The funny thing about fine lines is that you really never know when they’ll actually surface.
“I’ve seen women in their 20s start to show fine lines across their forehead because they had a lot of sun exposure. I also have clients in their 40s who’ve been blessed genetically and are just starting to see a few wrinkles,” says Ellen Marmur, M.D., an associate professor of dermatology at The Mount Sinai Medical Center and founder of Marmur Medical in New York City. “It’s about a 50 percent genetics and 50 percent sun exposure split between what causes you to show fine lines and when. They’re equally important,” she says.
Obviously, you can’t control how well your genes work (or can you?), but if your mom looks good, chances are you will too at her age…as long as you don’t ruin it with sun exposure. “UV rays convert to heat and basically cook the collagen and elastin in your skin. Those are the proteins that hold your skin up, giving it volume and elasticity. UVB rays penetrate the upper layers of your skin while UVA rays go deeper, so nothing is safe,” explains Dr. Marmur. Once those proteins collapse, your skin folds in on itself, causing the appearance of wrinkles.
No matter how careless you’ve been about sun protection in the past, get religious about it right now to prevent fine lines from worsening. It's amazing how the skin can actually start to heal itself when it doesn't have to devote resources to fending off sun damage. Look for a broad spectrum UVA/UVB formula that has SPF 30 or higher as well as antioxidants, which boost the sun protection effects. If you’re going to be doing a lot of sports, sweating or swimming, look for a sweat-resistant, water-resistant formula. And don’t forget to reapply every two hours.
In addition to proper sun protection, you can start to lessen the look of fine lines by using an anti-aging cream or serum that’ll rebuild collagen and elastin. Retinoids have long been a gold standard anti-aging ingredient recommended by dermatologists. “The normal cell lifecycle is 28 days, but as you age, your skin doesn’t shed as well and it becomes sluggish. Retinol helps get it back to the 28-day turnover, helping to normalize your skin. It also has pro-collagen benefits,” explains Dr. Marmur. “You don’t need to use the pharmaceutical strength. I actually prefer some over-the-counter formulas because they tend to be a little more forgiving and elegant,” she adds.
There are other effective anti-aging ingredients as well. Niacinimide, a form of Vitamin B3, helps maintain the skin’s moisture barrier and increase its natural exfoliation process. Co-enzyme Q10, an essential antioxidant that helps energize cells so they work more effectively, is another good anti-aging ingredient.
Just be careful that what you’re using isn’t too harsh for your skin type. “If it’s too intense, it can actually cause your skin to be in a state of inflammation and stress, which produces a wrinkled look,” says Dr. Marmur. If this is your case, nurture your skin back to health with a nourishing oil that contains soothing chamomile and cucumber essence. Once your skin is back to normal, you can reincorporate a gentler anti-aging treatment.
One more essential anti-wrinkle skincare step: Start exfoliating one to three times a week. This will also help speed up cell turnover and bring newer, plumper cells to the surface. “If you are just starting to use an exfoliator, look for a creamy, gentle formula. If your skin is older and more resilient, you can try a glycolic pad,” says Dr. Marmur.
It takes at least 28 days to start to see results from an anti-aging skincare regimen, which will then gradually accumulate with continued use. “If one chooses only a topical therapy, they can expect mild improvements over months of treatments. But there are several dermatologic treatments using injectables and lasers that dramatically improve the appearance of fine lines immediately,” says cosmetic dermatologist Paul Jarrod Frank, M.D., Director of the 5th Avenue Dermatology Surgery & Laser Center. The first procedures he’d recommend: Belotero or Restylane, both of which are hyaluronic acid fillers that rehydrate your skin and plump up the valleys of fine lines. One treatment costs around $750 and can last for six months or longer.
Whatever skincare treatments you chose, be sure to take a holistic approach. Lack of sleep, dehydration and stress make it hard for your skin to function at peak capacity and can also cause or worsen wrinkles. “Make sure you’re drinking enough water, eating healthy food and exercising, all of which help your skin to renew itself,” says Dr. Marmur.
Courtesy of Estee Lauder
Beauty Sleep in a Bottle
This light serum maximizes your skin’s renewal process that naturally occurs while you sleep. Algae and yeast extracts help skin cells increase their own self-purifying process while a patented “clock gene” technology ensures all the functions of skin renewal happens at the right time.
Artistry's proprietary botanical extract relies on antioxidants to revitalize skin. Combined with six amino acids, plus a nutrient-rich extract from the fruit of the African baobab tree, acerola cherry extract and black currant extract, this eye cream delivers protective antioxidants and moisturization, helping to reduce lines while improving firmness and elasticity.
If your fine lines are surfacing because of dehydration and increased skin sensitivity, try this recently reformulated best-seller. It now provides twice the moisture without adding any extra oil, thanks to boosted levels of hyaluronic acid, glycerin and urea. At the same time, it improves barrier function with a blend of sunflower seed cake, barley extract and cucumber fruit extract, making your skin less prone to sensitivity, redness and dehydration.
Stem Cell Science
Key proteins extracted from human non-embryonic stem cells function as several different kinds of growth factors to support healthy cellular division, proliferation, differentiation, and survival. Hyaluronic acid, peptides, amino acids, antioxidants and SPF 15 also help reverse the signs of aging and reduce fine lines.
The secret ingredient in this hydrating eye cream: superoxide dismutase, a powerful super-antioxidant found only in a rare melon that grows in a remote region of the South of France. Combined with grape seed extract, omega-6 ceramides and a firming complex, this anti-aging eye cream helps to reduce fine lines, dark circles and puffiness.
Best Budget-Friendly Anti-Aging Cream
This newly reformulated anti-aging cream contains a complex of ingredients to energize surface layer cell turnover, increasing brightness and decreasing fine lines. Glycerin, hyaluronic acid and olivem (a derivative of olive oil) work to deeply moisturize dehydrated skin, while niacinimide (Vitamin B3), increases skin’s natural exfoliation rate, and Lys’Lastine (dill seed extract) improves skin’s elasticity.
Ideal for 20-year-olds, this anti-aging formula works to prevent fine lines from showing up in the first place. It stimulates skin cells’ natural growth factors, boosting collagen production and encouraging cell renewal. It’s also loaded with anti-free-radical ingredients like vitamins A and E, a bio-marine complex, trace elements and minerals.
This antioxidant-rich serum contains 15 botanicals and Persian silk (to strengthen cells), the Chinese fruit whu-zu-yu (to boost circulation) and peach leaf (to promote cellular regeneration).
Most Gentle At-Home Peel
This at-home glycolic treatment has all of the benefits of a peel in a skin-friendly, mild formula. It delivers 10 percent pharmaceutical grade glycolic to gently exfoliate and retexture skin, reducing the appearance of fine lines, enlarged pores and hyperpigmentation. Vitamin E, licorice root extract and calendula flower extract help brighten and soothe your skin.
This nourishing anti-aging cream is a major multi-tasker, helping to simultaneously lift, firm and redefine skin contours. Jasmonic acid helps your skin cells’ natural auto-renewal process to function properly, beech tree extract improves firmness and density, and fragmented hyaluronic acid improves hydration and barrier function.
This anti-aging serum contains Shiseido’s patent-pending Skingencell 1P, which decreases the amount of Serpin B3, a cell-damaging protein in the skin, while simultaneously promoting the production of strong, healthy cells. It also has Soft Glow Powder, which immediately evens out skintone, and Uji Green Tea Extract, a potent antioxidant that prevents cellular damage caused by UV rays.
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