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The Difference Between Fine Lines and Wrinkles + The 411 on Prevention

January 12 All day

If I were to pick one beauty term that I wish we would collectively cancel as a society, it would be undoubtedly ‘anti-aging.’ Wrinkles and fine lines are a part of life so instead of fighting them, let’s embrace them and rather strive to look and feel our best at any age. And speaking of fine lines and wrinkles, one question that I get asked quite often is, what is the difference between them? And this may surprise you, but they don’t differ much at all and are rather distinguished according to depth. Typically, fine lines are described as ‘superficial’ creases in the skin, while wrinkles are visibly much deeper.

A Skin Deep Analysis on Both: Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic Aging

As many of you nerds know, our skin is composed of three primary layers — I will be touching on two. The epidermis to start is the thinner, outermost layer, and this is where the renewal of skin cells takes place, commonly known as the 28-day skin cycle or cell turnover, where dead skin cells are shed and replaced. Then there’s the dermis, which is the cushiony part of the skin where you’ll find elastin (this gives the skin its elasticity and resilience) as well as glycosaminoglycans (AKA GAGs) which consist of hyaluronic acid to keep your skin’s hydration and plumpness intact. And last but not least, you’ll find collagen in the dermis as well to provide firmness and to strengthen your skin overall. But as we grow older, and once we hit our 20s, our collagen production decreases, declining at about 1% per year. So naturally, once our senior years come around, our skin gradually becomes more wrinkly due to lost volume. This is what we call intrinsic aging, making extrinsic aging a form of skin aging induced by outside factors — so think oxidative stress, pollution, unprotected UV exposure, toxins from cigarette smoke, as well as diet. All of these components impact the quality and texture of your skin and this can result in a thicker, leather-like skin appearance that emphasizes the depth of your wrinkles and can also spark certain types of precancers like actinic keratosis.

Prevention Tips You Can Start Right Now

When I talk about “prevention”, it’s all about carrying out practices that will aid in slowing down your skin’s deterioration. One non-negotiable preventative tip, and I often, at times, feel like a broken record when saying this, but it’s sun protection. Broad-spectrum SPF is truly your BFF as this form of sunscreen protects against both UVA and UVB — i.e. the culprits behind sun-aging (UVA) and sunburning (UVB). SPF30 and above is what I usually recommend depending on your lifestyle and climate, so if you live in a region with typically hot weather all year round, then an SPF 45 is your best bet. 

The Right Skincare is Key

Now that you’ve learned a couple of prevention tactics, it’s time to back these up with some stellar skincare ingredients:

1. Your A1 Hydrators

  • Glycerin — an underrated, affordable, and non-irritating humectant that instantly gives your skin a firmer and plumper appearance.
  • Urea is another gem. It’s a humectant with keratolytic properties, which means it breaks down the buildup of dead surface skin cells. So the higher the concentration of your urea product, the smoother and plumper your skin will appear. 
  • Beta-glucan — this is a hyaluronic acid alternative that is far more hydrating. It provides intense moisture and does wonders in preventing transepidermal water loss. It’s one of the key ingredients in Laneige’s Water Sleeping Mask, so it’s 100% worth its hype.

2. Your Collagen Boosters

  • Vitamin C is an antioxidant that not only protects your skin from daily damage but also plays a crucial role in the synthesis of collagen.
  • Glycolic acid, which is part of the AHA family and the smallest in size, penetrates the deepest and is also known to accelerate collagen production.
  • Retinol and retinoids are tried and true solutions for fine lines and wrinkles. Some OTC product picks that I back include: Kate Somerville’s +Retinol Firming Eye Cream ($88), A313 Vitamin A Retinol Cream ($26), and L’Oreal’s Revitalift Night Serum with 0.3% Pure Retinol — a lovely entry product for retinol newbies.

For The Overachievers: Lifestyle Tips

In the bedroom department, look into switching your cotton pillowcase to a silk alternative. I know we all have our preferences when it comes to our pillowcase fabrics, but silk is far gentler on the skin and creates less friction as you sleep, so it’s worth adding one to your beauty shopping cart. Diet-wise, you can start incorporating more protein in your meals like fish, chicken, eggs, garlic, and citrus fruits, as these are good sources of collagen-boosting amino acids. Also, antioxidant-rich foods like your leafy greens, blueberries, and mangos are a few samples of superfoods that come with heaps of skin health benefits. But a complete diet overhaul isn’t imperative — I for one refuse to give up the chocolates so only follow this diet if you wish to do so.

All of these tips, while not guaranteed to return you to a fetal state, can all help marginally make you not only feel but also look your best.

Shop my complete list of fine line and wrinkle-control items here: https://shopmyshelf.us/collections/7357 



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