Are you worried about wrinkles and fine lines? We usually want to try everything to prevent and reduce them. However, if we do that without understanding what our skin needs, it’s difficult to get results. I’ll show you what actives to look for in your cosmetics to prevent (and even reduce) these signs of aging!
Today I am finally going to talk to you about one of the issues that concerns us most when we think about our skin: wrinkles and fine lines. One of the most common reasons why we begin to grow an interest in skincare is precisely our desire to slow down skin aging and prevent or reduce wrinkles. Do you want to know a little more about the subject? This post is for you!
Although there are many aspects that I could talk about regarding wrinkles and fine lines, I have divided this article into the following sections to help you know your skin a little better and take care of it to prevent the appearance of those wrinkles:
- Why do wrinkles appear.
- What types of wrinkles are there?
- How to prevent and reduce wrinkles and fine lines.
1. WHY DO WRINKLES APPEAR?
Wrinkles are a natural part of the evolution of our skin. Over the years, there are different signs of aging that make an appearance, and depending on many factors in each skin, some may appear to a greater extent than others. The main responsible for the appearance of wrinkles are two proteins that we can find in our dermis and that you surely know: collagen and elastin. Collagen is responsible for providing firmness to our skin, while elastin gives it the elasticity it requires.
Collagen and elastin fibers are exposed to two processes that damage them: the oxidation process and the glycation process. The oxidation process can have different origins, although one of its main causes is exposure to ultraviolet radiation (in addition to an unhealthy lifestyle). As I explain in my guide on antioxidants, when this oxidation process begins, our skin produces molecules called free radicals that damage the tissues around it, with proteins (such as collagen and elastin) being some of the most affected molecules. On the other hand, the glycation process takes place when collagen and elastin fibers interact with glucose, producing what are known as Advanced Glycation End products (AGEs). When this happens, these fibers become stiff and fragile and, therefore, our skin loses its elasticity and wrinkles progressively appear.
Now that you know the processes by which our skin wrinkles, you are surely wondering what aspects are the ones that originate them more directly. We can mainly differentiate two large groups of causes that influence skin aging: intrinsic ones (genetics, hormonal levels, etc.) and other extrinsic ones (exposure to ultraviolet radiation, tobacco consumption, lifestyle, etc.). As is often the case, wrinkles appear due to a combination of these causes, but we can act directly on some of them to prevent their appearance.
The main culprit for the appearance of wrinkles is undoubtedly exposure to ultraviolet radiation. Ultraviolet radiation promotes both the oxidation and inflammation processes of our skin, so something as simple as using sunscreen daily (and reapplying it) helps us in an essential way to prevent skin aging (in addition to the appearance of serious diseases such as melanoma). If we expose ourselves to ultraviolet radiation without adequate protection (that is, without using sunscreen), we aren’t just facilitating the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, but also other skin problems such as spots.
On the other hand, although we may forget it, facial expression also has a direct influence on the appearance of certain wrinkles and fine lines. After all, if you look at the people around you, they will usually have certain lines more marked as a result of the gestures they repeat the most. Around this cause of the appearance of wrinkles, various movements have arisen that promote the performance of certain facial massages or that try to teach us to modify the way in which we perform certain movements so as not to promote the appearance of wrinkles.
We must bear in mind that wrinkles and fine lines do not appear instantly, but are a consequence of a process that we experience over the years. Of course, if you want to avoid their occurrence, the earlier you start, the more likely you are to be able to prevent them more effectively. By this I do not want to promote an unhealthy obsession with wrinkles, but I believe that if there is something about us that we want to improve and it is in our power to do so, we should not let anything stop us from doing it.
Many of you have come to me precisely because you have seen your first wrinkles and fine lines and have realized that you have not done anything so far to prevent them. Do not worry, if you haven’t done anything to prevent wrinkles and you notice your first fine lines, all is not lost, you are in time to give your skin what it needs to delay the appearance of wrinkles and, above all, to keep it healthy.
2. WHAT TYPES OF WRINKLES ARE THERE?
To date, there is no consensus classification when evaluating wrinkles, but there are different types depending on different factors. New classifications will probably emerge over time, but I think it is important to establish a minimum consensus, as this will allow us to analyze issues like this more clearly.
A very intuitive classification (even though it has some shortcomings) is the one used by the AAFE (American Academy of Facial Esthetics), which differentiates between three types of wrinkles: dynamic, static and gravitational or folds.
- Dynamic wrinkles appear as a consequence of certain repetitive muscular movements that form what we usually know as fine lines on the forehead, the corner of the lips or what we know as crow’s feet.
- Static wrinkles arise when dynamic wrinkles occur for a long time or as a result of ultraviolet radiation, smoking, etc.
- Finally, when we speak of gravitational folds or wrinkles, we refer to those that appear due to the decrease in fat deposits and the passage of time itself, which accentuates dynamic wrinkles and makes the skin lose its firmness.
