Updated 5/2/18. Now more than ever, there is much awareness of the desire to prevent wrinkles by getting a jump start at an earlier age. By practicing good lifestyle and skincare habits now, you’ll get a bigger payoff in years to come with beautiful, glowing skin and fewer lines, wrinkles and brown spots.
It’s a fact that preventing visible skin aging is far easier and less expensive than getting rid of it once it appears. In this post, you’ll learn ten tips that anyone of any age needs to be doing immediately to prevent wrinkles for a long-lasting youthful appearance.
How should I be caring for my skin to prevent wrinkles and slow down visible aging?
1. Re-assess any prescription medications that you may be taking or applying to your skin.
The most common medications for the skin are:
- Oral antibiotics for clearing acne
- Topical creams and gels for clearing acne
- Birth control pills
As you get well into your 20s, they could be negatively affecting the appearance of your skin. Dryness, irritation or pigmentation are common side effects which are never good for your skin’s health—or in your quest to prevent wrinkles.
You may have outgrown your acne and oral and topical medication may not be needed.
Are you still using acne products prescribed in your younger years? Do you fear if you go off of them, you’ll be back to your teenage breakouts? In a lot of cases, by the time you’re in your 20s, you may have outgrown the severe hormone-induced acne from your younger years. Why take it or use it if you don’t need it? I believe oral antibiotics should be a short-term strategy and not be overused but this is a conversation between you and your doctor. If a topical prescription cream is drying out your skin, this can be easily controlled with gentler, non-prescription options. To clear and prevent breakouts, I recommend using a product with salicylic acid like BHA Clarifying Serum or Pore + Wrinkle Perfecting Serum. Additionally, a product for cystic hormonal breakouts like Anti Cyst Treatment can be used without drying out the skin. The goal is to create a healthy, balanced environment for the skin so it can look its best as well as slowing down what is inevitable to appear—wrinkles!
If you’re dealing with adult acne and can’t seem to get it under control, read how to prevent adult hormonal breakouts.
Did you know that birth control pills can increase skin pigmentation above the upper lip, cheeks, and forehead?
A lot of people wonder why they have a dark shading (kind of like a mustache) above their lip or patches of brown pigment on areas of their face. More than likely, this could be caused by the hormonal changes occurring from birth control pills that stimulate melanin production. This can come at any time and just show up out of nowhere. Talk with your doctor about potentially changing doses because the longer its there, the more difficult it may be to get rid of. Read how birth control pills affect the skin.
Using a retinoid prescription for acne? Stick with it since it’s helping to prevent wrinkles.
One of the greatest discoveries in skincare was finding out that an FDA-approved topical cream developed for acne was in fact multi-tasking as a wrinkle prevention product. You can read all about how this was discovered here (it’s a great story!). If you had acne as a teen and were prescribed a retinoid cream or gel, consider yourself lucky. You got a serious jumpstart on preventing wrinkles and I highly recommend you keeping using it.
2. For wrinkle prevention, don’t get caught in the cycle of over-drying your skin.
I often hear, “My skin can get dry so I need a good moisturizer that won’t cause me to breakout.” Sound familiar? My first question is always “Why is your skin feeling so dry?” It’s usually because they are exfoliating way too much or using a drying cleanser and damaging their skin’s protective barrier. Your skin cells are like fish and need water to live so you don’t want to be putting the skin in an unhealthy state with harsh products. If you’re still getting breakouts, there are gentle ways to keep your skin clear. Using a hydrating acne mask like Rapid Response Detox Masque can be incredibly effective. (Yes, shocking I know. There is such a thing as an acne mask that actually hydrates!) Or better yet, use this peel/mask duo every week to really get adult breakouts under control while helping to prevent wrinkles, too.
Here are some posts that would be great to gain new knowledge.
