How to Visibly Reduce Premature Wrinkles, 16 Simple Life Hacks
At a certain point we all expect to see the signs of skin aging—but for most of us that time is not now. If you’re worried about premature wrinkles, read this. We’re sharing more about premature wrinkles—including what causes these pesky crinkles—and a few life hacks to help below!
4 TYPES OF PREMATURE WRINKLES
No matter what you call them—fine lines, furrows, creases, crinkles—wrinkles are an inevitable side effect of growing older. Premature wrinkles aren’t unlike your traditional wrinkles and fine lines, and often present themselves in a similar way. Here are a few of the top areas where we start to see these signs of skin aging—before we’d like to!
Our eye contour is one of the first areas of skin can that show the signs of age. Crow’s feet—those very-appropriately-named lines that appear in the outer corners of our eyes—can pop up as early as our late 20s and early 30s. This is because the skin surrounding our eye contour is so thin and delicate, making it more vulnerable to the external factors that can cause premature wrinkles.
Our hands are another area of skin that can show the signs of premature aging. “The skin on the hands is very thin—like the skin underneath our eyes—therefore it is very fragile,” explains board-certified dermatologist and Skincare.com consultant Dr. Dendy Engelman. She goes on to say that since our hands are so often exposed to the elements—hello, UV rays—and we so often neglect to care for them in the same way we do our face, they can show the signs of premature wrinkling.
Wrinkles Around the Mouth
Wrinkles around your mouth are referred to in the skin care world as nasolabial folds and marionette lines. Dr. Engelman notes that this is caused by things like the sun’s effect on skin, resulting in a decrease in the structural components around the corners of the mouth, causing a loss of volume.
Have you heard of “tech neck?” This term to refer to the fine lines that can appear on our necks after a prolonged time of staring down at our smart phones and computers, is also referring to another common type of premature wrinkle. Just like our hands, we can neglect our necks during our skin care routines, leaving its delicate skin susceptible to external aggressors that cause premature skin aging.
WHAT CAN CAUSE PREMATURE WRINKLES?
While intrinsic aging—the aging that occurs simply by the passing of time—is the leading cause of those wrinkles, when it comes to premature wrinkles we can’t blame aging alone. According to the Mayo Clinic, premature wrinkles are caused by a number of factors including exposure to harmful UV rays, repeated facial expressions, and smoking. Other factors that can lead to premature signs of skin aging? Not caring for your skin properly—are you always moisturizing after cleansing?—free radicals—and an unhealthy lifestyle.
HOW YOU CAN REDUCE YOUR CHANCES OF GETTING PREMATURE WRINKLES
Okay, now that you know what can cause you to look older than you are, it’s time to do something about it…now! We’re sharing a few simple life hacks to help avoid developing premature wrinkles in the first place!
Hack #1: Use SPF Each and Every Day
Do you save your sunscreen for those long days at the beach? You’re doing it wrong. Sunscreen—specifically sunscreen with broad-spectrum SPF—needs to not only be applied every single day of the year, rain or shine, it needs to be reapplied throughout the day. This is especially true if you want to avoid premature wrinkles—both those that you may have in the future and even ones you may currently be sporting. Since UV rays are a leading source of premature signs of aging—wrinkles included—practicing safe sun care is a necessary step to protecting your skin. The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends using a sunscreen or moisturizer formulated with SPF of at least 30.
Hack #2: Embrace a Faux Glow
While we’re on the topic of sun damage, it’s important to note that baking away in those UV rays in the name of getting a golden glow is not going to do you any favors when it comes to premature wrinkles. Tanning, whether in natural sunlight or in tanning beds, can accelerate skin aging according to the AAD. Instead of getting your glow on this way, consider reaching for sunless tanners. Self-tanning formulas have come a long way from their previous streaky, orange finishes. These days you can find gradual self-tanning lotions, bronzing body wipes, and even sprays that can quickly help you achieve a believable golden tan that will just make it look like you spent the summer lounging seaside. Discover a few of our favorite self-tanners!
Hack #3: Start a Skin Care Routine
We may have been able to get away with very little when it came to caring for our skin in our younger years, but as we get older it’s important to follow a skin care routine that’s built around our skin type and concerns. At the bare minimum you’ll want to make sure you’re cleansing your skin of impurities day and night, moisturizing after every cleanse, and wearing broad-spectrum SPF each day. We also recommend incorporating eye creams and serums formulated with antioxidants into your daily regimen as well. Remember, it’s never too early to start an anti-aging skin care routine!
Hack #4: Use Products with Antioxidants
We don’t just recommend using a serum—or even a cream—formulated with antioxidants, we really recommend it…especially laying it under your SPF each day. External aggressors like free radicals can lead to premature skin aging and antioxidants are a great line of defense for your skin’s surface. Board-certified dermatologist, cosmetic surgeon, and Skincare.com expert Dr. Michael Kaminer tells us, “Antioxidants work great [in tandem with your sunscreen] at preventing future skin damage and ‘scavenging’ free radicals created by sun exposure.” He recommends reaching for a product formulated with antioxidant vitamin C.