Although some models have emerged to quantitatively assess wrinkles (for example, by using silicone molds that are subsequently analyzed under a microscope), there is still a long way to go in this area, but it would be interesting to have a simple method that would allow us to clearly see how our wrinkles evolve.
Finally, other classifications are based on qualitative data that not only attends to the amount and depth of wrinkles, but also to other aspects such as elastosis (aging derived mainly from ultraviolet radiation, and visible in the form of wrinkles and blemishes). Do you remember the Fitzpatrick scale of phototypes that I talked about in my guide on spots? Well, this same author also created a classification of three types of wrinkles thinking about their application when doing laser treatments. This Fitzpatrick classification of the types of wrinkles differentiates between class 1 (fine wrinkles with mild elastosis, that is, small changes in texture with subtly accentuated lines), class 2 (fine to moderate wrinkles with moderate elastosis) and class 3 (deep wrinkles and numerous and severe elastosis).
As you can see, although there is no consensus, it is relatively easy to analyze the wrinkles that appear on our skin and assess, in a preliminary way, if they are, in appearance, more or less deep or if the skin has also lost firmness in the area.
Surely now what you ask yourself is what you can do with those wrinkles and fine lines and how to prevent or reduce them, right? In the next section you will find everything you need to know.
3. HOW TO PREVENT AND REDUCE WRINKLES AND FINE LINES.
We have to start from the basis that cosmetics have their limits, and we must assume the appearance of wrinkles as a regular part of our aging. At the end of the day, they are nothing but another sign that shows our experience and that reminds us of everything we have been through.
In any case, as I said before, the causes that give rise to the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines are multiple, so if we want to prevent them we must act from different fronts, through a healthy lifestyle, reducing our exposure to ultraviolet radiation and using certain cosmetics that promote the production of collagen and elastin or that prevent their fibers from being damaged. In some cases there are certain treatments (botox, fillers, lasers, facelifts, etc.) that may be useful, but it is essential to first evaluate if you really need them and then to consult your dermatologist about it to assess the most appropriate solution for your case. Next I am going to indicate some of the most effective cosmetics to prevent and reduce wrinkles and expression lines. Do you think you know them all?
I will never get tired of saying it: it is essential to use sunscreen daily (and reapply it properly). Even if you don’t do it to avoid premature aging of your skin, do it for your health, to avoid <melanoma and other serious diseases. You must use sunscreen even if you are at home and the sun only reaches you through the windows, reapplying it every 2 hours and whenever we sweat, bathe or dry. In addition to this, we must try to avoid exposure to ultraviolet radiation as much as possible, trying not to expose ourselves in the central hours of the day and protecting ourselves in the shade and with an umbrella, hat, sunglasses and clothing with UPF protection.
We should always use a sunscreen that has an SPF index of at least 30 (you can read more about what this means in this article). Remember that even if you use a moisturizer or makeup with sun protection, they do not always provide us as much protection as we think, since we must apply at least 2 mg of product per cm2 of skin, which is equivalent (approximately) to 1.25ml of product or the amount you would apply in a line on the index and middle fingers for the face and neck. The sunscreen should cover all areas exposed to the sun, but keep in mind that you should apply a generous layer, it is better to use more than less.
And why is sunscreen so important if you’re worried about wrinkles? Because, as I mentioned before, it helps prevent oxidative damage caused by free radicals as well as inflammation (which also promotes premature aging of the skin).
Choosing the right sunscreen is not always easy, since we each have different preferences and tastes. We tend to think that sunscreen must be heavy and uncomfortable, but luckily there are many products among which you will surely find the perfect one for you. Therefore, in this comparison of sunscreens and in this other comparison I have included many different products so that you can find one that fits exactly what you are looking for.
Retinoids (derivatives of vitamin A) are great for preventing and reducing fine lines and wrinkles. They do it in two ways: promoting the repair of collagen and elastin fibers (which we saw in the first section that are essential to keep the skin firm and elastic although they can be damaged in various ways) and accelerating the cell turnover process (which makes the skin regenerate faster, also improving its texture). In addition to this, certain forms of retinoids are used as acne treatments, making them very versatile ingredients.
Although they are very powerful and effective, we must use retinoids with caution, as indicated in my guide on the subject. This is because they are potentially irritating, so if we abuse them we can end up damaging our skin barrier. In addition to this, you should consider that they tend to dry out the skin, so if your skin is already dry you should make sure to deeply moisturize it to keep it healthy. Finally, you must bear in mind that our skin will be more vulnerable to the damage caused by ultraviolet radiation while we use retinoids, so you must make sure to use sunscreen correctly.
In general, it is advisable to start using milder forms of retinoids and progressively move on to more powerful ones, thus ensuring that our skin acquires the necessary tolerance. If you think retinoids are what your skin needs, check out my guide on the subject, in which I explain step by step how to properly introduce them into your beauty routine.
