That's why we've highlighted some of our most fundamental picks from WebMD's comprehensive list of "23 Ways to Reduce Wrinkles." (To view the article in its entirety, please click the nearby link.)
- Sleep on your back. The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) cautions that sleeping in certain positions night after night leads to "sleep lines -- wrinkles that become etched into the surface of the skin and don't disappear once you're up. Sleeping on your side increases wrinkles on cheeks and chin, while sleeping face-down gives you a furrowed brow. To reduce wrinkle formation, the AAD says, sleep on your back.
- Don't smoke. Some of the research is still controversial, but more and more studies are confirming that cigarette smoke ages skin -- mostly by releasing an enzyme that breaks down collagen and elastin, important components of the skin. Sibling studies done at the Twin Research Unit at St. Thomas Hospital in London found the brother or sister who smoked tended to have skin that was more wrinkled and up to 40% thinner than the non-smoker.
- Don't over-wash your face. According to dermatologists at the University of Maryland Medical Center, tap water strips skin of its natural barrier oils and moisture that protect against wrinkles. Wash them off too often, and you wash away protection. Moreover, unless your soap contains moisturizers, you should use a cleanser instead.
- Get adequate sleep. Yale dermatologist Nicholas Perricone, MD, says that when you don't get enough sleep, the body produces excess cortisol, a hormone that breaks down skin cells. Get enough rest, Perricone says, and you'll produce more HGH (human growth hormone), which helps skin remain thick, more "elastic," and less likely to wrinkle.
- Eat more fish -- particularly salmon. Not only is salmon (along with other cold-water fish) a great source of protein -- one of the building blocks of great skin -- it's also an awesome source of an essential fatty acid known as omega-3. Perricone tells WebMD that essential fatty acids help nourish skin and keep it plump and youthful, helping to reduce wrinkles.
- Avoid the sun. It's the No. 1 cause of wrinkles, with dozens of studies documenting the impact. In one study that looked at identical twins, New York plastic surgeon Darrick Antell, MD, found sun exposure was even more important than heredity. Siblings who limited sun time had fewer wrinkles and looked younger overall than their sun-worshiping twins.
And of course, if you're looking to combat wrinkles with topical products consider using products that contain the following:
- Retinoids (including Retin A). The only FDA-approved topical treatment for wrinkles is tretinoin, known commercially as Retin A. Ashinoff says this prescription cream reduces fine lines and large wrinkles, and repairs sun damage. Retinol is a natural form of vitamin A found in many over-the-counter products. Studies show that in a stabilized formula, in high concentrations, it may be as effective as Retin A, without the side effects, such as skin burning and sensitivity.
- For a less concentrated formula, we like RoC's Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Night Cream because it reduces the appearance of fine lines and moisturizes skin while you sleep. It's also smartly packaged in an aluminum tube to protect it from light and air exposure. (Available at http://www.drugstore.com/roc-retinol-correxion-deep-wrinkle-night-cream/qxp88061.)
- There are products from other brands that offer a higher concentration of retinol (such as 1.0%, verses RoC's 0.1%). One of the brands we keep hearing about is SkinCeuticals (a few of their products were even picked by Allure, InStyle, and Redbook magazine).
- We like Alpha Hydrox's Foaming Face Wash because it's delicate enough use around the eye area, yet tough enough to improve fine lines and overall skin clarity. What makes this face wash even better is that it's oil and alcohol-free, making it suitable for multiple skin types. (Available at http://www.drugstore.com/alpha-hydrox-foaming-face-wash/qxp16737.)