Fine lines are usually the first visible sign of aging we encounter. One day you’re a fresh faced college student, and a few short years later you catch a glimpse of your forehead in the rearview mirror… what the mess is that. Yep, it’s a line — only visible in the brightest of outdoor light — but a line nonetheless. According to Rachel Gordon, MD of North Dallas Dermatology, prevention is the best treatment when it comes to fine lines. But it’s too late for that! It’s already there! Dr. Gordon hears you, and she’s got a solid plan to erase that line (and prevent more from showing up). Read on for Dr. Gordon’s tips on the best all natural ways to battle fine lines, and prepare yourself — some of them will surprise you.
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What age do fine lines typically first appear? Is it normal to have lines when you’re still in your twenties?
Totally normal. Fine lines usually appear in mid to late 20s to early 30s, but it varies between individuals.
What causes fine lines?
Multiple factors. In the upper part of the face, and (to a lesser extent) around the mouth, fine lines are mostly caused by the repetitive movements of our muscles of facial expression — these typically are the crows feet, lines between the eyebrows and on the forehead, and “smoker’s lines”. They’re called “dynamic rhytides.” In addition to this, collagen and elastin (what gives skin its youthful plumpness) deteriorate over time, which causes fine lines and a decrease in skin firmness. Some of this is part of the natural aging process, but it can be accelerated by extrinsic or environmental factors — namely UV radiation.
Once a line is there, is there anything you can do to get rid of it? Or is it more about prevention?
Prevention is always the best treatment, and this definitely goes for fine lines. Hands-down, the most important thing you can do to prevent their onset is protecting yourself from the sun. I like to tell my patients (halfway jokingly), “All bad things come from the sun.” From brown spots to wrinkles to easy bruising on forearms (look at your parents/grandparents arms!) to DNA damage that causes skin cancer… the sun deteriorates our skin, slowly, and damage you can see has been decades in the making. I’m NOT saying stop doing the outdoor activities you love, but do them with at least 30 SPF on, and not during peak sun hours (10 am-2 pm) if you can help it. In the end, we all get wrinkles, but rest assured – starting preventative measures today will have a positive impact on how you look 10 years from now.
What are the most effective natural ways to battle fine lines?
See below for my top four recommendations:
image by allure
Yes, it’s a toxin. And yes, it’s 100% natural!
It’s the fastest, surest way to get rid of those lines. Short for “botulinum toxin”, it’s produced by the bacteria Clostridum Botulinum. It works to temporarily weaken muscles, hence alleviating a major cause of fine lines. Its effects last about three months.
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Retin-A or Tretinoin Cream.
This is a vitamin A derivative that comes in many forms (some over-the-counter, some Rx). It works by hastening cell turnover (naturally exfoliating) and by slowing down the destruction of collagen. This is great for overall skin texture and pore size, and it’s safe to use so long as you’re not pregnant or breastfeeding. Warning: It can be irritating, so you need to pick the right one for you, and your dermatologist can help.
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Wear big, polarized sunglasses.
The more you squint, the faster (and deeper) “crows feet” will appear. Make a habit of wearing shades whenever you’re outside to minimize those repetitive movements.
image by erik putz
Stop drinking out of straws.
You can get “smokers lines” even if you don’t smoke, because those creases are caused by repeated puckering of the lips over time. Protect the sensitive skin around your lips by never sipping out of straws.
image by tina kunakey di vita
Treat yourself well.
Eat well, sleep well (on your back if you can), exercise, don’t smoke, and drink plenty of water. Your skin is a direct reflection of your overall health. All the things we know we should do (but don’t always do) affect our bodies, and therefore our skin. Sleeping on your back can minimize am creases, which are temporary and fade during the day.