Vitamin C is considered a gold standard in anti-aging. Otherwise known as l-ascorbic acid, vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that highly regarded in the world of dermatology for its ability to fight the signs of free radical damage and premature signs of skin aging—read: those premature fine lines and wrinkles. Our consulting dermatologists recommend looking for stable vitamin C preparations in dark or opaque packaging since light exposure may break it down and cause your product to be less effective.
Hack #5: Stop Smoking Now!
Still smoking? Stop. It. Now. Cigarettes can speed up the skin’s aging process, according to the Mayo Clinic. Nicotine narrows blood vessels, restricting the skin’s supply of nutrients and many of the other chemicals damage collagen and elasticity. The Clinic also notes that those facial expressions made when smoking and the repeated exposure to heat from burning cigarettes may further contribute to wrinkles. Do your best to make smoking a thing of the past by thinking of that younger-looking skin you could have in your future!
Hack #6: Avoid Repeated Expressions
Even if you don’t smoke, repeated expressions—like furrowing your brows, squinting your eyes, and so on—can lead to fine lines and wrinkles. The AAD explains that each time we make a facial expression we contract the underlying muscles. By repeatedly contracting those same muscles over a period of many years, these fine lines can become permanent.
Hack #7: Drink Responsibly
Did you know that frequently imbibing in alcohol may be a contributing factor to premature skin aging? According to the AAD, it’s possible! They note that alcohol can be rough on the skin by dehydrating its appearance and making us look older as a result.
Hack #8: Don’t Forget the Skin Below Your Chin
Since our necks and hands can be two of the first areas to show the signs of premature skin aging, it’s important to treat them the way we would the skin on our face. Wear broad spectrum sunscreen on these often-overlooked areas and reapply it as directed, extend your skin care routine to your neck and décolleté morning and night, and keep a hand cream at your desk at work to remind you to moisturize your mitts!
Hack #9: Eat a Well-Rounded Diet
While nothing has ever been labeled as a definitive dietary answer, eating a well-balanced diet is always a healthy option.
Hack #10: Stay Hydrated
While we’re talking diets, you should also make sure that you’re drinking enough water on a daily basis to keep your skin looking hydrated and healthy from the inside out. If plain water sounds unappealing, jazz it up with your favorite fruits and herbs. We’re sharing spa-inspired fruit water recipes that will make drinking water a pastime you’ll actually look forward to!
Hack #11: Stress Less
Okay, okay, we get it, it’s not always easy to lead a stress-free life. But did you know that the signs of stress can show up on your skin? Look for ways to find peace of mind throughout the day, whether it’s through a little mindful meditation, a hot yoga session, or just a little online “window” shopping. We recommend trying to destress by incorporating a little fitness into your routine, especially since the benefits may be two-fold. The AAD notes that findings from a few studies suggest that moderate exercise may improve circulation which can help to give the skin a more youthful-looking appearance.
Hack #12: Moisturize Daily
As we mentioned, building an anti-aging skin care routine is an extremely important component of preventing premature wrinkles. One of the most essential facets is moisturizing each and every day with a hydrating cream or lotion. Not only can this help keep your skin’s moisture barrier balanced, it can help keep dry skin at bay as well. As a reminder, dry skin can accentuate the look of wrinkles and fine lines.
Don’t know which moisturizer to grab? Take our simple quiz to discover the best moisturizer for your skin type and concerns.
Hack #13: Cleanse with a Mild Formula
Washing your face with harsh cleansers or soaps can dry out your skin, leaving your complexion looking drab and dreary. Instead, reach for a mild cleanser or a micellar water that’s gentle on your skin without stripping necessary moisture. Be sure to wash your face twice per day to remove all traces of makeup and pore-clogging dirt. This simple step is key to keeping your skin looking as young as possible.
Hack #14: Use Products Formulated for Your Skin Type
While this tip seems intuitive, it’s more vital than you may think. Using the wrong products for your skin type may not adequately address your concerns, and premature signs of aging may be more visible as a result. In order to ensure your complexion looks the way you want it to, develop a simple skin care routine centered around your skin type!
Hack #15: Introduce Retinol into Your Routine
You may know retinol as a staple ingredient for anti-aging skin care, but targeting visible signs of aging isn’t the only reason you should use it. In fact, most dermatologists recommend incorporating a retinol into your skin care routine starting in your 20s to help prevent wrinkles and fine lines from forming prematurely.
If you’re new to retinol, start at a lower dose in order to get your skin adjusted to the powerful ingredient. Only apply it at night, and pair it with broad-spectrum sunscreen during daytime hours since retinol can increase skin sensitivity to sunlight.
Hack #16: Give Glycolic Acid a Try
Dull skin and rough texture can diminish your skin’s youthful appearance. Glycolic acid is a stand-out ingredient when it comes to sloughing away dead skin cells and revealing brighter, more youthful-looking skin.
ALREADY HAVE PREMATURE WRINKLES? HERE’S THE SILVER LINING!
If you already have a few premature wrinkles and think it’s too late to make a difference, know this! The AAD explains that people who may already see the signs of premature skin aging can benefit by lifestyle changes like the ones we share above. In fact, even just making an effort to wear broad-spectrum sunscreen each day (even on the cloudy days!) you can potentially visibly reduce the appearance some of those initial signs!