If Your Wrinkled Skin Is Getting You Down, You Can Do Something
Wrinkles aren’t exactly a medical emergency, but if you are bothered by having them then you have plenty of options. You don’t want to panic the first time you notice some laugh lines, but if you have reached a point that facial lines are always there and you don’t want to live with persistent wrinkles, you might want to consider doing something about them. So when is the right time to do something, and what can you do?
So many factors from genetics to health and environment affect when an individual will first begin to notice fine lines on the forehead, cheeks, or around the eyes and the mouth – the first signs of wrinkles. It’s impossible to say everyone should start to treat wrinkles in the same way at the same age, and your dermatologist is the one who can give you the most personalized advice about what to do when. In general, however, the development of wrinkles follows a pattern, although the time frame can vary by decades. What you decide to do and when is based more on how developed your wrinkles are and how you feel about them than by your age.
- Prevention is the best cure! Before you see a single wrinkle, or even a hint of one, you can take steps to keep your skin healthy and youthful. If you smoke, quit! Smoking ages the skin the most; even more than sun exposure! Smokers develop more severe wrinkles sooner because smoking decreases blood flow to the skin and slows the body’s production of collagen as well as elastic tissue. So if you don’t want wrinkles don’t smoke; do your whole body a favor and try to kick the habit.
- Protect your skin from the sun. Wear hats and use sun block appropriately to keep the sun from wrinkling your face prematurely. Prolonged exposure to the skin causes the development of actinic elastosis in the middle layer of the skin, which basically means that the skin becomes thickened and hardened because of sun effect on collagen and elastic tissue. Once this happens any expressions cause the skin to buckle leading to more prominent wrinkles and facial lines.
- Never go to bed with make up on. Make sure you wash and moisturize your face in the morning and before bed.
- When you first notice fine lines, it’s time to step up the moisturizer; preferably using those that contain topical Vitamin A or Vitamin C. The vitamin C has anti-oxidant properties that can help to reverse some of the toxic effects that occur with smoking or too much sun. Vitamin A topically helps to improve the production of collagen and elastic tissue to give the skin suppleness and firmness again and correct the degenerative changes from too much sun. If over the counter products don’t help significantly in three to six months, then it might be time to see a dermatologist and add a prescription strength topical retinoid product which is also derived from vitamin A. You might need to invest in a better quality product or apply it more frequently. Keep up all of your prevention strategies, and make sure you drink plenty of water and get enough sleep. And try to make time to relax. Stress won’t keep your skin smooth and glowing!
- When you notice persistent wrinkles developing, talk to your dermatologist. Don’t panic about needing a face lift! Face lifts in and of themselves help with sagging skin, not wrinkles. Your dermatologist can recommend a more low key approach, maybe microdermabrasion combined with chemical peels, chemical peels alone, or a variety of laser treatments which can be ablative or non-ablative. Ablative means that the skin surface if wounded temporarily and there is extra downtime and wound care to go through the healing process required to recover from the procedure. If your wrinkles are being accentuated by facial expressions, then treatment with neurotoxins such as Botox can be added to relax the muscles that make the wrinkles more pronounced.
Don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions. The more you ask, and the more you tell your dermatologist about your lifestyle, the better and more personalized approach you can take. And even if you fear you are fighting a losing battle, keep up with your efforts to take the best care of skin at home.
Your skin does not watch the calendar. It doesn’t care if you are facing a significant birthday or not. It does react a lot to your lifestyle and the care you give it, and your genetics play a big role too. If you feel the time has come to step up your anti-wrinkle measures, your dermatologist is your best ally. You can find many treatments from minimally aggressive to very intense to fight wrinkles, so get in touch with your dermatologist to learn what will work best for you.