Prevent & Reduce Wrinkles ~ Tips For Every Age

I get a lot of questions from younger people asking what they should be doing now to avoid wrinkles down the road. I sure wish this information was available when I was 20, and that someone had told me how to avoid damaging my skin. . . I may have actually listened. I’m glad I did some research and found out what I could do to help my skin even though I started relatively late, but now that I know, I want to pass the information on. So, here are what I believe are the things anyone can do to prevent and reduce wrinkles at every age.

Retin A 9 Mo Thumb

51 Year Old Sun Damaged Skin with the Help of Retin-a, Vitamin C, and Glycolic Acid

When I was young I didn’t think I’d care how my skin looked when I was old, but boy was I wrong! I spent a lot of time worshiping the sun, getting burned and then getting tanned. Now that I’m 51 I’m paying for all that sun exposure with skin that’s wrinkled, sagging, and has age spots, and I don’t like it! Getting old really does suck, and watching your face deteriorate year by year is no fun either. In my effort to reverse some of my skin damage I’ve spent thousands on Botox, Juvederm, IPL treatments, liquid nitrogen treatments, and a whole host of topical creams and serums. If that doesn’t sound like fun to you, then keep reading, because if you could avoid all that with simple, inexpensive changes to your routine, wouldn’t you do it?

1. Avoid Sun Exposure

We now know that sun exposure causes not only photo-aging (wrinkles, age spots, sagging skin), but skin cancer as well. A simple way to avoid sun exposure is to wear spf every day. When I was a teen the highest spf available was a four. That’s right… 4! It was for tanning, not for protection, and it let all the damaging UVA and UVB radiation right through! Now most moisturizers come with at least an spf 15 built in, so everyone over the age of 20 should apply an spf lotion of at least 15 daily to protect against casual exposure (30 if it’s sunny where you live).

CeraVe AM

A good quality daily moisturizer with spf 30. Contains sunscreen, niacinamide, ceramides, and hyaluronic acid.

When I spend longer periods of time in the sun like when going to the beach, a concert, or exercising, I bump up to a 50 or 70 and re-apply every few hours. I stopped baking in the sun when I was 35 and first heard about the effects of the sun, but I still go to the beach, garden, bike etc. Now I wear sunscreen, and a hat, and at the beach I face away from the sun so my face, neck, & chest are in the shade.

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer 70

A lightweight facial sunscreen with spf 70. Works well under makeup.

2. Reduce Free Radical Damage

Not only do we know that UVA & UVB rays damage skin, we know how they do it. Exposure to sunlight,cigarette smoke and every day pollutants cause skin cells to oxidize releasing “free radicals” which damage other cells DNA and destroy the scaffolding that holds skin up and makes it full and supple. Anti-oxidants like Vitamin C capture the free-radicals and neutralize them. We get most of our antioxidants through food, so a healthy diet high in vitamins A, C and E is important, but we can also use the antioxidant power of Vitamin C topically to further protect skin from sun damage.

TimeLess Vit C

My favorite Vitamin C serum. Contains vitamin E, ferulic acid, and hyaluronic acid… all for $25!

Vitamin C serums come in all price ranges and a few delivery methods from powder to cream to serum. It can be used either at night or in the morning, and once absorbed into the skin, it can’t be washed off. It works deep in the skin to help build more collagen, reduce free-radical damage, repair previous sun damage, and protect from new sun damage. On the surface it brightens the complexion and fades dark spots.

PC C15 Bottle

Another good fairly inexpensive vitamin C serum from Paula’s Choice.

3. Exfoliate

Alpha Hydroxy Acid (or glycol acid) and Beta Hydroxy Acid (or salicylic acid) are chemical exfoliants. They help to remove the layer of dead skin cells that sit on the surface or in the pores and make skin dull and acne prone. If you’re prone to acne or occasional breakouts, then salicylic acid is a good choice, but if you’re in your 30s and you want to start fighting collagen loss, you could add in a light glycolic acid cream or serum. They come in concentrations from 2% up to 20%. I consider 12-20% to be more of a peel that would be done once a week, but a 2-10% cream can be used daily to increase cell turnover.

PC Skin Perf BHA

Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Serum

4. Fight Collagen Loss

Sunshine isn’t the only thing that causes our skin to wrinkle. After the age of 30 our bodies make 1% less collagen per year. That’s usually when the first tiny wrinkles start to appear. There are a handful of topical products that have been proven to help with collagen production. Those are Vitamin C, Glycolic Acid and Vitamin A (or retinoids). Retinoids include both over the counter retinol products and prescription retin-a products. Used over the long term, retinol can be effective in collagen generation without the irritation of a prescription retin-a. So adding in a retinol cream or serum in your 30s can be effective.

Anti-Aging Actives

The Triple-Threat of Anti-Aging! Glycolic Acid, Vitamin C, & Tretinoin (Retin-A)

Vitamin C, Glycolic Acid, and Retinoids all cause more sun sensitivity, so when you add those into your routine, you really need to bump up your sun protection to a 30 every day.

5. Lifestyle Tips to Prevent & Reduce Wrinkles:

Sleep on Your Back ~ Sleeping on your side is like ironing wrinkles into your face and chest and they will become permanent over time, so train yourself while you’re young and sleep comes easily.

Wear Sunglasses ~ UVA and UVB rays damage our eyes too causing macular degeneration and cataracts over time. Squinting also causes wrinkles from repetitive motion, so sunglasses can help as can getting prescription glasses when needed.

Don’t Smoke ~ Cigarette smoke deprives the skin of oxygen while releasing free-radicals, a double whammy of wrinkle producers.

Exercise ~ Regular exercise gets oxygen rich blood to the surface of the skin so it stays younger looking longer.

Eat Right ~ Most of the antioxidants our bodies need to build collagen are found in foods like salmon, nuts, leafy greens, yogurt, and fruits.

Skincare for People in their 20s:

Remove makeup at night & wash face once or twice a day

Apply moisturizer with sunscreen in the morning

Optional: Vitamin C serum every 3rd night

Skincare for People in their 30s:

Remove makeup at night & wash face once or twice a day

Apply vitamin C serum, and then moisturizer with sunscreen in the morning

Optional: Add in glycolic acid or retinol cream at night or both on alternating nights

Skincare for People in their 40s & Beyond:

Remove makeup at night & wash face once or twice a day

Apply vitamin C serum, and then moisturizer with sunscreen in the morning

Optional: Add in glycolic acid or retinol cream at night or both on alternating nights or

bump up to prescription retin-a.

Of course, this is all just my opinion. You may look at this and think. . .  that’s waaayyy too complicated, and that’s fine. But if you take only one piece of information away, I hope it’s to protect your skin from the sun and use sunscreen every day!

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