Monday, February 18, 2013

Mirror, Mirror on the… Hey, Is That a Wrinkle?!


Wrinkles: at some point in our lives, we’ll all get them. It’s a natural part of aging and goes along with the degradation of collagen in our bodies. And while we will inevitably find more and more wrinkles on our hands and faces as we age, there are a few things research has taught us over the years that may help slowwrinkles down.

Getting wrinkles is a natural part of aging.
Getting wrinkles is a natural part of aging.
Image: Shutterstock

The number one cause of wrinkles is sun. That means if you’re set on spending all summer, every summer out in the sunlight getting your tan on, you’ll likely see more wrinkles sooner than those who work hard to protect their skin. Need proof? Last summer a story was featured on the NY Post about a trucker who spent 28 years on theroad with half his face in the sun. You can literally see the difference sun makes by looking at one half of his face as compared to the other.

Pulling all-nighters takes its toll as well. When your body doesn’t get enough sleep, it produces and excess of cortisol, which breaks down skin cells. When you do get enough sleep, your body produces Human Growth Hormone (HGH) instead, which keeps your skin healthy and thick. Furthermore, if you always sleep on the same side or on your stomach, you may eventually develop permanent sleep lines on your face that don’t go away.

This trucker spent 28 years with half his face in the sun. Now one side of his face is badly damaged and wrinkled.
Half of this trucker's face is badly damaged from sun
Image from nypost.com
What you eat affects wrinkles as well. Whole foods boost collagen, while processed and sugary foods do the opposite. Foods like salmon, which contains plenty of fatty acids, helps keep skin supple and smooth. Soy has also been found to help improve firmness. Antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables (especially berries and dark leafy greens) also help fight any skin damage you may have. Green and black teas also include antioxidants to help slow collagen degradation.

Have you ever noticed that men and women who are physically fit seem to age slower? That’s because building muscle tone through strength training and yoga helps prevent sagging and delivers oxygen throughout your body (including to your skin!).

Being happy leads to fewer wrinkles.
Being happy leads to fewer wrinkles.
Image: Shutterstock
When skin gets dry, it cracks, bleeds—and wrinkles. Drinking enough water keeps skin moisturized and clean. Moisturizers with peptides in them also help keep skin healthy, so check your ingredients list. Moisturizer should be applied just after washing skin because the dampness can help lock in more moisture. If you’ve already noticed some wrinkles appearing, try a retinol cream. Dabbing on a small amount can help repair skin and reduce wrinkles.

Last, but certainly not least, happiness and independence from chemical substances helps prevent wrinkles. Those who smoke or drink alcohol on a regular basis may develop more wrinkles than those who do not. Studies have also indicated that people who are optimistic about life and in a happy relationship also had fewer wrinkles and looked younger.
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