not a challenge.
An ideal skincare routine & best products to prevent fine lines
The ideal skincare routine for aging skin consists of products such as:
- Cleanser: to dissolve makeup, dirt, and pollution
- Toner: to further remove traces of makeup and dirt and to balance skin
- Moisturizer: to add and seal in moisture
- Eye cream: to target the delicate eye area, a common source for fine lines
- Serums, oils, masks, and peels: for added potency of specific ingredients
The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends the following considerations when choosing the best skin cream and other products for wrinkles and fine lines.
- Use moisturizers to help minimize fine lines around the eyes.
- Look for a product that the manufacturers have explicitly designed to treat wrinkles.
- Avoid using more than one anti-aging product within a few days or weeks.
- Use products that suit your skin type
- Look for products that are hypoallergenic and either noncomedogenic or non-acnegenic
Connor further recommends checking for specific ingredient types when making a purchase. Look for products that include:
- Alpha hydroxy acids
- Argan oil
When choosing a sunscreen, be sure it is broad-spectrum so that you are protected from both UVA and UVB light. “You also want retinol, but keep in mind not all retinoids are the same, and some are much harsher than others,” says Conor. Check with your doctor regarding what strength is suitable for you.
Nutrition to prevent fine lines
“Any time you can get your supplements from dietary choices is best, and diet is a key factor in reducing fine lines and wrinkles,” says Connor.