Some celebrities swear by the idea that avoiding facial expressions like smiling also helps them avoid wrinkles, and it can be easy to fall for this myth when you look closely at their smooth, wrinkle-free skin.
However, smiling isn’t entirely to blame for your wrinkles — and it isn’t what’s keeping celebrities’ skin looking young.
Wrinkles, which are a result of aging skin and volume loss, are completely natural. Still, it’s normal to feel self-conscious about them, especially if you feel like they make you look older than you feel. Many people go to great lengths to prevent or treat wrinkles including intricate skincare routines, injections or surgeries.
With all the information out there, it can be difficult to know what’s true and what’s just a ploy to get you to spend more money on skin products and services.
5 Common Wrinkle Myths
Unfortunately, there’s no magic pill that will make your skin look young forever, but there are ways to prevent damage and reduce fine lines. Here are five myths about wrinkles, debunked.
Myth #1: My parents both have wrinkles — and I’m bound to get them, too
Fact: You may have inherited your eyes or your humor from your parents, but probably not your wrinkles.
“When it comes to wrinkles, there are other much more impactful factors than genetics at play. For instance, up to 90 percent of visible skin changes are a result of damage from the sun, called photo damage,” explains Ivona Percec, MD, PhD, physician at Penn Plastic Surgery.
Since when you start getting wrinkles is not completely dependent on genetics, skincare is not a lost cause, especially when a regimen is started early and consistently maintained throughout life. There are ways to slow down the process of aging in your skin, including:
- Wearing sunscreen of 50 SPF, not only every day, but with reapplication every two hours, even when it’s not noticeably sunny
- Moisturizing and using protective antioxidants
- Avoiding products that sting, burn or cause inflammation
- Using products only as directed on the label or by your provider
- Adapting products to changing skin qualities with age or changes in weather, etc.
As you get older, fine lines are inevitably going to appear, whether or not they seem to run in your family. However, you can keep those lines from forming earlier than normal if you take care of your skin early on to prevent further damage.
Myth #2: There’s one perfect anti-aging skincare routine out there
Fact: Your sister, best friend, mother, neighbor — everyone has a different skincare routine. The question is: Does someone have the secret to a perfect skin routine that avoids wrinkles and everyone else is just wasting their time?
“The short answer is no; there’s not one perfect anti-aging skincare routine you’re missing out on,” explains Dr. Ivona Percec.
Skincare routines involve a lot of trial and error, and finding what works best for you. However, there are some key factors and ingredients to consider that apply to everyone.
Tips on getting the most out of your anti-aging skincare routine include:
- Start with one product and let your skin adapt to it before introducing additional products. Using multiple anti-aging products from the get-go can irritate your skin.
- Use products with proven clinical grade ingredients such as retinols, antioxidants and peptides.
- Give your routine time to work — most anti-aging products take at least six weeks to actually work and some can take up to three months.
- Keep using products that work, and don’t stop once you’ve seen the results you want. Prevention is key.
Don’t forget to utilize your resources, such as your primary care provider, dermatologist or plastic surgeon, who specialize in taking care of your skin.
Myth #3: The best treatments for wrinkles are expensive
Fact: Because wrinkles are inevitable, many companies have formulated treatments and procedures claiming to make your skin smooth and wrinkle-free — some of which come with a hefty price tag.
But wrinkle treatments don’t have to break the bank, and there are ways to take care of your skin without spending excessive amounts of money.
If you’ve found yourself spending hundreds of dollars on dozens of different anti-wrinkle creams, stop over-treating and overspending. The most effective wrinkle routines are minimal, and you should use as few products as possible. Downsizing your regimen will save you money, and it’s better for your skin, anyway. Finally, consider medical-grade products first, as these are typically safer, more effective and less expensive than products sold at department or beauty supply stores.
Read more about skincare treatments offered at Penn Medicine.
Myth #4: Moisturizing prevents wrinkles from forming
Fact: Giving some love to your skin through moisture is a must, but it’s not going to necessarily prevent wrinkles from forming. However, it may make them a little less noticeable.
Moisturizer, along with sunscreen, is one of the most critical skincare products. However, it’s often slightly misrepresented as a way to prevent wrinkles.
“When you apply moisturizer, it traps the water in your skin, keeping skin hydrated and plumped. This can make your wrinkles less visible, but it won’t prevent them from forming in the first place,” adds Dr. Percec.
Don’t throw away your moisturizer just yet, though. In addition to reducing the appearance of wrinkles, moisturizer will brighten your complexion, which is also helpful to make wrinkles less obvious.
The bottom line: Moisturize regularly, but don’t rely on moisturizing alone to halt the aging process and prevent wrinkles from forming.
Myth #5: You only need to wear sunscreen when it’s sunny
Fact: When the sun is shining, you might feel it burning your skin, reminding you to apply — and reapply — sunscreen. However, even when the clouds are out it’s essential to wear sunscreen and protective sun gear such as hats and sunglasses.
Not only does sunscreen reduce your chances of skin cancer, it’s also one of the most effective anti-aging products available. Sunscreen protects your skin from damaging UV rays, and it also allows your skin to repair itself to prevent further damage. The newest sunscreens can further protects against other damaging forces such as blue light, infrared and pollution, which we now know also contribute significantly to skin aging.
To get the most out of your sunscreen, use a broad-spectrum sunscreen, which contains protection for UVA and UVB rays as well as other sources of damage.
“You should also find a sunscreen that contains antioxidants to get extra protection from light and pollution,” says Dr. Percec.
There’s no product or procedure that can completely reverse the damage of not wearing sunscreen. If you prefer the look of sun-kissed skin, avoid tanning beds since they can cause just as much damage, if not more so, than the sun. Try self-tanner — your skin will thank you for it.
Read more about how to choose the right sunscreen.
Take Care of Your Skin and Embrace Change
It’s normal to get frustrated with the fine lines that appear on your skin over time. But remember: Those lines represent all the years you’ve lived and the experiences you’ve had. While you should be sure to take care of your skin, try to embrace the way your skin changes as you grow older.
There are methods to prevent and treat your wrinkles, but it’s also important to remain realistic. Wrinkles may not completely disappear, but there are ways to smooth them, boost your confidence and improve how you feel about your skin.
“Keep in mind: Some of the least expensive ways to fight aging involve no creams whatsoever. For instance, getting more sleep, hydrating and avoiding sun exposure can prevent signs of aging. Also, certain ingredients in foods, such as vitamin C in tomatoes, may keep your skin healthy and prevent wrinkles,” explains Dr. Percec.