Sunlight - The Main Cause of WrinklesWrinkles aren’t really caused by aging, but (mostly) by sunlight. What happens is that UV rays from the sun penetrate your skin and damage fibers in your skin called elastin. As the elastin weakens, your skin becomes less elastic (elastin is a pretty good name, huh?) and losing it’s ability to snap back after being stretched. The result? Wrinkles, especially in parts of your skin that get stretched and move a lot (like around your eyes, mouth and nose). So anti aging skin care products that focus on wrinkles aren’t anti aging at all, they are (or should be) anti sun damage products.
Gravity – It Ages YouAnother culprit in making you look older is gravity. As the elastin weakens through sun damage and as other changes in your skin happen due to aging (less fat and less supportive structure), gravity will pull your skin down, causing sagging.
Smoking Makes You Look OlderSome people start smoking to look older and it really works. Smoking makes you look older, lots older. Smoking directly causes wrinkles in your skin through damaging elastin by depriving skin cells of oxygen. When pictures of smokers and non-smokers who are the same age are put next to each other, the smokers are always thought to be older. The more cigarettes smoked, the older the appearance. Here are some great resources to quit smoking.
Anti Aging and Anti Wrinkle Skin Care ProductsLots (and I mean LOTS) of products are out there that claim to reduce and prevent wrinkles. Most of them don’t work and most of the claims haven’t been scientifically established. Typically, the label will have some complex pseudo-scientific jargon about antioxidants, nutrients and other things that supposedly make your skin look younger. These claims are almost entirely untrue (although some preliminary research shows potential in special formulations that are not yet available over the counter).
According to the NIH (National Institutes of Health) and the American Academy of Dermatology, most over-the-counter anti aging skin care products that target wrinkles merely soothe dry skin. This means they feel very nice going on, but do not reduce those wrinkles at all.
Tretinoin Cream – Best Anti Aging Skin Care Product?Tretinoin cream (Renova) is created from vitamin A and available with a prescription to treat sun damage and wrinkles as well as age spots and roughness by stimulating the skin to produce collagen (a substance that gives the skin structure). This cream is usually prescribed for people who have sun damage even after taking normal precautions to limit their exposure to UV rays. There are over-the-counter versions of various vitamin A-based anti aging skin care products. These have not been evaluated extensively and certainly do not work as well as the prescription versions.
Lasers for Reversing Sun Damage and Erasing WrinklesCarbon dioxide and erbium lasers have also been approved to treat sun damage and wrinkles. Use of these lasers is considered minor surgery and is done under anesthesia. This is an expensive process and is used in extreme cases.
Alpha Hydroxy Acids for Wrinkle and Sun Damage RemovalSome studies hint that alpha hydroxyl acids can help eliminate the signs of aging such as wrinkles, age spots and sun damage. The trick is that when a person uses alpha hydroxyl acids, they become more sensitive to UV light and risk even more sun damage. People using alpha hydroxyl acid are told to minimize their exposure to sunlight through using sunscreen and avoiding the sun. The long-term effects of this treatment are unknown.
Bottom Line: Protect Against The SunYour simple sunscreen is the best anti aging skin care product out there. Use it well. These other techniques and products are for extreme cases. If you are interested in them, talk to a qualified dermatologist (find a dermatologist), but be cautious. These treatments are expensive and not often covered by insurance.
Must Read: Anti Aging Skin Care Products
Source: National Institute on Aging. National Institutes of Health. Age Page: Skin Care and Aging.
National Institute on Aging. National Institutes of Health. Age Page: Skin Care and Aging.