top 8 tips to slow down the appearance of wrinkles

Wrinkles. We all get them. They’re a natural part of life and aging and something, I believe, we shouldn’t be ashamed of. They add character and definition to an aging face and are evidence of a life well-lived.

In saying that… I don’t want to sport too many wrinkles too soon so whilst I’m all supportive of aging naturally and gracefully, I also don’t want to age too fast.

Thankfully there are some simple steps you can take that will slow down the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Tip 1: Protect Your Skin from the Sun

Slap on sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15, approximately 30 minutes before you go outside. And do this all year round, not just in the summer months. Whilst the sun may be higher and stronger in the summer months and more of our skin is exposed to it because we shed our clothes, it is every bit as important to slap on the sunscreen during the cold winter months too, especially if your skin is exposed to the glare and reflection of snow.

Also protect the thinner and more delicate skin round your eyes from the sun and its UV rays by wearing sunglasses. Again in both the summer and winter months, especially if you’re up in the snow-capped mountains.

And, finally, avoid sunbeds. Whilst you may not be exposing your skin to the sun’s rays in a tanning studio, you’re still exposing it to UV radiation which may be even worse than that of the sun.

Tip 2: Eat a Healthy Diet

It is recommended that we each eat at least 10 portions of fruit and vegetables every day to attain enough nutrients, minerals and vitamins. You may often have heard that we should also eat a rainbow of fruit and vegetables each day. This just isn’t to entertain our eyes and make the varied food we eat more appealing. Each differently-coloured food attracts a different quality. For example, blue/purple foods are high in anti-oxidants which fight the free radicals (oxidants) that can age and damage our skin.

Additionally it is important to include essential fatty acids, such as Omega-3, into your diet. Good examples of food high in essential fatty acids include almonds, extra virgin olive oil, salmon, and eggs. Not only do these healthy fats reduce fine lines and wrinkles, but they also reduce clogged pores and the production of inflammation.

The right foods have a fabulous ability to slow down the aging process as they are packed full of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that help your skin stay plump, healthy and hydrated, thus reducing the appearance of wrinkles.

Tip 3: Avoid Processed Foods and Sugars

Processed food and sugars can cause inflammation in your body which can lead to an increase in fine lines and wrinkles, thus causing you to age faster.

Additionally, processed foods tend to be high in salt which is particularly bad for your skin as it causes your tissues to swell making your skin look puffy and unhealthy, and it can irritate and worsen acne.

Sugars are one of the most aging ingredients we eat. Too much sugar not only speeds up your body’s production of wrinkles but it also leaves your skin looking dull and lacklustre. This is because it damages the collagen and elastin in your skin which keep your skin plump and looking youthful.

Tip 4: Avoid Environmental Pollutants

Unless you live in Utopia where there are no pollutants, you’ll struggle to avoid the many environmental pollutants that our skin is exposed to daily, such as car fumes, smoke, dust.

A study published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, which spanned 24 years compared the skin of women living in rural areas compared to those who lived in the city. The study found that those who lived in the city and were more exposed to pollution showed increased dark spots on their skin as well as wrinkling.

The microscopic specks of pollution don’t just sit on your skin, they penetrate into the deeper layers of the epidermis to cause inflammation, dehydration, and loss of elasticity and firmness.

To keep the effect of pollutants to a minimum on our skin, be sure to cleanse your skin after exposure to pollution, up your intake of anti-oxidants which fight free radicals and pollutants, and wear sunscreen to create a protective barrier for your skin.

Tip 5: Don’t Smoke and Avoid Second-Hand Smoke

The detrimental effects of smoking on our body are well publicised and scientific research over the last few decades has proven that smoking is simply dangerous to our overall health and well-being. We are all too well aware nowadays that smoking can cause many internal cancers such as lung cancer.

It also has a negative on our skin. Not only does it age our skin faster by increasing the number of free radicals in your body (one of the primary contributors of aging) and creating wrinkles, especially noticeable around the mouth, but scientific research has also recently proved that it can cause skin cancer too.

A study showed that smokers are three times more likely to develop skin cancer than non-smokers, even if they only smoke a few cigarettes a day. It is suspected that smokers’ increased risk to skin cancer is attributable to tobacco’s harmful effect on the immune system. People with damaged or suppressed immune systems are more likely to develop skin cancers than those with healthy immune systems.

And even if you, yourself, don’t smoke, your skin could still be harmed by second-hand smoke. The components of second-hand smoke are much more concentrated than those of first-hand smoke which means that even if you are not directly inhaling the smoke, it could still negatively impact your body and skin.

Tip 6: Exercise Regularly

Research published in the Preventative Medicine journal in April 2017 reviewed findings on data taken from over 5,000 people between 1999 and 2002. Prof. Larry Tucker, exercise science professor at Brigham Young University, concluded that there were significant differences between people who did regular exercise and those who did not.

Indeed he concluded that adults with a high level of exercise had a ‘biological aging advantage’ of a staggering 9 years compared to adults who followed a more sedentary lifestyle.

Exercise is known to reduce inflammation and stress levels, both of which increase the signs of aging.

Tip 7: Get Enough Sleep

Getting a good night’s sleep is important for our overall health and well-being, and it also has a big impact on our skin.

A good night’s sleep can mean good skin health because the amount of cortisol (stress hormone) released into your body is kept to a minimum. When you’re sleep-deprived, your body creates more of this hormone, elevated levels of which can lead to increased stress and inflammation in the body which negatively impact your skin.

After a good night’s sleep you’ll have brighter, less puffy eyes with no dark circles under your eyes, your skin will have had a chance to repair itself while you slept and you’ll have fewer wrinkles, your complexion will be glowing and healthy, you’ll have a lower tendency to have immune-related skin conditions (eg eczema) flare up, your overall appearance (including your hair) will be healthier and happier, your skincare products will work better, and you could avoid gaining weight.

Tip 8: Avoid Stress

The daily stress we experience in our life is the modern-day equivalent of our body going into prolonged fight or flight mode. When our body goes into flight or flight mode, one thing that happens is that it releases the stress hormone, cortisol.

When cortisol remains high for a prolonged period of time it encourages a process known as glycation to take place. This is a stress effect on the skin which damages collagen (needed to keep skin plump and healthy) and increases the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Prolonged increased levels of cortisol will also cause a decrease in the hormone dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) which is also referred to as the anti-aging hormone. When we are young our levels of DHEA are high but as we begin to enter our 20’s (and older) our levels of DHEA start to diminish. So as we age we want to encourage our DHEA to remain as high as naturally possible for as long as possible.