What are wrinkles?
Known medically as ‘rhytides,’ wrinkles are simply folds in your skin. As we age, our skin produces less of two important proteins that keep skin supple and pliable: collagen and elastin. This depletion leads to movement lines in our face starting to just stay put (i.e. when we smile, our skin doesn’t bounce back to its original shape as easily). Our skin then becomes thinner and weaker, leaving it unable fight environmental damage like it did when it was young.
Wrinkles are a completely natural part of getting older (which, by the way, we are all doing every single day), so there is no need to fear or hate wrinkles… However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to prolong healthy, strong skin, keep new wrinkles at bay and soften the ones we already have.
What causes wrinkles?
Wrinkles, at the cellular level, are caused by a reduction in your skin’s ability to regenerate. In other words, the important building blocks of collagen and elastin aren’t as powerful as they once were, meaning your skin thins and doesn’t spring back the way it once did; it settles into the patterns created by the way you use your facial muscles.
This happens as a natural process as we age, but is exacerbated by several things:
- A lack of physical care in the form of skincare - in particular regular cleansing, exfoliating and moisturising
- Sun damage (also known as photodamage) - caused by UV light, which directly damages skin DNA
- Environmental factors - in the air, in the food you eat and in the quality of sleep you get
- Stress - causes our bodies to go into fight or flight mode so that regenerating the skin becomes the least of the body’s worries
Can you get rid of wrinkles naturally?
There are two main ways to help reduce wrinkles: internally (by increasing water consumption, reducing salt and sugar intake, eating healthy vitamin and collagen rich foods and getting plenty of sleep) and externally, by investing in quality natural skincare.
Truly natural skincare will feed your skin the components it is lacking so that it can build strength and retain its elasticity. Good skincare will also protect skin from the elements – dry, polluted air and harsh sunlight.
Can wrinkled skin be reversed?
We are happy to say that, YES! You can! Not completely and not forever, but you can absolutely soften, relax and even get rid of wrinkles if you change the habits that are causing them.
Proper moisturisation is key here, particularly with the wonder substance Hyaluronic Acid and active ingredients like peptides to build protein and strengthen the skin. Immediately ceasing harmful skin habits like smoking and unprotected sun-worship will also make a noticeable difference.
Oh, and try sleeping on your back – this is really simple wonder cure for wrinkles, as it allows gravity to do a lot of the work for you.
Are wrinkles permanent?
If you regularly move your face in a particular way (let’s say you smile a lot), eventually it will cause wrinkles (laugh lines around your mouth, crinkles around your eyes). This is a fact of human life, so get used to it! It is the way our bodies work and unless you physically block that action by injecting a toxin that paralyses the muscles, you can’t completely prevent wrinkles.
They aren’t all permanent though. You can notice within a few days the difference that drinking water, giving yourself a good, thorough exfoliation and using a good moisturiser will do for your face. Wrinkles can be re-engineered, softened, relaxed and prevented if you look after your skin.
Are wrinkles hereditary?
According to dermatologists, there is a genetic component to the likelihood of getting wrinkles and the timing at which we develop them. However, this only accounts for about 10% of our predisposition to wrinkle; 90% of skin aging is caused by sun. Did you read that carefully? It bears repeating: 90% of skin aging is caused by the sun, leaving only 10% to a hereditary predisposition.
That means you’re pretty much on your own when it comes to wrinkle prevention- mama’s beautiful, gracefully aged skin won’t do you any good if you’re not actually using the sunscreen she always told you to wear!
Why do we get wrinkles around our eyes easier than anywhere else?
If you’ve read through the previous questions, you probably can already guess the answer to this one. But we’ll break it down it anyways. As we age, our skin naturally thins and weakens, allowing wrinkles to form in the places on our face that move a lot. Thin, soft skin (like the skin under and around the eyes) has less underlying collagen and elastin to begin with, so it is even more susceptible to wrinkles. Couple that with the fact that every time we smile or laugh or squint or wink, this skin gets crinkled, and you’ve got the perfect recipe for crow’s feet and fine lines surrounding the eyes.
What can wrinkles tell you about your health?
Sometimes, wrinkles can be indicative of more than just the natural aging process; they may be telling you that there are some deeper health issues at play. Deep forehead wrinkles have been linked with atherosclerosis, a disease of hardened arteries that may lead to heart disease. In fact, a medical study found that people with deep forehead wrinkles were 10x more likely have heart disease.
High blood pressure may also cause facial skin sagging and wrinkling and if you have high levels of cortisol (a stress hormone), you will be more likely to have ‘worry’ or ‘frown’ lines. Fine cheek wrinkles are a warning sign for skin cancer, as this indicates quite severe sun damage.
All of these are worth checking out with your doctor, as it is important to treat underlying health issues before you try to soften your wrinkles – they may be telling you something very important!
Does stress cause wrinkles?
Yep. Studies have shown that stress- particularly in the form of depression, anxiety and social isolation- can speed up the aging process. It does this by weakening the protective caps on the end of the DNA strands (called telomeres) and then shortening the length of the individual DNA strands themselves. This means that cells age faster and die younger. When these cells shrink to a certain point, they lose the ability to divide any further and this essentially means they are worn out. This can manifest in premature aging both inside and out as well as a shorter overall lifespan.
Take home message: look after your DNA! Stress, and your mental health in general, is something you should take very seriously.
Does being tired cause wrinkles?
Absolutely. Tiredness is a type of stress and it reduces the skin’s ability to protect itself. It manifests in baggy, thin skin under the eyes, less melanin in the skin (making you look pale or yellowish) and water retention in your face (that puffy look you get after a bad night).
In the long run it manifests the same way as stress, with a breakdown in your DNA that means your skin can’t regenerate and begins to age prematurely. In short – sleep is one of the most important things you can do for your body and for your skin.
At what age should you start using anti-aging skincare?
Well, since the most important anti-aging product is sunscreen, you are never too young to start the “anti-aging” process! But when it comes to targeted, active skincare, your twenties is the perfect time to begin protecting and priming your skin to be strong and healthy as it ages.
The longer and more cumulatively you use natural, high quality skincare, the greater the benefits. When choosing products, be sure to select products that are suited to your skin type, as opposed to focusing the age demographic they are marketed towards. Ensuring the product works for you is the most important thing.
Does vitamin C prevent help prevent wrinkles?
Vitamin C (or ascorbic acid) has antioxidant properties which help protect the skin against environmental damage and its role in collagen synthesis means that it helps to prevent and treat UV damage in the form of skin discolouration and wrinkles. You can take vitamin C both internally and externally to help boost your skin’s resilience.