As you grow older, your skin loses its elasticity and becomes thinner, more fragile and less moist. Wrinkles are a visible badge of honor simply for making it through the years intact, but this is little consolation if you’re forced to display them for the rest of the world to take note. You might not be able to fight the intrinsic aging process, but simple skin care techniques can prevent fine lines from turning into deeper, prominent grooves.
Just Say "No" to Tanning
The primary cause of premature wrinkles is repeated exposure to ultraviolet light, which damages the collagen and elastin fibers in your skin. Pitch your tanning salon membership and put an end to long sun-seeking sessions by the pool. Smooth on a sunscreen that gives you broad-spectrum protection at least 20 minutes before you head outdoors, even on cloudy days. The American Academy of Dermatology, or AAD, recommends using sunscreen with a sun protection factor of at least 30.
Cleansing and Creaming
Choosing the right skin care products can temporarily decrease the appearance of fine lines. Salicylic acid, alpha hydroxy acids and retinol are three ingredients to look for in your products, says the AAD. Choose a wrinkle cream formulated for your face — these plump up your skin and make wrinkles less noticeable during the day. Do your "repair work" at night. The AAD suggests first using a gentle cleanser. Avoid harsh soaps and cleansers that strip your skin of its natural oil. Wash and rinse with warm water and gently pat your face dry. Apply a skin care product that contains retinol, which encourages collagen production. Top it off with a good facial cream or lotion to keep your skin moist.
Sleep lines can eventually become a permanent part of your face when your skin is pressed directly against your pillow. If you sleep on your side, you’re likely to see these on your chin and cheeks; if you sleep with your face pressed directly into the pillow, you’ll notice them on your forehead. Back sleepers, on the other hand, don’t get these kinds of wrinkles, says the AAD.
Facial exercises are often touted as a way to firm up the muscles under your face and decrease wrinkles. However, the AAD states that if you want to fight aging skin, these exercises are counter-productive to your efforts. One cause of wrinkles is making repeated expressions. As your skin loses its elasticity, it also loses its ability to spring back into a smooth state. Expression lines are especially noticeable on parts of your face that get a good workout, such as your forehead and mouth.
Kick the Habit
Tobacco use can contribute to a craggy appearance, making you look older before your time. MayoClinic.com explains that smoking decreases the blood flow to your skin, depriving it of oxygen and vital nutrients. In addition to inflicting damage to the collagen and elastin in your skin, the repetitive movements you make when you pick up a cigarette — inhaling on a cigarette and squinting against a stream of smoke — cause wrinkles to appear.