Whether we like it or not, wrinkles are a fact of life.  All of us, no matter how diligent or genetically blessed we are, will end up getting them at some point.

However, just because they’re inevitable doesn’t mean we can’t slow the process down a little.

In today’s article, we’re going to be talking all about why wrinkles happen, and what you can do today to prevent them.

What Causes Wrinkles?

In order to understand how wrinkles form, it’s important to understand what causes them in the first place.

Wrinkles are generally associated with the natural course of aging.  While that’s certainly true, there are specific physiological causes associated with aging that we need to consider.

And while there are a number of these causes, we’ll focus on two in particular- because these are the ones we can actually do something about.

The first is the one that most of you have at least heard of- collagen.  Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body.  As a strong, tough, structural protein, it’s found in the bodies connective tissues, including the skin.

As the collagen in our skin is damaged over the course of our lives, it is continually regenerated within the human body.  However, as we age, the rate at which we produce new collage decreases, leading to the breakdown of our skin, and ultimately, the formation of wrinkles.

The second is another protein called elastin, and it’s exactly what it sounds like- a stretchy protein found abundantly in the skin.

Like collagen, elastin is broken down over time, leading to the appearance of wrinkles.

Why Prevention Is The Best Cure

There’s a reason this article is titled “How To PREVENT Wrinkles” rather than “How To Treat Wrinkles”, and that is because it’s much, MUCH easier to stop wrinkles before they start.

So, here are some preventative strategies you should be taking:

#1: Limit Sun Exposure

This one can’t be overstated- if you want to burn out and damage your skins collagen and elastin, spending hours and hours in the sun is a great way to do it.  Excessive sun exposure damages elastin and causes the body to produce enzymes that break down collagen.

Now, with that said, this doesn’t mean that you should completely avoid the sun.  Not only does a slight tan look good, but a lack of sun exposure can cause a host of other issues later on down the road (including lack of vitamin D).

What we’re saying is a.) don’t go baking for hours on end, and b.) make sure you wear sunscreen if you’re out for longer than 10 or 20 minutes.

#3: Moisturize And Drink Enough Water

Now that we’ve covered how to prevent collagen and elastin damage, let’s talk about some other things we can do.  Because while this may not prevent wrinkles per se, it does prevent the appearance of wrinkles.

You want to make sure that your skin stays nice and hydrated.  This will plump it up and give it a much smoother look.

There are two main ways to do this- the first is by using a moisturizing cream on your skin.  The second is to make sure you’re hydrated from the inside out by drinking enough water (aim for about 8 glasses per day).

#2: Stop Smoking And Drinking

In terms of the potential for permanently damaging your skin, these two are right up there with sun exposure.

We’ll start with the worst offender- smoking (like you need another reason not to smoke).  In addition to being just terrible for your health in general, smoking is a major cause of inflammation in the skin.

Remember how we said that collagen breaks down as we age?  Well, one of the key reasons is inflammation.  As the skin becomes inflamed and irritated, your body produces an enzyme called collagenase, which signals the breakdown of old collagen.

Unfortunately for you smokers out there, this is hands down one of the worst causes of inflammation there is.

And excessive drinking is not far behind.  That doesn’t mean you have to forgo alcohol all together. It just means that you need to exhibit moderation (ESPECIALLY if you’re not in your 20’s anymore).

#4: Protect The Skin Under Your Eyes

This is not only one of the most sensitive areas on your body, but it’s also one of the first signs of wrinkles and aging.

The same preventative strategies you’d use for the rest of your skin apply here.  But because the skin in this region is so thin and prone to wrinkling, additional measure need to be taken.

While there are a number of eye creams that will moisturize this area and improve its appearance, the best thing you can do is to keep it out of the sun.  Get a good quality pair of sunglasses with UV filters, and wear them every time you’re outside during the day.

When it comes to anti-aging, prevention truly is king.   By being proactive NOW and stopping the damage before it starts, you can do a lot to prevent and delay wrinkles and slow down the aging process.