By Mimi Greenwood Knight
The hardest part of any Zoom meeting has to be concentrating on what’s being said instead of staring at your own reflection wondering, “When did that wrinkle get there?” We all know the causes of wrinkles, things like sun exposure, cigarette smoke, stress, and time. But the question is, “What can we do about wrinkles once they’re here?” Here are a few ideas for softening and minimizing the appearance of those unwanted wrinkles on our faces.
A chemical peel is a treatment that works by applying solutions to re-texture and exfoliate the skin while stimulating collagen production. Glycolic acid peels are conservative, used mostly to exfoliate and reduce pore size and wrinkle intensity. Trichloroacetic acid (TCA) peels go deeper, dissolving skin cells and removing the top layers of the epidermis. The result is smoother skin and a reduction in the appearance of wrinkles. PCA peels are the mildest option, exfoliating skin with acids derived from fruits. Patients report PCA to be the most comfortable and relaxing chemical peel experience.
Also known as collagen induction therapy (CIT), microneedling involves repeatedly pricking the skin in a careful, measured, precise way. This creates tiny injuries that prompt the skin to repair itself and produce collagen, which causes the skin to become plumper and more agile. It also promotes elastin to repair and restore skin elasticity. Gels, serums, and creams can then be used to promote the healing process. Microneedling can also be used to treat acne scars and poor skin texture. Recovery time is brief, but it may take six to eight weeks of treatments to achieve your desired results.
Intense Pulsed Light
Sometimes known as a photofacial, IPL is a noninvasive treatment that’s an alternative to laser therapy. Using an innovative type of light therapy targeted to specific areas of your face, it evens out wrinkles and lines, addresses sun damage, and improves skin clarity, texture, and tone. There’s typically minimal to no downtime with IPL, and any redness and swelling usually resolve within a few days. It’s recommended to avoid direct sun exposure for about a week after treatment.
Naturally occurring in our bodies, peptides are small fragments of protein that help skin cells communicate more efficiently. Peptides can be applied topically to basically trick the skin into producing new skin cells. Originally used to speed the healing of wounds, peptides are now used to reduce wrinkles and stretch marks and stimulate collagen production.
Alpha Hydroxy Acid
Exfoliating — either physically or chemically — accelerates skin cell turnover by removing old, dead skin cells, instantly improving the look and feel of your skin. If your skin looks dull, try exfoliating with an alpha hydroxy acid like lactic acid or glycolic acid.
Free Radicals and Antioxidants
Once you’ve exfoliated, you can protect your new skin cells from free radicals (pollutants), which can accelerate aging. Antioxidants help block free radicals from damaging your skin. So, consider including antioxidant-rich foods such as blackberries, dark chocolate, and kale in your diet. Bonus — they’ll also give you more energy.
Facing Facts About Your Skin
Elastin and Collagen
Collagen and elastin play an important role in keeping your skin looking young, the former providing structural integrity, the latter helping it snap back into place. Both decrease as we age, beginning to decline around age 20. Topical anti-aging creams may help slow the decline. A good anti-aging skincare product can reduce — but not eliminate — wrinkles.
We all know too much sun can cause wrinkles as ultraviolet (UV) rays penetrate the skin, damaging elastic fibers and decreasing firmness. It’s wise to take a preemptive approach to any further wrinkles by applying sunscreen of at least SPF 40. Many makeup brands include sunscreen in their foundation, but don’t neglect your neck and upper chest areas, and be sure to reapply as needed.
Don’t underestimate what a great moisturizer can do to reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Ask your dermatologist to recommend one that won’t clog your pores, preferably with hyaluronic acid as one of its ingredients. Hyaluronic acid can hydrate your skin and protect it from dryness, excess pigmentation, and wrinkling. Apply as directed, paying particular attention to areas where wrinkles often appear.