It’s happening. We’re getting older. Sadly, along with the wisdom and life experiences we’ve so gracefully accumulated through all these years, a few wrinkles have begun to emerge. Although we can’t expect to look 25 forever, crow’s feet, laugh lines and the dreaded turkey neck are not just inevitable consequences of aging. There are behaviors we can adopt now to prevent new wrinkles and help diminish the ones that we can’t stop noticing each morning.
Thousands of products and procedures are out there promising to erase wrinkles or reverse the aging process entirely. In fact, the multibillion-dollar anti-aging industry is growing at a rapid rate and predicted to continue booming. While some of the latest industry fads may work, not everyone wants to have regular bacterial neurotoxin injections to the face. For those who might prefer a more natural approach to wrinkle reduction and prevention, we’ve got some effective tips.
The First Step Is Prevention
To get ahead of the wrinkles, you must do everything you can to stop them from creeping up. None of these techniques are difficult, and you won’t have to give up laughing. Here are a few easy ways to prevent new wrinkles from forming on your face and neck.
Get at Least Eight Hours of Sleep Each Night
It’s been scientifically proven that more sleep equals fewer wrinkles. As we sleep, our bodies produce a human growth hormone (HGH). HGH is the hormone that helps the skin remain thick and supple, more elastic and less inclined to wrinkle and sag. Researchers say that when the body isn’t getting an adequate amount of sleep, it produces the stress hormone called cortisol. Cortisol can break down the skin cells in the body, which results in dry, wrinkly skin.
Sleep Like a Princess
Most people are side sleepers. It’s a comfortable way to sleep. However, side sleeping is often the cause of sleep lines on the cheeks and chin. When the side of the face is pressed into a pillow for several hours a night, creases are formed and imprinted, creating wrinkles. One solution is to sleep on your back instead. If back sleeping isn’t in the cards for you, another option is to replace your cotton pillowcases with silk or satin ones. The silky new pillowcase will provide the face with less traction. The skin will slide off a satin or silk pillowcase rather than scrunch up and press itself into creases.
Be Careful What You Put on Your Face
While the cosmetic counter is always pushing beautifully packaged night creams, day creams and miracle potions, many of the ingredients in those products are hard on your skin. The delicate skin on the face can be damaged easily by harsh cleansers and common cosmetic additives. Mineral oil and paraffin are both standard ingredients in facial moisturizers. While neither of these petroleum-based ingredients sound particularly harmful, they can clog the pores of the face and interfere with perspiration. Hydroquinone is another ingredient sometimes found in anti-aging facial creams. Cosmetic companies claim that it can lighten dark spots on the face. Even if that is true, hydroquinone is an actual toxin and a suspected carcinogen that’s banned in Europe. Aside from that, it can cause blueish-black lesions on the face after use.
If you are unsure about the ingredients of a facial product, don’t use it. Rinse the face with water before bed or opt for a natural facial cleanser, like pure olive oil to remove makeup and moisturize the skin.
It may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s worth mentioning. Think of it like fruit. A perfectly ripe, juicy plum is firm to the touch with taut, smooth skin on the outside. However, if you lay the plum out in the sun to dry, it shrivels up into a wrinkly prune. Your skin is similar. When you drink plenty of water and keep your body fully hydrated, your skin will stay smooth and supple without many wrinkles. Allow your body to become dehydrated, and risk looking like a prune.
Enjoy an Extra Helping of Guacamole
These days we hear all about the health benefits of “good fats.” The hype is warranted. Fermented cod liver oil, avocados, olive oil and coconut oil are all excellent choices for overall nutrition. The skin also benefits from good fats. These healthy dietary fats can help create elasticity in the skin and make it less vulnerable to sun damage and environmental toxins.
Pick up a pair of reading glasses already and keep a spare pair of sunglasses in the car. Squinting causes crow’s feet, forehead wrinkles and the unsightly squint marks that look like the number eleven right above the bridge of the nose, between your eyes. Squinting also makes you look irritated ― nobody wants to sit next to Gabby Grumpface.