Dry vs dehydrated skin: There’s a difference and you need to know what it is
The beginner’s guide to exfoliation
Five ways to hydrate oily, acne-prone skin without causing breakouts
3. To prevent wrinkles, get to know your skin type and use products exclusively for your needs and goals.
For most people, your skin acts way different now than when you were younger. It’s important to evolve your skin routine to give you your desired result. If you’re still thinking you need to put your skin into the standard dry, normal and oily skin types, it’s time that you think about your skin in a new way. It can be hard to find a routine that works in harmony to give your skin the perfect balance, but it is possible. Your skin changes every decade and you need to know the best way to care for it. Find your true skin type by taking my skin type quiz. You can also schedule a virtual consultation with an esthetician for personalized advice.
4. Be mindful of how you sleep so you can prevent wrinkles from appearing.
It’s thought that after sun exposure, the second cause of wrinkles is from sleep. Specifically from how the position of your face lays on the pillow night after night. As an esthetician, I can tell by looking at some faces (more so after the age of 45) if they are a side or back sleeper. Side sleepers will have creases on their chest known as “sleep cleavage”. On the face, I can see a vertical line that has formed in the area where their nose and cheek meets. (I see this more so on men.) For back sleepers, I’ll see deeper horizontal lines on their neck from this area being squished with the chin pushing down.
For me, as you can see in this photo, I choose to sleep on my side with my head positioned in the bottom corner of an extra firm pillow. I know many of you think that you can’t really control your position once you sleep, but I challenge you to think differently. I believe that your subconscious can control it if it’s really important to you. That’s been my experience, at least. There are also special sleep pillows that can force you to stay in a certain position so you might consider those.
5. For wrinkle prevention, get serious about your sun protection—365 days a year, rain or shine, inside or out.
How to prevent wrinkles? Sunscreen, when applied generously during your morning skincare routine and then reapplied as needed, is the MOST effective way to preventing wrinkles. Daylight and sunlight (even when coming through windows) are causing a considerable amount of DNA damage to your skin without you even realizing it. Many people are still not making sunscreen use an everyday habit. The reason is usually that they can’t find a proper sunscreen that is compatible with their skin type since many of them feel heavy and can clog the pores. I’m here to tell you that sunscreens have come a long way. There are many great formulas available that won’t feel greasy or cause problems. Find one that you’ll enjoy wearing day in and day out, and feel confident that you’re using the best preventative wrinkle product on the planet. Recommended lightweight sunscreen: Daily Protection SPF 30 is a lightweight daily moisturizer that will not cause breakouts. Trust me on this one. Plus, it can be used nicely under makeup and won’t pill or ball up.
6. To prevent wrinkles, treat your neck as an extension of your face.
For my younger readers, you do have the knowledge of how to prevent wrinkles more so than your mother may have. (Due to research and awareness of skin aging that is available.) However, your use of a cell phone is not helping you with your neck. You may have read about what is known as “tech neck.” The 45-degree angle that you hang your head to look at your cell phone causes a repeated squishing of the neck resulting in premature folds and wrinkles to appear. (This happens to back sleepers, too.) Even without ever doing making this position, the neck is at a disadvantage for appearing older than the face since there is less bone structure to support the skin. This will all lead to eventual sagginess. In your quest to prevent wrinkles, you want to pay attention to how you care for your neck.
Treat your neck as its own area.
Don’t make the mistake of treating your neck as an afterthought. For example, a person will typically rub moisturizer onto his or her face and then whatever is left over on the fingertips will extend down on to the neck. Sound like you? While the intention is good, it’s truly not helping that much in the for keeping the skin on the neck tight and smooth. You must apply your skin care products to the neck in the same way you would apply them to the face.
Apply sunscreen to the neck generously.
Just like the face, sunscreen needs to be applied generously in order to offer full sun protection in order to prevent wrinkles. The best way to apply sunscreen to this area is by doing a full second application exclusively to the neck. You must be thorough in your application in order for it to do its job efficiently. Read how to apply sunscreen to the face and neck.
Learn how to care for the neck and chest.
You don’t want to forget about the chest either since this area gets tremendous amounts of sun damage. Read how to repair damage to the neck and chest.
Someone once told me, “You’re only as young as your neck.” I believe it.