If you want to start using retinoids, I recommend using a formula like The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion, available at DECIEM (recommended), at SkinStore, and FeelUnique or La Roche-Posay Retinol B3 serum, which you can find on SkinStore and on FeelUnique. Later, when your skin has acquired a certain tolerance to these ingredients, you can use other more powerful products such as Medik8 Crystal Retinal serum, available on FeelUnique and the Paula’s Choice Clinical 1% Retinol Treatment, which you can find on Paula’s Choice, on Niche Beauty, and on FeelUnique, and the Allies of Skin 1A Retinal + Peptides Overnight Mask, available on FeelUnique.
Peptides are another set of ingredients that work wonders to reduce wrinkles and fine lines without the potential irritation that sometimes accompanies retinoids, making them a good solution if you tend to have sensitive skin. In addition, you can incorporate them into your day routines and summer skincare routines, since your skin will not be more vulnerable to ultraviolet radiation while you use them (unlike what happens with retinoids).
Peptides are compounds made up of various short chains of amino acids, which serve as the structural basis for proteins (such as collagen and elastin). Some forms of peptides contribute to the production of collagen or the repair of its fibers, while others prevent the appearance of dynamic wrinkles by blocking certain muscle movements.
Although in my guide on peptides I talk in greater detail about the subject, there are very interesting peptide-based formulas that you may be interested in incorporating into your skincare routines. Without a doubt my favorite is the NIOD Copper Amino-Isolate Serum 2:1 (CAIS 2), available on DECIEM (recommended), so far I haven’t tried a better peptide serum. Another interesting option is The Ordinary Buffet (now called Multi-Peptide + HA Serum), which you can find on DECIEM (recommended), on SkinStore and on FeelUnique. Finally, if you are concerned about crow’s feet and wrinkles in the eye area, a very effective product is The Ordinary Argireline Solution 10%, available on DECIEM (recommended) and on FeelUnique.
Antioxidants are a fairly broad set of active ingredients that have a common element: they prevent oxidative damage (which I spoke about above) caused by free radicals to our skin. In this way, our antioxidant system protects DNA, lipid and protein molecules (such as collagen and elastin) from degradation, thus helping us to maintain youthful, firm and elastic skin. Although, as I indicate in my guide on antioxidants, there are a wide variety of these types of ingredients, some are especially popular, such as vitamin C.
If you want to start using antioxidants, keep in mind that, in many cases, the ideal time to incorporate them is in your morning routine, since this way you prevent the damage caused by ultraviolet radiation to the skin (but always as a complement to sunscreen, they are never an alternative to it). In addition, there are many antioxidants that act synergistically, mutually enhancing their effects, so that a correct combination of antioxidants is a great way to prevent premature aging of the skin.
Although there are countless antioxidant formulas, some of my favorites are the NIOD Superoxide Dismutase Saccharide Mist (SDSM2), available on DECIEM (recommended), the Vichy Liftactiv Specialist Peptide-C Ampoules, which you can find on SkinStore, the NIOD Ethylated L-Ascorbic 30% Network (ELAN), available on DECIEM (recommended), The Ordinary EUK-134 0.1%, available on DECIEM (recommended), on SkinStore and on FeelUnique, and The Ordinary Resveratrol 3% + Ferulic Acid 3%, available on DECIEM (recommended), on SkinStore and on FeelUnique.
Hyaluronic acid is a very common ingredient in our cosmetics and it can be very useful if we want to prevent premature aging of the skin. Today we can find it in dedicated cosmetics, in which hyaluronic acid is the main active, or as a regular part of the composition of many other products.
This ingredient helps us prevent skin aging in two ways. First of all, it is a very effective humectant, so it helps us keep the skin well hydrated by attracting water inside. We must bear in mind that, over the years, the skin tends to dehydrate to a greater extent, so by introducing an ingredient like this in our skincare routines, we help to rebalance that situation. On the other hand, hyaluronic acid is naturally present in our skin, with a mainly structural function, so that its presence helps us to maintain the firmness and elasticity that characterize young skin.
A very interesting aspect about hyaluronic acid is that it is a very innocuous ingredient, so you can easily combine it with the rest of the actives in your skincare routine (while the combinations of other ingredients can be a bit more complex ).
Here you can see a comparison of my favorite hyaluronic acid serums. Depending on whether you are looking for light, dense, inexpensive products, etc. you will be able to find a formula that suits your preferences and the needs of your skin, be sure that there is a hyaluronic acid serum for you!
As you have seen, there are ways to prevent and reduce wrinkles, although remember that the most important thing is to attend to the needs of your skin in order to quickly identify your main concerns and act to improve them. In the case of wrinkles and fine lines, a basic skincare routine is essential, as it will allow you to have a protected skin barrier and healthy skin.
Are you worried about fine lines and wrinkles? What cosmetics do you use to prevent and reduce them? Let me know in the comments section!
If you liked this article and want to continue learning how to take better care of your skin, you will surely be interested in these others:
Do you want to learn to take better care of your skin? You can see an index of all my informative posts here.
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I’m Nacho and I’m passionate about skincare. I really enjoy learning and sharing my knowledge about skincare and I read scientific papers so you don’t have to. I want to break stereotypes because I believe skincare has no gender: skin is skin.