With age comes wisdom, of course, but also wrinkles. And even though those laugh lines and crow’s feet signal a life full of emotion and expression, many find them a little less endearing the deeper they become. Invasive procedures to “correct” them have become more mainstream, but less drastic solutions for minimizing wrinkles can go a long way in improving the look of your skin, too—and with far fewer risks.
Give these solutions a try to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, or prevent them from becoming more prominent, and you’ll be repaid with a brighter, smoother and younger-looking complexion—a fresher, more radiant you.
As you get older, cell turnover slows down and dead cells build up on skin’s surface, which can not only make skin look dull and tired, but lines appear deeper than they really are. Peels with ingredients such as glycolic acid and fruit enzymes can help eliminate those cells, as can scrubs, which contain sugar, jojoba beads, crushed fruit pits or other ingredients that can physically slough the cells off. Aim to exfoliate once a week, and be careful not to overdo it. Some products may irritate and dry out skin if used incorrectly or too frequently, so always follow the directions on the packaging. If you have sensitive skin, you may want to select a mild scrub over a more potent peel or microdermabrasion product, and don’t be afraid to consult your dermatologist for advice.
Apply a Retinol Night Cream
Collagen is a protein found in tissue, including the kind that sits below skin’s surface to keep it plump and firm. Wrinkles form, in part, when collagen becomes weak or damaged. Over-the-counter retinol and the more potent prescription version, retinoic acid (the active ingredient in Retin-A and Renova)—both derivatives of vitamin A—trigger new collagen production and gradually help iron out lines, making it a go-to recommendation for many dermatologists whose patients want to reduce wrinkles. Retinol also helps speed up cell turnover, which can improve skin’s texture and soften the look of fine lines on the surface. Look for retinol near the top of an over-the-counter product’s ingredient list to ensure that it contains a significant amount; you can usually expect to see results after about a month of consistent use.
Slather on a Heavy Moisturizer
Skin becomes drier with every decade, which contributes to noticeable fine lines and wrinkles. So instead of a lightweight lotion, consider switching to a heavier cream moisturizer and apply it every morning and evening to damp skin. Thicker creams usually contain more emollients or occlusives, such as natural oils or petrolatum, which seal in your skin's natural moisture and help keep it smooth, soft and plump. Apply it liberally around (but not too close to) your eyes, since the skin there is thinner and can be extra dry—one reason wrinkles often show up there first.
Layer on SPF
Sunscreen may not directly reduce the wrinkles you have, but it can help your efforts by preventing skin damage that can not only deepen wrinkles, but also cause skin spots. Some anti-aging treatments may also leave skin more sensitive to the sun, so it's essential to shield it from rays. A daily SPF moisturizer is crucial, but also consider using foundation and powder with SPF, too. Most people don’t apply enough of any one sunscreen to reap its full benefits; layering can help increase your protection. And don’t forget to reapply any and all sunscreen products if you plan on being outdoors for more than two hours (more often if you’ve been swimming or sweating).
Wear Sunglasses and a Hat
Aside from weakened collagen, wrinkles form because of repeated or sustained muscle movement in a certain area. By wearing shades or a hat to shield blinding rays, you’ll squint less and reduce your chances of deepening lines around your eyes. The same principle applies to wrinkles between your brows and on your forehead. If you furrow your brow when concentrating, try to remind yourself to relax your muscles.