Wrinkles. Some women call them badges of honor, while others think they're just plain annoying.
But how do wrinkles form? What foods are key in wrinkle prevention? And what kinds of anti-aging skin creams and skin care products can help treat wrinkles?
Causes of Wrinkles
There are many factors that contribute to the development of wrinkles.
Free radicals are molecules that lead to the degeneration of collagen, a protein found in the skin that keeps it elastic and healthy-looking. Free radicals are found in the UV radiation in sunlight, smoking and air pollution.
Changes in hormones also produce changes in the skin. Menopause and decreased estrogen production can affect the skin's elasticity and also cause fine lines.
Muscle use, including everyday expressions like frowning and smiling, also leads to wrinkles while the effects of gravity loosen the skin, causing it to sag.
How Wrinkles Form
As we age, the cells in the epidermis (the outer layer of the skin that protects us from the elements) become increasingly thin and decreasingly sticky. As a result, our aging skin becomes thinner and drier; cells divide more slowly, meaning that the natural repairing mechanisms in the skin work less quickly.
Changes also occur in the dermis, the second layer of the skin, where the connective tissue is found. The connective tissue controls the strength and elasticity of the skin, as well as the proteins found in it.
In our aging skin, the dermis becomes thinner and collagen production is decreased. Elastin fibers decline, leading to decreased elasticity.
Foods that are high in antioxidants help counteract a decrease in collagen, elasticity and firmness in aging skin.
Tomatoes are an excellent wrinkle prevention food because they contain lycopene, a substance that also decreases the risk of developing cancer. Red peppers have loads of Vitamin A and Vitamin E, as well as bioflavonoids, which moisturize and heal the skin. Beets and carrots (and other red and dark orange vegetables) are also great foods to consume if you want to prevent wrinkles.
Also rich in antioxidants, kale also contains iron that helps bring oxygen to the skin and vitamin A that wards off premature aging. Blueberries are another excellent source of antioxidants.
Salmon contains a high amount of omega-3 fatty acids that reduces inflammation and lubricates the skin.
It's also important not to smoke and to drink four to six glasses of water a day in order to keep your skin looking young and wrinkle free.
Proper skin care is central to in the prevention of lines and wrinkles.
UVA and UVB exposure causes 90% of all symptoms of premature skin aging, including wrinkles.
While sunscreen is a woman's best weapon against developing wrinkles, most women don't apply enough, apply it frequently enough or use a high enough level of UV protection.
Most people apply only 25 to 30% of the recommended amount of sunscreen. Sunscreen should be applied liberally, and should cover all parts of the body, including ears, hands and feet.
Sunscreen should be applied every two to four hours. Experts recommend using sunscreen with protection against UVA and UVB exposure and with a minimum SPF of 15. Look for a sunscreen that also contains zinc oxide, avobenzone or titanium dioxide to help keep your skin wrinkle free.
If you already have wrinkles, then anti-wrinkle creams are a good option.
Retin A is used in a lot of anti-aging skin creams and helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and other wrinkles.
Alpha hydroxy acids, often found in chemical peels, which are derived from fruit and milk sugars, exfoliate the skin and promote new cell growth in the epidermis. The most popular alpha hydroxyl acids are glycolic and lactic acid.
If you're looking for a more drastic wrinkle removal procedure, Botox injections help relax the muscles and reduce the appearance of fine lines, including laugh lines and crows feet. The effects of Botox last from three to six months.
Collagen injections improve the elasticity of the skin and also minimize the appearance of wrinkles; their effects last approximately three to four months.