The skin has two primary layers: an outer layer (epidermis) and an inner layer (dermis). Wrinkles don’t happen on the surface – they actually form in the dermis, which is comprised primarily of proteins, like collagen. Aging naturally leads to a decrease in collagen proteins, which is what keeps the skin smooth, soft, and supple. Losing collagen leads to sagging and wrinkles.
We can speed the process of this saggy process if we spend too much time in the sun, especially without proper sunscreen protection, spend much of our time dehydrated, don’t eat well, and have poor sleep habits. Additionally, smoking, drinking, and stress can all equally harm the skin’s appearance.
10 Things to Stop Wrinkles Right Now
Luckily, there are simple ways to prevent wrinkles that you can incorporate into your life right now. Below, here are our top 10 ways to naturally stop wrinkles in their tracks and to boost overall skin health.
1. Eat Omega-3 Fats
Healthy fats like omega-3s, which are found in foods like salmon and walnuts, keep the skin supple because they help retain moisture in the skin’s cells. This naturally decreases wrinkles, since the fuller the skin is of moisture, the less room it has to wrinkle. Omega-3 fats are so healthy for skin that they’re even used to address skin problems, like atopic dermatitis and others. (1)
2. Eat Collagen
As mentioned above, the dermis is primarily made of collagen protein, which we lose as we age. The good news is that collagen is readily available from dietary and supplement sources, and adding it to a regular routine can help to replace the losses that occur from aging. You can get collagen from foods like bone broth and free-range, organic meat, but you can also get it in powder form to add to foods and drinks like coffee, smoothies, and more. As a bonus, collagen does way more than just support healthy skin. It’s also helpful for restoring and maintaining gut health, which is vital for overall healthy aging. (2)
Skin absorbs nutrients like the digestive tract does, so feeding it real food is a game changer. Oils like coconut, argan, avocado, sesame, almond, and jojoba are all excellent moisturizers and offer different levels of moisturizing depending on your skin’s level of dryness. Vitamin E oil is also another topical product you can use; it’s rich in antioxidants and can be especially moisturizing for facial skin. (3)
Just like the skin absorbs nutrients, it also needs hydration, just like the rest of the body. (4) Dry skin leads to wrinkles because the top layers of skin cells shrivel the plump cells beneath the surface, resulting in fine lines and dry, dull skin. (5)
There are natural products which can serve as natural moisturizers, so you can skip the expensive creams that make promises of reducing wrinkles. Instead, opt for skin food like the oils mentioned above. Moisturize a few times a day, at least in the morning and before bed. Remember that moisturizing the surface of your skin is like drinking water for the rest of your tissues; you can’t just do it once in the day and be done.
If you want to take it up a notch, start using homemade face masks, which can be as simple as mashed banana and coconut oil. Mash one banana with a teaspoon of melted coconut oil, apply to your face, and leave on for 10 to 20 minutes. Remove with a warm washcloth, rinse with water, and then moisturize.
4. Use a Silk Pillow
If we get the sleep we’re supposed to, we literally spend one-third of our existence in bed, asleep. How we spend that time can affect the way that our wrinkles develop. Your pillow could even be leading to the development of new wrinkles, especially if it’s coarse or lumpy. Sleep wrinkles can develop along the “crow’s feet” lines of the eyes because of the way the skin folds in response to the surface of the pillow. (6)
By swapping your pillow for a silk or satin pillowcase as well as an ultra-soft pillow (think: feather), we can change the way that our skin lies while we’re fast asleep.
5. Get Quality Sleep
Speaking of sleep, you need to make sure you’re getting enough of it! A lack of sleep and perpetual tiredness can quickly increase wrinkles and fine lines, even just making us look older in other ways (bags under eyes, dark circles, etc.). (7) How much sleep you need might vary slightly, but most adults need seven to nine hours. If you’re skimping on sleep or struggle with insomnia, you’re going to age faster than if you were well-rested.
If wrinkles are a concern, prioritizing your sleep issues and finding some solutions can be an important way to improve your health overall.
While you’re at it, make sure you’re sleeping on your back. Sleeping on your side can lead to more wrinkle formation because – you guessed it – gravity pulls your face down, even slightly. When you consider how many hours you could be lying like that, it adds up to a lot of time spent with your skin being tugged down.
6. Use Sunscreen Daily
Protecting your skin from the sun is one of the best ways to prevent signs of premature aging on your skin. In fact, UV radiation exposure is one of the primary ways to develop wrinkles and other signs of aging. (8)
Thankfully, in the modern market, there are many sunscreen options, including some that are organic and made for sensitive skin (without fragrance, for example), yet still get the job done. There are many great products out there, but I personally love Sun Bum, which I use on myself and my kids.
7. Keep Hydrated
Our skin needs hydration to remain plump and firm. When we get dehydrated, we not only get thirsty, but our skin cells also lose water and can lose volume, increasing the chances of developing wrinkles and losing skin vitality. (9)
Hydration is a necessary part of health. Without enough water, the cells cannot transport nutrients in the bloodstream, including oxygen and antioxidants. A lack of antioxidants is one of the main factors associated with aging of the skin. (10)
While the actual amount of water you need each day can differ from someone else, a good baseline is 64 ounces, but gauge your own personal level of hydration by the color of your urine. Yes, that’s right: If your urine is pale and almost clear, that probably means you’re getting the fluids that you need. If it’s darker yellow or even amber, you’re low on fluids and need to bump it up.
8. Wash Your Face (but Not Too Much)
Sleeping in your makeup is a fast-fast-track to fine lines and wrinkles (think about all the chemicals and preservatives in foundation, blush, etc.) However, washing your face too much can also lead to wrinkles because it can dry the skin out – especially if you’re using harsh cleansers or soaps.
Washing your face first thing in the morning before moisturizing and apply makeup is a great way to start the day, as well as removing makeup at the day’s end and moisturizing before bed. You don’t need a complicated and lengthy skincare routine to reap the benefits of clean skin.
9. Eat Antioxidants
Most people think of vitamin C as the nutrient you take to avoid the flu, but the health benefits it offers come from the fact that it’s a potent antioxidant. Eating more vitamin C-rich foods can help with healthy, plump skin – and remember, the more plump and hydrated the skin cells are, the fewer wrinkles there will be. Vitamin C works to prevent wrinkles because it is rich in antioxidants, which combat oxidative stress, one of the factors associated with an aging appearance. (11) Vitamin C is found abundantly in fruits and vegetables, especially citrus, bell peppers, broccoli, and all types of berries.
10. Manage Stress
Stress of any kind can play a role in altering the skin’s barrier function, which can result in oxidative damage and skin disorders like atopic dermatitis. (12, 13) Stress can be tied to specific events, but it can also be tied to lifestyle.
If you’re under a lot of stress, start using some lifestyle modifications to help provide some relief. For some, this might be deep breathing or meditation, but for others, it could be yoga, journaling, therapy, dance, music, art, or anything else that brings you joy. Also be more conscious of the expression on your face, as repetitive expressions can induce wrinkles at a younger age. (14)
(Read This Next: The 13 Best Ingredients for Natural Skin Care)