Beat Back Wrinkles in the War for Your Face

Understanding the causes of wrinkles is the key to preventing them, so we've spelled out which habits are helping or hurting your skin.

Beat Back Wrinkles in the War for Your Face Photo (cc) by Son of Groucho

The best way to prevent your clothes from wrinkling is to avoid what causes it – like leaving them in a heap on the floor.

The same logic applies to your skin: The best way to prevent wrinkles is to properly care for it. But before you can avoid the causes of wrinkled skin, you need to identify them. So we’ve singled out the worst offenders…

Sun exposure

The sun provides the light and warmth that make this planet habitable. But it also produces ultraviolet radiation that’s carcinogenic – just like asbestos, engine exhaust, cigarette smoke, and other cancer-causing dangers.

“Repeated exposure to the deadly, carcinogenic rays of the sun or tanning beds destroys collagen, elastin, and produces abnormal skin cells that cannot behave like young skin,” explains cosmetics expert Paula Begoun. “It is the major cause of wrinkling.” (Not to mention skin cancer.)

  • Wear sunscreen – daily. Sun protection is the best way to prevent wrinkles.
  • Don’t forget your neck, chest, and any other areas not covered by clothing. Even if you could afford plastic surgery, Botox Cosmetic injections, or other skin rejuvenation treatments to minimize facial wrinkles, fewer are available for the rest of your body. That’s why some older women who get cosmetic procedures (think reality TV stars) end up with smooth faces atop sagging, wrinkled necks.
  • Choose wisely. Not all sunscreens protect against all types of ultraviolet rays. Read 10 Tips – and New FDA Rules – to Save Your Skin to learn how to scrutinize sunscreen bottle labels as much as you do (or should) food nutrition labels.

Time

Scientists have yet to discover how to stop the aging process – unless perhaps you’re up for a cryogenic freeze – but research shows we can slow the process.

Facial expressions

They don’t call them frown lines for nothing: Certain facial movements can lead to wrinkles.

“Each time you use a facial muscle, a groove forms beneath the surface of the skin,” explains the Mayo Clinic. “As skin ages, it loses its flexibility and is no longer able to spring back in place. These grooves then become permanent features on your face.”

  • Avoid repeated facial expressions, such as furrowing your brows.
  • Don’t squint. If you need reading glasses, invest in a pair. If you don’t own sunglasses, ditto.

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