Under the Eyes of the Beholder: Wrinkles, Expression Lines and Wine

For those of us who tend to be at a baseline moderately joyful in our everyday lives, it seems completely unfair that we would be tapped with the sad sight of our happiness etched upon our eyes and cheeks – the dreaded crow’s feet, or laugh lines. Expression lines like those in your forehead can also become part of the package. Lame.

First, let’s talk a little bit about wrinkles.

Think of your skin as a rubber band.  When you get that rubber band out of the package it is taught, has resistance when you stretch it, and snaps right back into shape.  Over time as you keep stretching and keep stretching, it loses it’s elasticity and original shape, or strength to hold the thing it’s wrapped around tightly.  I’m currently eyeing one of my hair ties that looks like a loaf of French bread and the elastic showing.  Sad.

Now, no matter what we do, over time that rubber band will reach the same result.  But, let’s say that we left the rubber band in the elements (sun, cold) and then pulled on it.  That elasticity would break down much faster over time as the rubber dries out and starts to crumble. Or the dirt and debris would hinder it from stretching as it should.

Conversely let’s pretend we continued to yank on that rubber band as a stress reliever, stretching and relaxing it over and over.  You only get so many stretches out of the life of a rubber band.  As they say in Indiana Jones – “choose wisely.”

The same thing happens to our skin as collagen begins to break down. We raise our eyebrows while pleading with our children to stop fighting, smile big at your friend’s inappropriate yet hilarious joke, forget the nighttime moisturizer 362 days out of the year and yet expect a miracle the 3 times you use it, and sleep with our faces smashed in our pillows after a glass or 4 of dehydrating wine (BUT IT HAS ANTIOXIDANTS…!).

Wrinkles are not created equal, nor is the treatment.

If you take my example above, this will give you some insight into the different types of wrinkles, how they are caused, and how to address them. Generally I’d say that preventative measures like diet, proper sun and prescription glasses to reduce squinting, hydrating moisturizers, and sun protection are the basics.  If you won’t commit to those things, it will be really hard to treat or prevent wrinkles. There is no magic potion out there.

Dehydration lines – if I wanted a favorite wrinkle (similar to a favorite patch of cellulite…), this would be it.  That’s because it’s easily treatable. Dehydration lines are thin and light.  You may see that one day you look a bit haggard and tired after a night out, but a weekend of proper hydrating and those lines are gone.  Moisturize both inside and out to prevent those lines becoming permanent.  Moisturizers high in fatty acids, ceramides, humectants and antioxidants are key.  Oils can also be used.  There’s tons on the market.

Expression & Laugh Lines – I have a love/hate relationship with these.  I think that people who smile and are expressive are beautiful and look natural. These are caused by raising your eyebrows, squinting, smiling, etc. Proper hydration with good moisturizers day and night will help (remember that rubber band). Peels to remove hardened skin that has lost elasticity and retinoids to help resurface the skin will soften the look of lines.  Injectables like Botox and Dysport weaken or freeze the muscles, and lasers can help with the look and future creation of wrinkles with resurfacing and building of collagen.  This can be pricey and has health risks (not to mention is a frozen face with no expression better than a few lines?) so make sure to find a reputable doctor and be ready to open the wallet.

Stubborn wrinkles – these come about as we age and become permanent lines on our faces. The above measures will stave off the process, keeping your skin looking fresher and plumper.  If you get to the point where wrinkles are a permanent piece of you, your options may need to be more clinical.  This includes options above like Botox or Dysport, and also fillers like Juvederm to literally fill in those lines.

With all this said, at the end of the day be proud of your experiences in life.  It’s OK that they show a little!  Besides, there are studies that show that women who have sun damage/dark spots but no wrinkles look much older than women of the same age with minimal sun damage and wrinkles – so laugh it up over a glass of wine!

Do you have a favorite that keeps wrinkles at bay?  Drop us a line in the comments.

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