Some things are inevitable like death, taxes, and wrinkles. While none of us can stop wrinkles, there are things we can do to minimize them. One important first step in this process is to better understand what causes wrinkles. Not all contributing factors can be avoided, but some can.

Here are a few factors that are responsible for the formation of wrinkles:

  • Sun exposure – The allure of lying poolside to achieve that deep bronze tan is hard to resist, but few things age us as rapidly as sun exposure. The sun’s UV rays destroy the collagen and elastin that keep your skin firm and flexible. Once those supportive tissues begin to weaken, sagging and wrinkles begin to appear. You can avoid the premature appearance of wrinkles by wearing sunscreen every time you venture outdoors.
  • Free radicals – We get more than just sun-damaged skin from the sun’s UV rays. The harsh rays of the sun also contribute to the formation of free radicals in the body. Free radicals are rogue oxygen molecules with missing electrons. The rogue molecules try to find their missing components and, in the process, break down collagen and damage skin cells. Exposure to sun, smoking, and air pollution all contribute to the formation of free radicals. Avoiding these three factors can help you prevent the onset of premature aging.
  • Smoking – There is a long list of how smoking can cause wrinkles. Nicotine in cigarettes causes the blood vessels to narrow, making it difficult for blood, oxygen, and nutrients to reach the outermost layer of the skin. Smoke is damaging to collagen and elastin fibers in the skin. Also, the repeated motion of sucking on a cigarette can also cause wrinkles. Stopping cigarette smoking will go a long way in preventing the untimely appearance of facial wrinkles.
  • Facial expressions – Making repetitive facial expressions can leave patterns in your facial skin. You will notice frown lines, laugh lines, “worry lines” from pinched forehead muscles, and crow’s feet around your eyes when you laugh or squint.
  • Gender – Women have less sweat and oil glands than men. This may feel like a good thing in youth, but it can have negative effects later in life because wrinkles appear faster in skin that is less oily.
  • Age – The aging process is the main contributor to wrinkles. As a person ages, the collagen and elastin support framework begins to break down. Add to this the decreased production of oil, the disappearance of subcutaneous fat, and the thinning of the skin and you have the perfect storm for the formation of wrinkles.
  • Poor nutrition – Skin can age more slowly and gracefully if you eat nutritious food. Too much sugar in the diet and vitamin deficiencies can deplete collagen and hasten the appearance of aging.

While most of us would prefer to avoid the topic of aging altogether, information is power. Knowing about factors and behaviors that contribute to aging can position us for greater success in our quest to look and feel young.