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Remember the days of tanning at the beach for hours? You might not, but your skin sure does. In fact, exposure to sunlight and its ultraviolet rays is one of the main causes of wrinkles as we age.
Other external factors include smoking, poor eating habits and dehydration. Internally, loss of collagen and elasticity is the culprit for the formation of wrinkles.
And, one’s face is not the only place where wrinkles appear. According to the website Medical News Today, wrinkles appear on all parts of the body that receive the most sun exposure, including the backs of the hands, face and forearms. As we age, our skin gets thinner, drier and less elastic. Genetic factors also play a role, controlling skin elasticity, how wrinkly a person becomes and when and where the wrinkles will appear.
Inga Bufaro, a cosmetic physician assistant at the Dermatology Group (Riverdale, Verona, West Orange, Paramus and Nutley), says that fat loss under the skin is what causes sagging and wrinkles to appear and what makes the skin look older
"That’s why we can’t be the same weight in our 40s and 50s as we are in our 20s," says Bufaro, explaining that weight loss, particularly loss of fat in the face, makes wrinkles and loss of skin elasticity more prominent, resulting in an older look.
While wrinkles may be an inevitable part of the aging process, their formation can be slowed down and even prevented.
"Always wear sun protection during the day, as wrinkles and sun damage progress over the years," says Bufano.
She recommends wearing an SPF 30 on the face daily and an SPF 50 when spending prolonged periods in the sun, such as vacationing at the beach or doing outdoor activities. Other tips she offers for reducing the appearance of wrinkles: stay hydrated (drinking eight glasses of water a day), following a healthy, well-balanced diet featuring lean proteins, fruits and vegetables and wearing a wide brimmed hat when outdoors in direct sunlight and wearing sunglasses to prevent squinting.
"Anything that is good for the body is good for the skin," Bufano says.
Conversely, what is bad for the body is also detrimental to the skin. According to Medical News Today, regular smoking can accelerate the aging of skin due to reduced blood supply.
Other factors that can lead to wrinkles include genetics, type of clothing worn, light skin pigmentation, occupations that require exposure to more sunlight and UV rays (such as farming and gardening) and repeated facial expressions, such as frowning, smiling and squinting.
Even with healthy living and eating, wrinkles form as we age. However, today there are ways to reduce their appearance.
"The use of Retinol creams and acids at night can help rebuild collagen and stimulate cell renewal," says Bufaro, who warns that these creams can make the skin more "photo sensitive." Use should be decreased in the summer months to minimize sunburns.
"If you are using Retin A products during the summer, it is important to cover your skin," says Bufaro, who recommends sitting under an umbrella while at the beach, wearing at least a 4-inch-wide brim hat and using an SPF 50 on the skin.
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