As you get up there in years, several problems are going to crop up and one of them is wrinkles. They can show up around your eyes, forehead, cheeks, and neck.
Maybe you cannot stop time from marching on, but you can reduce the signs of the aging process and look better than ever.
According to specialists in dermatology, you don’t have to pay a fortune for great anti-aging skincare. Go for products you can afford and understand.
There’s enormous confusion about skincare, and some outrageous prices being charged for creams that lack vital ingredients, such as sunscreens and this is no good at all.
The big question is, will any cream ever erase lines as well as Botox? Dermatologists say there’s no such thing as a miracle in a jar.
However, cosmeceuticals – cosmetics that have advanced medical-like effects – do contain active ingredients that can make a significant difference to your skin, and can help lay a good foundation for your beauty future.
According to dermatology experts, if you’re worried about wrinkles you need to get serious about skincare, uses the right creams for you and, crucially, give them time to work.
A slapdash approach means you’re wasting your time. Lines and wrinkles can only be lessened by the conscientious care and daily ritual. Another classic mistake is slathering skin care products on thickly. Don’t overdo it.
A pea-size blob of cream may be enough for your face without clogging pores. Be prepared to experiment with new formulas as your skin changes.
What Makes the Skin Wrinkle?
Your skin is divided into three layers. The deepest is a layer of subcutaneous tissue, to which the whole skin structure is attached.
The middle layer is the dermis, where cells called fibroblasts to produce collagen fibers – supporting proteins that help to keep skin plump and elastic. Above this lies the top layer, or epidermis.
Here, mast cells divide gradually and migrate upwards towards the skin’s surface.
These are surrounded by natural compounds called epidermal lipids (or fats), including ceramide, which forms a ‘glue’ that hold cells tightly in place, like cement in the brick wall.
As a person ages, the skin undergoes significant changes. The inner layer of the skin begins to thin and the cells begin to divide more slowly. Fat cells begin to lessen or die beneath the dermis.
The network of collagen fibers and elastin which provide a sort of scaffolding for the surface layer begin to loosen and unravel. The skin then loses its elasticity. It tends to droop and forms furrows.
The collagen bundles in the dermis work like springs in a mattress to support the skin’s surface.
But when collagen is damaged, troughs open up between the bundles, the upper layers of tissue collapse into these troughs, and lines, wrinkles or folds can develop.
By the time you see a wrinkle. The underlying skin has already lost collagen and elastin – its ‘snap-back’ factor.
The oil secreting and sweat glands atrophy and the skin cannot retain its moisture. Therefore, it becomes dry and scaly. Constant facial expressions form characteristic lines.
Gravity makes the situation worse and contributes to the formation of drooping eyelids and jowls.
Also, eyebrows tend to move up as someone ages perhaps because of forehead wrinkles and the skin has less of an ability to repair itself so wounds heal more slowly.
Collagen is damaged, by various factors. Some are inevitable (such as aging), and some can be lessened, if not prevented.
What are the main culprits and what can you do about it?
CAUSE: The environment
EFFECT: Brow and eye creases, fine lines fanning over cheekbones, rings and crisscrosses at the back of the neck
New research by The British Skin Foundation found that 80 percent of us don’t always use a sunscreen abroad. Sun damages DNA so cells can’t replicate properly.
If that cell blueprint is changed in any way, it can lead to blotchy skin, lines and wrinkles. At the same time, UV boosts enzymes known as MMPs, which help to tidy up old collagen but can become so aggressive that they destroy fresh collagen, too.
Smoking in the sun is especially bad news. Even second-hand smoke is harmful to the skin.
Exhaled smoke contains significant levels of nicotine, tar, nitric oxide and carbon monoxide, which disrupt and weaken the skin’s barrier, leading to collagen breakdown.
Smoking causes the thickening and fragmentation of elastin, blood vessels to constrict, which limits the amount of oxygen reaching the skin.
This lack of oxygen reduces collagen and elastin production and reduced water content in the skin.
Smoking stimulates the MMPs to degrade collagen – just like the sun does. Lastly, smoking compromises the ability of the skin to fend off free radicals causing cell destruction.
