90% of wrinkles and lines are caused by ultraviolet light damage. Other environmental factors include smoking and oxidants in your diet, like alcohol and fatty foods. The aging process is unavoidable however, wrinkles and fine lines can be delayed as one ages.
The most important way to delay them is to practice sun avoidance and strict sun protection from childhood on. Since many cosmetic products now contain good sunscreens, their use will help delay wrinkles and lines. Sunscreens should be broad-spectrum (covering both UVA and UVB radiation) and should be applied frequently, especially if swimming or sweating.
Here is what’s proven to work:
- Relatives of vitamin A, retinoids, like tretinoin and tazarotene and retinols, help prevent and somewhat reverse sun damage. There are cosmetic products containing those as well.
- Antioxidants in cosmetic preparations are difficult to assess in terms of prevention of photodamage, wrinkles and lines, but are potentially beneficial. They are still being researched.
- Short term wrinkle reduction can be achieved by moisturizers as they help reduce dehydration lines. Along the same note, fine facial lines can be accentuated by accumulated dead skin cells.
- Cosmetic preparations with exfoliants, such as vitamins (niacinamide) and low level acids, such as lactic acid or lactobionic acid will help reduce those temporarily.
90% of wrinkles are caused by sun damage
Zoe Diane Draelos is a dermatologist and one of the world’s leading authorities on cosmeceuticals. We include here a summary of Dr. Draelos’ chapter entitled “Cosmeceutical Antiaging Myths” in Draelos ZD. (2010) Procedures in Cosmetic Dermatology: Cosmeceuticals. (Saunders Elsevier).
According to Dr. Draelos, here are some wrong myths about cosmeceuticals and anti-aging:
1. Expensive moisturizers are more effective.
2. Moisturizers remove wrinkles.
3. Cosmeceuticals can produce beneficial effects on facial muscles to improve skin tone.
4. Bleaching creams can improve brown spots quickly.
5. Glycolic acid peels must hurt to be effective.
6. Cosmeceuticals need to penetrate the skin barrier to work.
7. Topical formulations of vitamins and supplements are similar to pills in effectiveness for skin improvement.
8. Vitamin-containing products can reverse photoaging.
9. Retinol in over-the-counter preparations works like prescription tretinoin.
10. A sunscreen with an SPF above 15 does not provide additional photoprotection.
11. Self-tanning cosmeceuticals provide sun protection.
12. Nanoparticles increase antiaging cosmeceutical efficacy.
13. Scarse cosmeceutical ingredients add cutaneous benefits.
14. Lip plumping cosmeceuticals increase lip size.