18 Things You Must Do To Prevent Wrinkles And Premature Skin Aging

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Unlike good wine, the quality of our skin does not increase with age. It loses moisture, elasticity, and resiliency, leading to fine lines, wrinkles, and sagginess as the clock ticks by. In fact, there are two types of aging. First, intrinsic aging is genetically programmed, and you can’t do much about it without the help of a plastic surgeon. The second — extrinsic aging — is the result of environmental factors that speed up skin aging, and the major culprit in this equation is the sun, which is responsible for about 80% of facial wrinkles.[1] Bust rest assured. In this post, we explain anything and everything you can do to help avoid premature skin aging, from lifestyle changes to skincare and tech-y devices.

How to prevent premature skin aging

Quite a few habits influence how your skin ages, and here are the most important lifestyle changes you can do to help prevent early skin aging.

back sleeping prevent wrinkles

Sleep on your back

Did you know something as simple as your sleep position could be a cause of premature aging signs? Sleeping on one side or on the stomach, with the face smashed into the pillow, is more likely to cause wrinkles, while sleeping on your back eliminates this potential risk and also allows the fluids in your skin to drain properly, preventing puffy eyes.[2][3]

Although back sleeping is highly recommended to counteract possible wrinkles, it’s difficult to stick to it as we can not control the body and movements while we are asleep. But for that, special pillows designed to minimize the appearance of wrinkles during sleep exist — like Beauty Pillow.

Wear sunglasses to combat aging

Wear sunglasses

The undereye area is the first to show wrinkles because the skin there is thinner and more fragile than the rest of the face. Fortunately, we can thwart early-onset eye aging with simply earing sunglaesses.

Because the sun degrades collagen and elastin, leading to crow’s feet and puffiness, you want to stay defended against possible damage by wearing sunglasses, especially in sunny weather that makes you squint (squinting can deepen wrinkles over time). However, remember that UV rays aren’t blocked by typical glass, so to really prevent sun damage, opt for lenses that have built-in UV protection.[4]

anti-aging habbits

Keep it on fire

A new study conducted by the University of California in San Francisco revealed that having sex at least once a week slows aging in women. The researchers monitored the sexual habits of 129 women in a relationship over one week. They found that those who had sex at least once during that week had significantly longer telomeres.[5] Telomeres are regions at the end of the DNA strands that protect chromosomes from deteriorating, and the longer they are, the slower the aging process, the longer the cell lifespan, and the better overall health.[6]

what to do to prevent wrinkles

Watch your frowning

Fowning and laughing, squinting as well as any other repeated facial expression, lead to the apparition of wrinkles, called expressional wrinkles.[3] The conclusion is not that you shouldn’t express emotions with your face, but try to be aware of how often you do it, especially frowning.

stop smoking

Quit smoking

Smokers’ wrinkles have several distinctive features: they appear early and spread over a larger area (especially around the lips) deepen with age, and often have a brown appearance. Smoking tobacco imparts the production of collagen and elastin while also causing free radicals, the culprits that damage skin proteins and induce oxidative stress.[7]

sun speed the aging process

Apply sunscreen all year round

Today’s tan leads to tomorrow’s wrinkles. Excessive exposure to UV radiation increases the chances of premature wrinkles, so wearing sunscreen every day should be top of mind.[8] Consider a sunscreen with at least 30 SPF that protects against both UVA and UVB rays — called broad-spectrum sunscreens — and reapply it every two hours for the pinnacle of protection.

Avoid tanning beds

Avoid tanning beds

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, indoor tanning has been associated with a significant increase in wrinkles and the risk of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.[9] Twenty minutes on a tanning bed is equivalent to a whole day spent on the beach without sunscreen. Avoid artificial tanning methods for the sake of the future appearance of your skin. Instead, you can use self-tanning lotion, like Beauty by Earth Self Tanner Tanning Lotion, which everybody raves about.

wear a hat to combat aging

Wear a hat

Whether you’re at the beach or out in the midday sun, consider wearing a 10cm wide-brimmed hat to prevent the sun from reaching your face and neck. Don’t rely on baseball caps or unpaired straw hats with rare braids as they let the sun’s rays penetrate and damage your skin. 

