Fine lines tend to make their first appearance anywhere from your early 20s to mid-30s. Typically found around the forehead, mouth, or outer corners of the eyes, these debut signs of aging always seem to come when you least expect it. Was it during that routine inspection in your magnified mirror? (A habit we don’t condone, to be clear – but if it’s just one of your SSBs, who are we to tell you to stop?)
We’ll abstain from judgment so long as you refrain from squeezing…) Was it during a quick touch-up in your rear view mirror (when parked, of course)? Or was it when you glanced at your reflection in the window on the way to work – and did a double-take when you realized that no, it wasn’t the (usual) imprint of crinkled bed sheets from a rushed morning, but instead, the faintest beginning of a wrinkle.
The truth is, when and where you start to see wrinkling is actually largely predetermined by genetics. Curious as to how you’ll age? Take a look at your parents and grandparents: the likelihood of wrinkle onset, depth, and overall appearance is greatly influenced by familial lines. Literally.
[QUIZ: How well will your skin age?]
That said, you can prevent premature wrinkling. You can also minimize the appearance of wrinkles – where they develop, their depth and length, etc. – with the right care. You may have found your first wrinkle, but there’s a way to keep visible aging at bay:
1. Apply SPF protection daily, without fail.
Make a broad spectrum moisturizer and body sunscreen an indubitable must in your daily routine. Aging free radicals are the number one cause behind sun damage that leads to premature fine lines, sagging, dark spots, and the development of even more wrinkles.
2. Take extra precautions when you’re driving.
We all know the importance of sunscreen application and, if spending longer periods of time outdoors, reapplication. What most people overlook is just how much sun damage is done while driving. UVA rays can still easily penetrate windows (tinted or not) of vehicles – so if you’re a daily commuter or spending more than a few minutes in the car (driving or not), you’d better be sure that you’ve got SPF protection. Be sure to focus on the face, neck, décolletage, and hands.
3. Sleep on your back.
Favoring one side can actually cause those seemingly innocuous sheet imprints to turn into permanent lines and wrinkles. We spend at least one third of our life sleeping – which means we spend at least one third of our life etching those lines into our face.
The best thing you can do? Sleep on your back. Other ways to help reduce this kind of extrinsic wrinkling include swapping out your usual pillow case for a silk one (which is less likely to pull at or leave marks on skin) and varying your sleeping position.
4. Wearing proper eye gear.
…which means getting your eyes checked regularly and investing in a pair of polarized sunglasses. Repetitive squinting can actually exacerbate any existing lines – or promote the formation of new ones – around the eyes, between the brows, and on the forehead.
5. Drink more water.
Hydrating from the inside out is crucial to overall skin health and appearance. Dehydrated skin cells give the skin a sallow, sometimes ashy appearance, thus exaggerating the look of any visible signs of aging. When cells are properly hydrated, however, skin appears (and feels!) softer and more supple.
6. Make moisturizing a priority.
You want to hydrate from both the inside out and the outside in. Look for moisturizers and night creams to help deliver essential hydration and lock moisture into the skin. Humectants and/or emollients can actually help smooth fine lines and wrinkles by plumping the skin for a more youthful appearance.
7. Incorporate anti-aging products into your regimen.
If you haven’t started already – start now. Serums and creams formulated with any of these powerhouse anti-aging ingredients can help slow signs of aging by defending your skin any environmental and free radical damage while reducing the look of all visible signs of aging.