Growing old gracefully: What’s the best way to prevent wrinkles?
Whether we like it or not, we’re all destined to end up looking like a shrivelled piece of dried fruit. Unless you’re prepared to go under the knife or be prodded and poked with needles, wrinkles are unfortunately just an inevitable part of growing old. But why do we get wrinkles in the first place? And what is the best way to keep them at bay? Is there even any point in trying? Or should we just sit back and accept our saggy fate?
Why do we get wrinkles?
As we get older, our skin produces less collagen, which is responsible for its elasticity and plumpness. Each time you make a facial expression, a groove is created by the muscle under the surface of the skin. The less collagen and elastin we have, the more difficult it is for the skin to spring back into shape, which over time creates permanent wrinkles.
According to the International Dermal Institute, male skin is less susceptible to the signs of ageing. Increased levels of testosterone mean that male skin is around 25% thicker than women's, and also has a higher collagen density. Both men and women start to lose collagen around age 30. For women, this escalates significantly for the first 5 years after menopause, before slowing back down to normal, whereas men on the other hand age gradually over time.
Of course, environmental factors also play a large part in the ageing of the skin. Sun is the biggest culprit, with extended exposure to UV light causing a breakdown of collagen and elastin. Smoking is another big no-no - restricting blood supply to the skin and accelerating the ageing process.
What’s the best way for men to prevent wrinkles?
When it comes to beating wrinkles, it’s more about the prevention rather than the cure. Once wrinkles set in, your options get a bit limited, and a lot more extreme (we’re taking Botox or surgery) so your best bet is to try to prevent them from cropping up in the first place. That being said, if your baby face days are already behind you, it doesn’t mean you should give up completely. Whilst you might not be able to get rid of the wrinkles you already have, you can certainly lighten the effect of new ones. We can’t control our biological clocks, but we can control some of the environmental factors that lead to skin ageing.
Yes we know we live in Britain and the skies are grey 99% of the time, but even when the sun’s not shining, those sneaky UV rays are still doing damage to your skin. If you’re serious about preventing wrinkles, wear sunscreen on your face every day (apply it after your moisturiser), don’t use indoor tanning beds, and keep your face covered when sunbathing.
Ditch the cigs
Because “wrinkly corpse” just isn’t a good look…
Dry skin is more susceptible to premature ageing, so be sure to moisturise daily. Moisturiser also helps to improve the elasticity of the skin and plumps up cells, so pre-existing wrinkles can temporarily appear less prominent.
Watch your sugar intake
We all know that too much sugar isn’t good for us, but it isn’t just our bodies that are affected. When too much sugar is consumed, it triggers a process in the body called “glycation” which can seriously speed up the ageing of the skin. But it’s not just wrinkles. According to a study published in the British Journal of Dermatology, glycation causes a whole bunch of nasty issues, including:
- Age spots
- Hardness of skin
- Dull skin
- Uneven skin tone
- Sagging and bagging
- Degradation of collagen
So perhaps it’s time to re-think that second biscuit with your afternoon cuppa?
Keep your skin happy
Studies have shown that repeated skin irritation can also cause premature ageing. This is particularly important for guys, as a bad shaving routine is a surefire route to regular irritation. Make sure you're doing things properly, and don't slack on that post-shave care!
Just remember though, ageing is inevitable, and even for the most committed anti-ageing enthusiasts, it’s always going to catch up someday. So don’t stress about it all too much. Afer all, there’s much more to life than worrying about wrinkles.