avoid sun exposure

Do not expose yourself to the midday sun

This advice refers to the interval 10 AM-4 PM in the summer and between noon and 2 PM in the rest of the year. During this period, ultraviolet radiation is the strongest, so it’s more likely to weaken proteins in the skin, leading to dehydration, fine lines and wrinkles the American Skin Association agrees.[11]

Stay in the shade

Because wrinkles occur as a result of excessive sun exposure, on hot days, withdraw from time to time to a shady place. At the beach or in the garden, sit under a large umbrella. If you go for a walk or on a boat, wear clothing made of compact fabrics that prevent UV rays from reaching your skin.

keep a constant weight

Keep a constant weight

If you go through weight fluctuations, the skin will dilate to make room for excess body weight. Even worse, it is possible the skin won’t return to its original state after a weight loss regimen. As an experiment shows, massive weight fluctuations make the skin much weaker and less resistant and highly destroy collagen and elastic fiber networks.[12]

Diligent skincare routine

You know the drill, cleanse, tone, apply eye cream, treat, moisturize, use sunscreen daily, and exfoliate once a week. In your anti-aging routine, you need products that contain antioxidants, like vitamin C and resveratrol, because these are able to neutralize free radicals that weaken protein fibers and induce wrinkles and dark spots apparition. Collagen boosters like vitamin C, peptides, glycolic acid, and retinol should also be on your radar to preserve your smooth, plump skin.

A 2020 study adds weight to the fact that having a complex 6-step skincare routine consisting of a cleanser, toner, serum, eye cream, and day and night cream, does better on every aspect (hydration, roughness, plumpness, firmness) than a simple routine that includes only cleansing and moisturizing.[13] So it goes without saying: a diligent skincare routine is one of the best things you can do to turn on your skin’s defense against aging and delay the apparition of wrinkles.

Use hydrating products

If you have dehydrated skin (which makes aging signs appear more noticeable), using a moisturizer twice a day will slightly plump the skin, temporarily softening fine lines and wrinkles. This is not a long-term solution, but in the short term, it makes your skin look healthier. Make sure your moisturizer includes humectants and occlusives to add water and retain water in the skin (such as hyaluronic acid and squalane).

Exfoliate

Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) work by removing dead cells from the skin’s surface, exposing young cells underneath to sight, and sloughing off old, dead cells. More than that, AHAs spur collagen growth and act like humectants, meaning they pull water into the skin, both leading to less noticeable fine lines and wrinkles. The most potent AHA is glycolic acid and can be found in a plethora of products, from toners, serums or creams with glycolic acid, yet is the most potent when used in a peel as that’s more likely to feature a higher concentration of the acid. If you want a milder alternative, you can opt for a lactic acid peel — due to the larger molecular size, lactic acid acts more on the skin’s surface, making it work more gently.

foods with omega 3

Increase your intake of omega-3s

Two changes in eating habits are likely to keep your skin moist. Consume at least twice a week fatty fish such as salmon, trout, mackerel, and fresh tuna (not canned, as the preservation process removes most of the beneficial oils), rich in omega-3 fatty acids.[14] Likewise, you can add a few drops of hemp seed oil or flaxseed oil, which are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, to fruit juices and salad dressings, to help increase skin moisture retention. If you want to increase the production of collagen in your body with foods, introduce these superfoods into your diet.

Stay hydrated

Stay hydrated

Make sure you drink about eight glasses of water per day to prevent skin dehydration. Drinking enough water helps your digestive system to flush out toxins from the body and helps nutrients reach the skin.[15] In turn, this improves your complexion, helps it stay supple, and can make it glow.

avoid stress

Reduce stress

Try to cut down on anything that stresses you out because that’s definitely causing your wrinkles. How? When you stress out a lot, your brain produces high amounts of cortisol, the stress hormone that breaks down collagen and elastin in the skin.[16] Moreover, as a result of stress, you may tend to frown more and make all kinds of grimaces that cause wrinkles in the long term. Maybe start exercising, practice yoga, or meditate.

sleep cycle
Source: Dermalogica

Get enough sleep

During sleep, the skin is in its repairing state and works to reverse the damage that occurs during the day. Besides, the blood flow increases and the cells produce new collagen while you Zzz. So getting enough bedtime comes with plenty of benefits for the whole body. On the flip side, sleep deprivation can weaken the skin and is more likely to induce premature wrinkling over time.[17] A 2015 study found that the lack of sleep often exacerbates aging signs and weakens the barrier.[18] The results showed that good sleepers had 30% better skin recovery than poor sleepers, while poor sleepers had a major increase in water loss.

