What are Wrinkles?
Wrinkles affect the skin and appear as creases, folds, or ridges. Usually observed among older people, wrinkles can appear either as fine surface lines or as deep furrows. They may be caused by various factors, such as exposure to ultraviolet light or regular muscle contractions.
Wrinkles are part of the natural aging process. In younger people, skin is still supple and elastic and springs back easily. As we age, however, our skin becomes less elastic and is less able to protect itself from damage. It loses its flexibility and springing back becomes harder and less frequent.
Wrinkles usually affect the parts of the body that are most exposed to the sun, such as the face, neck, hands, and forearms.
What Causes Wrinkles?
Aside from age, there are several other factors that can lead to the formation of wrinkles.
- Your skin type
- Your skin’s natural pigmentation
- Your genetics
- Your exposure to the sun and to ultraviolet light
- Dehydration, and
- Loss of subcutaneous fat
While many believe wrinkles are inevitable, a bit of prevention can do wonders to help you preserve a more youthful appearance. Here are a few of the options available to you:
- Topical Treatments
- Retinoids. Currently considered the most effective way to reduce wrinkles, retinoids are known to cause an initial redness and peeling. Once the peeling stops, however, the renewed skin will immediately give you a rosier and fresher countenance.
- Alpha-hydroxy acids. Also known as ‘fruit acids,’ these are mild “natural” treatments that can, at times, cause a bit of temporary skin irritation. Used or applied regularly, fruit acids can improve the skin over time.
- Antioxidants. Vitamins A, C, E, and beta-carotene are all antioxidants. They provide some protection from the sun and can mildly improve wrinkles.
- Moisturizers. Regular use of moisturizers can reduce the appearance of wrinkles, but cannot remove them permanently.
- Home Remedies – Home remedies are the cheapest and arguably the least invasive way to stop wrinkles from forming. Here are a few recommended facial home treatments that work, should you prefer to go the purely natural route.
- Coconut oil. Coconut oil is a natural skin-softening moisturizer. It is an emollient that helps reduce already visible wrinkles. It is rich in antioxidants which prevent the formation of free radicals that causes early aging.
- Olive oil. Olive oil contains antioxidant and vitamins A and E. Used as a moisturizer, it also helps fight free radicals.
- Banana mask. The Vitamin A found in bananas can help lighten dark spots and blemishes, while Vitamin B helps prevent aging. The fruit is also high in potassium, which promotes the hydration of skin cells, and Vitamin E, which fights off free radical and helps strengthen the skin’s resistance to UV damage.
- Egg white mask. Mix one egg white with a teaspoon of fresh lemon juice and half a teaspoon of honey to fight off bacteria, help tighten, tone, and shrink pores by reducing excess oil. The mixture also helps in tissue repair and growth, and preserves the moisture in skin cells. It can also help in slowing down the aging process and makes the skin appear more radiant.
- Aloe vera. Aloe vera has the ability to soothe the skin and help heal wounds. It has anti-inflammatory properties and is often used as a remedy for sunburns.
- Lemon juice honey dab. A lemon juice and honey concoction can tighten the skin. The humectant in honey preserves skin moisture, while lemon increases collagen production.
If you’d like to undergo slightly more aggressive treatments to address your wrinkles, you may also want to consider:
- Glycolic acid peels. Superficial peels such as glycolic acid peels can have a slight effect on decreasing the intensity of fine wrinkles.
- Salicylic acid and trichloroacetic acid peels. Both acids penetrate deeper into your skin, and are more effective than milder types of acids at smoothing out fine lines. They can be rather uncomfortable and can cause side effects, such as scarring and changes in skin color.
- Microdermabrasion. Machines containing silica or aluminum crystals are employed to ‘sand’ the skin, resulting in a smoother feel that does not alter the anatomy of the skin.
- Dermabrasion. Unlike microdermabrasion, this is surgical procedure that needs to be performed under general anesthesia. While results can be significant, there is a risk of scarring and permanent changes in skin color.
- Laser resurfacing. Laser treatments destroy the outer layer of the skin and heat up the underlying skin to stimulate collagen production. However, this procedure requires some healing downtime for the skin.
- Heat and radiofrequency. Radiofrequency devices and infrared light sources are used to heat tissue. This treatment is safe and results in visible and lasting skin improvements.
- Plastic surgery. This includes facelifts, brow lifts, and other similar operations to stretch the skin and make wrinkles ‘disappear’ surgical ly.
- Dermal fillers, including botox, are injected to fill in and relax facial lines and wrinkles, and to plump up and re-contour facial features. The effect can last from six to nine months or longer, but needs to be occasionally repeated to sustain skin improvements.
An Ounce of Prevention
It may sound trite but, as in anything, prevention is always better than cure. The best way to prevent wrinkles from forming in the first place is to practice certain good habits early on, including:
- Minimizing your exposure to the sun. Excessive sun exposure causes causes the skin to age faster. Wear protective clothing and use sunscreen to minimize sun damage.
- Quit smoking. Smoking accelerates skin aging. Quitting smoking can slow down skin aging, even for long-term heavy smokers.
- Avoid alcohol. Alcohol causes dehydration of the body and the skin.
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle. Get at least seven hours of sleep every night, maintain a healthy diet, and exercise regularly, as doing so will contribute to your overall health and improvement of your skin quality.
Whatever your remedy of choice, bear in mind that your self-esteem and sense of beauty should not depend solely on your exterior. Discover instead an inner source of energy and fulfillment so your beauty radiates from within. Treat your wrinkles kindly; they can represent a map of your life.
WebMD. 2015. Wrinkles. WebMD. Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/beauty/wrinkles#1-3
Nordqvist, C. (2016). What are wrinkles? Medical News Today. Retrieved form http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/174852.php
Cole, G.W. (2015). Wrinkles. MedicineNet. Retrieved from http://www.medicinenet.com/wrinkles/article.htm
Olson, S. (2014). Wrinkle treatment. Medical Daily. Retrieved from http://www.medicaldaily.com/wrinkle-treatment-12-hacks-and-home-remedies-naturally-prevent-wrinkles-298594