7. How to prevent wrinkles? Start using an eye cream and undereye exfoliator NOW.
Did you know if the eye area is the first area to age due to wear and tear from smiling, squinting and rubbing? Keeping it hydrated and nourished is essential for preventing premature lines and wrinkles. It’s important to know that eye creams don’t need to be heavy and greasy to work. In fact, the heavier they are, the more they could actually be causing wrinkles. This can happen when oils seep into the eyes and cause puffiness. This can stretch the skin out and weaken elasticity.
Choose a nourishing eye cream with skin-firming peptides.
The skin under the eyes gets weak easily so you want an eye cream that does more than just moisturize. Ingredients like peptides help support the skins’ structure to keep it intact. Recommended eye cream: Total Repair Eye Creme
Use a lighter weight eye cream under makeup in the morning.
When the eyes are looking tired in the morning, it’s beneficial to use an eye care product that not only helps to prevent wrinkles but also encourages less puffiness and darkness. Recommended morning eye cream: Vitamin C Eye Brightener. Read 6 tips for reducing puffiness and dark circles.
Be sure to exfoliate under the eyes to smooth away dryness.
If the skin under your eyes is dry and looks crepey, gentle exfoliation will make a huge improvement. Plus, your eye care products will work more efficiently when they don’t have to try and break through dry skin cell buildup. Recommended undereye exfoliator: Overnight Eye Serum
I swear by eye creams for the prevention of wrinkles and I swear by these 10 skincare rules, too.
8. Use a product with retinol or a prescription retinoid. Aside from sunscreen, this is the most effective way to prevent wrinkles.
Hands down, the most tried and true, biologically proven topical anti-aging ingredient is vitamin A, known as retinoid or retinol. As mentioned above, consider yourself lucky if you have been using it since your teens or 20s for acne. However, if you’ve never used a vitamin A product before, then you should really start using a non-prescription retinol product. I recommend Advanced Resurfacing Serum to my clients because it’s so safe for sensitive skin and you will not experience the harsh side effects that can come with a prescription retinoid. For people in their 20s, if you start using a retinol product consistently now, then you should never have to switch over to a stronger prescription. The idea is that you’re getting ahead of the wrinkles by using it preventatively. Someone in their 50s with sun damage may have to start immediately with a prescription and then manage the side effects of dryness.
Read my beginners guide to using retinol.
9. Use a Botox-free alternative for preventing forehead and between-the-brow wrinkles.
I get asked all the time from people in their 20s, “Do you think I should start getting Botox to prevent wrinkles? I’m starting to notice a crease. Is Botox safe?” I generally don’t think it’s a good idea for most people in their 20s to start getting Botox unless it’s needed. (Read if you need it here), However, I believe it’s perfectly safe. I personally have it done between my brows and around my eyes since my mid-30s, so I am a fan.
A much less expensive option for the prevention of wrinkles is by applying Frownies at night while you sleep. I know it seems a bit silly, but it does work. When you dream at night along with the position of your face when you sleep on your pillow, can create a lot of facial movements. By applying these easy-to-use patches that freeze your expressions, they can help a lot. Of course, using sunscreen and products with retinol and antioxidants all help the greater good, too.
10. Put your skin in the hands of a professional.
While using a good home care routine designed for your specific skin type is essential, your skin will greatly benefit from additional care with professional treatments like facials, lasers, and chemical peels. These can help prevent wrinkles. Not only are you getting a skin treatment that will target your wrinkle concerns but you’ll also be getting the guidance from an expert. They can guide you on how to care for your skin at home in between your visits. When people attempt to go it alone, they can get confused and end up using a skin routine that isn’t delivering the results they need. Read how to do the perfect morning skincare routine and nighttime skincare routine.
So there you have it. These ten things to start doing NOW to prevent wrinkles will truly prepare your skin for a lifetime of healthy and beautiful skin with a #ReneeRouleauGLOW. Trust me when I say, don’t just rely on good genetics to carry you through. Good habits are EVERYTHING. And my 11th tip is to read my blog for more of my expert advice. Enjoy!