This is why it’s important to stick to a sleep schedule and ensure you get your 7-9 hours of quality sleep every night to keep aging signs at bay. FYI, the skin regenerates the most between 9 PM and midnight.


Sources

Women’s Concepts uses reliable sources, including dermatologists’ insights, clinical trials, and scientific journals, to find accurate information and support all the facts shared in our articles. All statements and claims have clear and legit references. Read our editorial policy to learn more about our sources of information, our process of researching and fact-checking the content, and how our team strives to keep all articles updated, completed, and trustworthy.

References
  1. Flament F, Bazin R, Laquieze S, Rubert V, Simonpietri E, Piot B. Effect of the sun on visible clinical signs of aging in Caucasian skin. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 2013 Sep 27.
  2. Poljsak B, Godic A, Lampe T, Dahmane R. The influence of the sleeping on the formation of facial wrinkles. J Cosmet Laser Ther. 2012 Jun.
  3. Goesel Anson, MD, FACS, Michael A.C. Kane, MD, Val Lambros, MD, FACS, Sleep Wrinkles: Facial Aging and Facial Distortion During SleepAesthetic Surgery Journal, Volume 36, Issue 8, September 2016.
  4. Specialist In Radiation Protection, Ultraviolet Radiation, 3 September 2017.
  5. Cabeza de Baca T, Epel ES, Robles TF, Coccia M, Gilbert A, Puterman E, Prather AA. Sexual intimacy in couples is associated with longer telomere length. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2017 Jul.
  6. Shammas MA. Telomeres, lifestyle, cancer, and aging. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2011 Jan.
  7. Morita A. Tobacco smoke causes premature skin aging. J Dermatol Sci. 2007 Dec.
  8. Shanbhag S, Nayak A, Narayan R, Nayak UY. Anti-aging and Sunscreens: Paradigm Shift in Cosmetics. Adv Pharm Bull. 2019 Aug.
  9. American Academy of Dermatology, Indoor Tanning
  10. Sivamani RK, Crane LA, Dellavalle RP. The benefits and risks of ultraviolet tanning and its alternatives: the role of prudent sun exposure. Dermatol Clin. 2009 Apr.
  11. American Skin Association, Sun Safety
  12. Sami K, Elshahat A, Moussa M, Abbas A, Mahmoud A. Image analyzer study of the skin in patients with morbid obesity and massive weight loss. Eplasty. 2015 Jan 23.
  13. Cosmetic and Toiletries, Advanced vs Simple Skincare Routine For Skin Hydration And Radiance.
  14. Oregon State University, Essential Fatty Acids and Skin Health
  15. Palma L, Marques LT, Bujan J, Rodrigues LM. Dietary water affects human skin hydration and biomechanics. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 2015 Aug 3.
  16. Chen Y, Lyga J. Brain-skin connection: stress, inflammation and skin aging. Inflamm Allergy Drug Targets.
  17. Carroll JE, Cole SW, Seeman TE, Breen EC, Witarama T, Arevalo JMG, Ma J, Irwin MR. Partial sleep deprivation activates the DNA damage response (DDR) and the senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP) in aged adult humans. Brain Behav Immun. 2016 Jan.
  18. Oyetakin-White P, Suggs A, Koo B, Matsui MS, Yarosh D, Cooper KD, Baron ED. Does poor sleep quality affect skin ageing? Clin Exp Dermatol. 2015 Jan.
Who wrote this?
Ana Vasilescu
Ana Vasilescu
Ana is a sociologist and feminist with a shared passion for literature, psychology, and skincare, the combo that made her determined to start Women's Concepts. With over five years of experience in dermatological research, she has now become a certified skincare consultant keen to convince others of the importance of a diligent routine. Her close relationships with dermatologists around the globe, along with years of researching, analyzing studies, and hand-testing products on a daily basis, made Ana one of the best persons you can get advice from.
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