CAUSE: Facial expressions, stress
EFFECT: Frown lines, crow’s feet, smile lines
Expression lines equal character. Even Hollywood directors have started to complain that Botox has robbed some star’s faces of real emotion.
While channeling the angst may help divas to win an Oscar, it doesn’t do their skin any real-life favors.
Stress triggers corrosive hormones including ‘killer’ cortisol that not only hamper immunity but also increase moisture loss, leaving skin drier and more line-prone.
Clenched muscles in the neck, shoulders, and jaw – where so many of us hold our stress- limits blood and oxygen supply to the skin on our faces. But a furrowed brow is the most obvious sign of stress.
Constant pleating of the skin through frowning causes micro-tears (minute stress tears). The knock-on effect is inflammation, which damages collagen, making skin appear less plump.
Not only expression lines are stress-driven, however. Whenever skin is constantly mobile – such as around the eyes and mouth – creases are inevitable.
So what about damage limitation? Invest in sunglasses. Wrap-around frames with wide sides provide excellent UV protection, and can save a fortune in Botox!
EFFECT: Creepy skin, deeper eye creases, nose-to-mouth lines, marionette (mouth to chin) lines, lip lines, neck rings
Great skin is in your genes but even if you are one of the lucky ones, don’t take it for granted. After all, hereditary aging may only account for 20 percent of total skin aging.
This intensifies from our mid-thirties when protein levels in our skin begin to decline by a steady one percent each year.
Later, the estrogen slump after the menopause more than doubles the rate at which protein declines. There’s a staggering 30% loss of collagen proteins in the first five years, resulting in a two percent loss of skin thickness.
As well losing collagen, skin also loses plumpness because cell division slows with age. This is because stem cells are no longer able to divide and replicate accurately and become dormant.
New research shows that one of the latest hi-tech ingredients in skin creams – polypeptides – mimic growth factors in skin to wake up dormant stem cells and encourage fibroblasts to make more collagen.
Although results look promising in the test tube, the use of growth factor peptides in anti-ageing creams remains controversial.
In the meantime, retinoid-derived from vitamin A is still the only ingredient clinically proven to boost both collagen and moisturizing hyaluronic acid.
This was confirmed by research at the University of Michigan Medical School earlier this year. Some peptides can help smooth fine surface lines within a couple of weeks.
But you need retinoid for long-term cell growth and real anti-ageing benefits.
Like vitamin C, you also need to use them around the clock for up to two months before you see results, but it’s worth the wait.
There are other forces at play that can make your skin suffer, such as:
Rapid weight loss – This can cause fine lines since it reduces the volume of fat cells which cushion the face. This will cause the skin to sag.
Heredity – You may have inherited some skin characteristics from your parents.
Wrinkles are the most noticeable signs of aging. As tissues sag, these lines form a type of canvas that is covered with cracks that have varying depths.
As time marches on, they deepen and reach the dermis. As the dermis loses its elasticity, it becomes slack which leads to the formation of more pronounced wrinkles over 0.05 mm in depth.
Here is the normal progression of wrinkles characterized by age group:
20-25 – Vertical wrinkles on one’s forehead and even between the eyebrows may already be visible. Fine lines at the external edges of the eyes are not yet noticeable.
25-40 – In the epidermis, wrinkles begin to deepen. They are less than 0.0005 mm in depth. They are caused by the superficial drying out of one’s skin as well as the slowing down of cellular renewal.
40-50 – Fine lines around the lips, crow’s feet, furrows along the side of the nose and the line between the eyebrows are all beginning to deepen. The skin loses it elasticity and the facial contours are not less well defined.
50 and over – Hormonal secretions end as menopause appears and this speeds up the aging process. The skin’s surface begins to modify and intermediary lines are replaced by ever-deepening furrows.
The older you become, the more wrinkles you get. You can minimize this damage by taking good care of your skin.
Knowing the causes of wrinkles would help you prepare and avoid them. Being aware and informed assist you in many ways to combat the upcoming emergence of wrinkles.
But in the end, the best way to prepare is the acceptance that age comes and all you have to do is do the best you can to age with grace and age with meaning as you look back on your achievements and contributions to the humanity.