If you’re concerned about wrinkles, and you know you can’t expect to solve all of your problems overnight, where do you start? Should you avoid sunshine and UV damage, reduce stress, change your diet, quit smoking and/or drinking, use better (or more!) skincare products, eat foods rich in anti-oxidants, take nutriceuticals, stay hydrated, exercise, have more facials?
Taking good care of your skin isn’t your only priority, so let’s address the worst offenders, as well as the best solutions.
- UV exposure. This one is the real culprit of aging. UVB rays cause burning, but UVA rays, which penetrate the skin more deeply, cause wrinkles, loss of elasticity, and photoaging. You’re exposed to UVA rays even when you’re inside—about 90% of UVA rays are transmitted through ordinary glass and windshields. Wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen (like Oclipse SPF 30) every day, and use skincare products high in anti-oxidants.
- Wake up your skin cells. Dormant skin cells exacerbate all of the signs of aging. You need to activate and stimulate them with high concentrations of retinol, which is generally considered the best topical anti-aging ingredient. In fact, scientists recently revealed that retinol (and other Vitamin A derivatives) is the only topical ingredient proven to provide anti-aging benefits.
- Kick the sugar habit. Too much of the sweet stuff—either as sugar or as fructose—is the most common cause of glycation and inflammation. It binds to collagen, weakens it, and then induces sagging and wrinkles. Too much sugar will also reduce skin circulation and damage the texture.
- Stay hydrated. Drinking 8 glasses of water/day is important for digestion, circulation, and excretion. For skincare, you need even more than that, especially after reaching age 40. Water helps hydrate the skin (thereby disguising wrinkles), flushes toxins from the skin (reducing acne), reduces dark circles underneath the eyes, and reduces eczema and psoriasis. Water is surely the most readily available, and the cheapest, skincare remedy.
- Huff and puff—but not nicotine. Cardio-vascular exercise is good for your skin. It improves the circulation and delivers nutrients. Plus it makes you feel better about yourself, and the radiance shines through.
- Relax. Many aspects of daily life can lead to increased stress, and that stress can cause or exacerbate a blotchy complexion, blemises, dullness, and acne and rosacea flare-ups. It’s impossible to eliminate stress, but you should help reduce it. Find time for yourself, exercise, get 7 hours of sleep a night, enjoy friends, practice yoga—whatever works for you.
It’s also important to eat a healthy diet, rich in anti-oxidants and Omega-3’s—the perfect excuse to have an ounce of dark chocolate. Peels, laser treatments, Botox, and fillers may be an option, but they shouldn’t be your first choice. What you do every day and how you treat your skin every night help to make medical procedures unnecessary. So take good care of yourself.