Preventing, managing and embracing your wrinkles

Wrinkles are a natural part of the aging process, but are there tricks or treatments that can help you look younger longer?

  • There are many lifestyle changes you can make to help prevent and reduce wrinkles as you age.
  • Wrinkle treatment options can be as easy as a daily wrinkle cream or involve in-office procedures done by a doctor or dermatologist.

        

[4 MIN READ]

There are many things you may be doing to feel younger as you age. Maybe you stay active at a local gym and maintain a healthy, balanced diet. Perhaps you like to spend some extra time with your grandkids learning about their interests and hobbies.

But no matter what you do to feel younger, you may not always look younger. It’s a fact of life that, at some point, you’re bound to see some crows’ feet or smile lines on your face.

Wrinkles are a natural part of the aging process. Read on to learn more about healthy skin habits and treatment options that may help you maintain skin elasticity and your youthful appearance.

What causes wrinkles?

As you age, your skin loses elasticity and becomes drier, which can create more fine lines and wrinkles. Your skin also loses natural fat as you get older, which means it’s more likely to look saggy, loose or wrinkled.

Although your skin may naturally dry out with age, certain behaviors can speed up this process, including exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light and smoking cigarettes.

Which wrinkle treatment is right for me?

There’s a wide range of wrinkle treatments available today. The right one for you will depend on your budget, desired outcome and whether you’re willing to undergo treatment from a dermatologist.

Before choosing a new skin treatment, be sure to talk with your doctor or dermatologist. They’ll guide you in the right direction and help explain the risks and benefits of each option.

Ultimately, the right path for you is one that helps you feel happy in your own skin.

Over-the-counter wrinkle creams

When you look at the skincare aisle in the drug store, you’ll find dozens of anti-aging and wrinkle creams staring back at you. Because these creams are not scientifically studied, their effectiveness can vary.

Some ingredients can help repair, replenish and protect your skin with the nutrients it needs. Generally a cream with retinol can have healing properties.

However, there are some ingredients that can help repair, replenish and protect your skin with the nutrients it needs. Generally, you’ll want to find a cream with retinol, which is a type of vitamin A compound with healing properties. Other helpful ingredients include:

  • Vitamin C (ascorbic acid)
  • Peptides
  • Glycolic, citric and lactic acid (alpha-hydroxy acids or AHAs)
  • Antioxidants, including niacinamide and grape seed extract
  • Tea extracts, such as green tea

Prescription wrinkle cream

If an over-the-counter wrinkle cream doesn’t give you the results you’re looking for, your doctor may be able to prescribe one that contains retinoids, chemical compounds related to vitamin A retinol. Retinoids may be able to better reduce fine lines, wrinkles and other signs of aging on the skin. Your doctor or dermatologist can determine what type of prescription is best for your skin. Be sure to check with your insurance provider to determine if the type of cream is covered.

While these prescription creams may be more effective than over-the-counter options, they can cause itchiness, burning, redness or sensitivity to sunlight depending on your skin’s composition.

Procedures done by a doctor

There are many skin procedures available that your doctor or dermatologist can perform.

Although these treatments may be long-lasting with more dramatic results, they usually require multiple sessions to achieve and maintain tighter and smoother skin. The number and frequency of sessions vary from person to person, and depends on the type of treatment.

Some standard skin procedures include:

  • Chemical peel – This treatment uses an acidic solution to remove the top layer of skin so the younger smoother skin can be revealed.
  • Botox injections – This is a common treatment that involves injecting botulinum toxin type A into facial muscles to keep them from contracting. When muscles don’t contract, the skin appears smoother.
  • Dermabrasion or microdermabrasion – These treatments remove the top layer of wrinkled skin by “sanding” it down.
  • Laser therapy – During these treatments, your dermatologist will use a laser beam to remove the top layer of skin and heat the remaining skin underneath, which stimulates new skin growth. This new skin will heal smoother and tighter, eliminating wrinkles and fine lines.
  • Soft tissue fillers – These fillers are injected into wrinkles to help plump and smooth the skin. The fillers are usually made of fat, collagen and hyaluronic acid, a substance that is naturally found in the skin.
  • Facelifts – These treatments involve tightening the skin by making small incisions and pulling back facial tissue. While facelift results may last longer than some other treatments, many people undergo another facelift years later to maintain their look.

It’s crucial to keep in mind that these treatments can come with side effects, so be sure to discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor. Keep in mind that elective skin procedures usually aren’t covered by insurance.

Loving the skin you’re in

While you may see some wrinkles or normal skin sagging as you age (fine lines can appear for some as young as age 25), keep in mind that your face tells a story. Your life up to this point, with all of its ups and downs, has been a journey. Accepting how you look, embracing your wrinkles and owning your laugh lines and forehead frown lines is the least expensive and time-consuming option of all!

Maintain healthy skin

While there are dozens of wrinkle treatments available today, maintaining a healthy skincare routine can be a powerful tool in the fight against wrinkles and skin damage that causes lines and reduced elasticity.

Accepting how you look, embracing your wrinkles and owning your laugh lines and forehead frown lines is the least expensive and time-consuming option of all!

A healthy skin routine includes:

  • Protecting your skin from ultraviolet (UV) light – Wear sunscreen and avoid indoor tanning beds at all cost. It’s also helpful to find moisturizers with built-in SPF — aim for SPF 30 or higher.
  • Washing and moisturizing regularly – Wash your face in the morning and just before bed to remove dirt. Then, apply a moisturizer to your face and neck, where wrinkles can often show up.
  • Not smoking - If you smoke, talk to your doctor about ways you can quit. You can Call the Providence Resource Line to learn about resources close to where you live or work at 800-562-8964.

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Find an expert

Although some of these treatments may be effective in removing wrinkles, they’re not a permanent fix. So, as you consider which skin treatment is right for you, remember wrinkles are a natural part of aging — we all have them!

If you’re looking for more advice on skin care and wrinkles, it’s always best to talk through your options with your doctor. You can find a Providence dermatologist that can assist you using our provider directory. Or, you can search for a primary care doctor in your area.

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Wrinkles — can you avoid them? Get the skinny on reducing fine lines and the different wrinkle treatments available today and share your ideas @psjh. #aging #health #skincare

Regional resources

Oregon and SW Washington: Tips for healthy aging

Washington: Plastic and reconstructive surgery | Primary geriatric care providers

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This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional’s instructions.

About the Author

From how to identify and treat heart diseases to exercise tips to maintain an active lifestyle, the Providence Senior's Health team is committed to providing real-world advice that is hyper-relevant to helping those 65+ find ways stay young at heart

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