The best long-term prevention for overly wrinkled skin is a healthy lifestyle.
Eat Healthy. A diet with plenty of whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and healthy oils (such as olive oil) may protect against oxidative stress in the skin. Benefits from these foods may be due to high levels of antioxidants found in them.
Exercise. Daily exercise keeps blood flowing, which brings oxygen to the skin. Oxygen is an important ingredient for healthy skin.
Avoid tobacco smoke. Smoking not only increases wrinkles, but a smoker's risk for squamous cell cancers is 50% higher than that of a nonsmoker. People should quit smoking to prevent many health problems, not just unhealthy skin. Secondhand smoke is also dangerous.
Daily Preventive Skin Care
The following are some daily measures for skin protection:
- Don't wash your face too often with tap water. (Once a day is enough.) It strips the skin of oil and moisture. Chlorinated water, particularly at high temperatures, poses special risks for wrinkles.
- Wash your face with a mild soap that contains moisturizers. Avoid alkaline soaps, especially with deodorant.
- Pat the skin dry and immediately apply a water-based moisturizer.
- Always apply sunscreen, even if going outdoors for short periods of time. Research has shown that applying a cream containing a UVA and UVB protective sunscreen every day helps prevent sun-related skin damage.
- Avoid drinking alcohol within 3 hours of bedtime. Alcohol increases the risk for leaks in the capillaries, which allows more water in and causes sagging and puffiness. Capillary leakage increases when you lie down.
- Lie on your back when sleeping. This helps offset the effects of gravity.
Review Date: 10/15/2010
Reviewed By: Harvey Simon, MD, Editor-in-Chief, In-Depth Reports; Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Physician, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.