What Causes Wrinkles?
Have you ever wondered what causes wrinkles? There are many factors that contribute to premature aging of the skin. While age is an oft-cited factor, the truth is turning a certain age does not mean you’ll automatically develop wrinkles. However, exposing yourself to oxidative stress which degrades collagen, does.
As we age, and expose our body to the environmental factors (including the rest of the items on this list) over years or decades, this leads to oxidative stress, which in turn leads to the reduction in quantity and productivity of our fibroblasts (AKA our collagen producing cells). (1)
This is why two people of the same age can have different amounts of aging of the skin. Wrinkle formation as a result of aging is inevitable, but we can delay and minimize it through our diet, lifestyle, and skincare habits.
6 Common Habits that Cause Wrinkles:
High sugar consumption
A high-sugar diet increases the rate of glycation, a process in which blood sugars attach to proteins to form new molecules called advanced glycation end products (AGEs). (3)
AGEs are aptly named, as they quite literally, age you. They damage nearby proteins and can make collagen dry, brittle, and weak, resulting in less taut, pre-maturely aged skin.
PRO TIP: Cutting refined sugar and carbohydrates out of your diet is one of the best things you can do for your health. It will help you slim down, eliminate brain fog, give you more energy and lower your risk for heart disease, diabetes, and many chronic illnesses. Try my paleo meal plan, or let me help you through a sugar detox as part of my nutrition course. You can also check out these fruit sweetened dessert recipes such as banana ice cream or date truffles.
Not Consuming Enough Antioxidants
Vegetables and fruit are both excellent sources of antioxidants, which help protect our body against the oxidative stress that can age our skin. Additionally, they’re generally a great source of Vitamin C, a critical nutrient for collagen production.
A diet devoid or low in fresh produce is one that will be low in antioxidants. I recommend at least 50% of your plate should be made up of veggies or fruit at every meal. Check out my recipe section for a variety of delicious antioxidant-rich vegetable-focused dishes.
Sun exposure (UV radiation)
Smoking damages collagen and elastin, which leads to premature aging of the skin. (7)
Research shows that chronic psychological stress appears to accelerate biological aging due to oxidative stress. (8) All you have to do is look at side-by-side photos of any president to see the effect stress has on physical aging.
PRO TIP: Physical activities, such as yoga and exercise can help reduce stress. However, in order to substantially reduce and prevent chronic stress, the emphasis should be on mental activities, namely meditation and changing your perspective, so you’re not constantly making a mountain out of a mole hill. For me, these two things have been pivotal in developing a calmer nervous system and better ability to deal with stress. Check out my podcast interview with a top meditation instructor (she helped me finally learn how to meditate after many failed attempts) and the book that helped me change my perspective so I could stop stressing all the small things.
Being constantly dehydrated – even slightly – can lead to premature aging of the skin. That’s because connective tissue such as collagen is one of the first parts of the body to stop receiving water when we get dehydrated, as your body gives priority to vital organs like the brain and lungs for whatever hydration you do have.
When collagen is inadequately hydrated, its strands start to crack and adhere to one another, leading to the formation of wrinkles. Aim to get in at least 2.2 liters of water a day, and to eat an abundance of water rich vegetables and fruit. If you don’t love the taste of water, try one of these spa water recipes.
How to Prevent Wrinkles
To prevent collagen breakdown:
- Eat an abundance of anti-oxidant rich vegetables and fruit. Aim to make at least 50% of your plate veggies at every meal
- Cut out refined carbohydrates and sugar. This includes anything made with white flour (bread, cereal, pasta, crackers, etc.).
- Drink adequate water, daily. That amounts to at least 2.2 liters of water for women and 2.5 liters of water for men. You will need more if it’s hot, with exercise, sauna use, or any profuse sweating.
- Protect your skin from the sun.
- Avoid alcohol and cigarettes.
- Actively manage your stress everyday. Meditate. Exercise. But most importantly, train your brain not to get triggered so easily.
- Add in a supplement that helps your body produce more collagen.
So now you know what causes wrinkles and how to prevent them.