Don’t Smoke or Hang Around Smoke-filled Places
According to Dr. Lowell Dale, Medical Director of The Mayo Clinic’s Tobacco Quitline, “The nicotine in cigarettes causes narrowing of the blood vessels in the outermost layers of your skin. This impairs the blood flow to your skin. With less blood flow, your skin doesn’t get as much oxygen and important nutrients such as vitamin A.” Dr. Dale went on to explain that the chemicals in cigarette smoke damage the skin’s collagen and elastin, the components that give strength and elasticity to the skin. The breakdown of collagen and elastin leads to sagging and wrinkling of the skin. Then, there’s the issue of pursed lips while puffing on a cigarette. Of course, lip pursing causes hundreds of little creases around the mouth. Not helpful.
Have Some Dark Chocolate & Green Tea
Free radicals in our environment can be hard on the skin. Load up on antioxidants to combat all the toxins that threaten to weaken your skin’s natural defenses and cause wrinkles. Some of the richest sources of antioxidants include dark chocolate or cocoa powder, green tea and all kinds of berries. It shouldn’t be too difficult to add an extra portion of cocoa powder into a fresh batch of fudge brownies. Then, top them with a few fresh raspberries and brew some strong green tea to sip while you enjoy a piece or two.
Reducing the Appearance of Existing Wrinkles Is Another Thing You Can Do Naturally
Your direct-selling friend who’s been hounding you to host a skin care home party won’t tell you this, but there are easy, natural and surprisingly inexpensive ways to make your face look fuller and less wrinkly.
Moisturize With Pantry Staples
High-quality olive oil is a wonderful facial moisturizer and works well for cleansing the face too. Apply it in a gentle, circular motion with your fingertips, allowing it to clean and moisturize the face. Then rinse with warm water and pat your face dry with a soft towel. Coconut oil is another very good facial cleanser that’s particularly excellent as a makeup remover too. Use it the same way as you would the olive oil. Both olive and coconut oils will reduce the appearance of wrinkles and can help fade age spots when used regularly, over time.
Raid the Refrigerator for Face Mask Ingredients
Expensive face masks and chemical peels can leave you feeling pampered and glowing. However, how do you know the ingredients aren’t doing more harm than good in the long run? We’ve found answers in the kitchen. Try some of these applications the next time you’re in need of a little refreshing facial mask:
- Banana mask: Mash up a ripe banana ― the riper, the better ― and spread it on your face. Let it sit for five to 10 minutes then rinse with warm water. The potassium from the banana moisturizes the skin cells on your face. Vitamin A and B work together to lighten age spots and heal acne. Bananas also contain vitamin E, which will protect the skin from sun damage.
- Aloe vera mask: Aloe is a natural anti-inflammatory plant that is filled with vitamins, minerals, enzymes and amino acids. It has powerful healing properties. When used as a facial mask, it also tightens the skin and leaves it glowing. You can often find small aloe plants at your local nursery. Break open one of the spiny leaves and scrape out the gel from the inside. Spread it over your face and let it sit for around 10 minutes. Rinse with warm water.
- Honey & lemon mask: Blend two tablespoons of raw honey and one teaspoon of fresh lemon juice. Apply it to your face gently in a circular motion with your fingertips. Keep the mask on for 3-5 minutes. Then rinse and pat dry. The citric acid from the lemon juice will tighten the skin and eliminate bacteria. The raw honey is a powerful humectant. It will moisturize and nourish the skin, leaving your face supple and radiant.
- Egg white mask: Perhaps one of the most inexpensive and effective ways to tighten the skin on your face is a simple egg white mask. Just separate the whites from the yolks of two eggs. Beat the whites until they’re foamy. Then gently apply the foam to your face. Allow the mask to sit and dry for 30 minutes before rinsing with cool water. The vitamin A and protein from the egg white help heal wounds and tighten up sagging skin. An egg white mask is perfect before a special evening when you don’t want to look your age.
Caring for Your Aging Skin Is Another Aspect of Living a Healthy Lifestyle
Because youth doesn’t come in a bottle, we’ve got a responsibility to care for the skin we have thoughtfully. By taking measures to nourish our skin and protect it, we’ll have healthy looking complexions for years to come.
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Mayo Clinic – Healthy Lifestyle: Quit Smoking. Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/quit-smoking/expert-answers/smoking/faq-20058153