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8 Non-Invasive Ways To Keep Wrinkles at Bay

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Photo by Westend61/Getty Images

Let's cut to the chase: The best way to treat facial wrinkles is to prevent them from developing in the first place. But if they've already appeared, not all hope is lost. From injectables like botox and fillers to topical solutions like chemical peels and anti-aging skincare products with facelift claims, wellness routines and wrinkle treatments are a dime a dozen. To help sort fact from myth, we spoke to dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, M.D.


About the Expert:

Joshua Zeichner, M.D., is a board-certified dermatologist. He is the Director of Cosmetic and Clinical Research in Dermatology at the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, and his expert advice has been featured in various publications, including Allure and The New York Times.

Why do I have wrinkles?

According to the Mayo Clinic, there are four main causes of wrinkles: age, exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light, smoking, and repeated facial expressions. (We can relate to the frown lines and forehead wrinkles. Thanks, frustrating emails.) While some of these causes can be avoided, others like skin aging are inevitable. 

Without undergoing invasive procedures like microneedling or laser treatments, here's how to get rid of wrinkles with a few friendly tips:

Go bananas. 

Kinda. In addition to helping brighten skin, "vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that protects the skin against the radical damage," Dr. Zeichner says. While vitamin C may be found in banana peels, it is unlikely that they (even if left on your face for an extended period of time) would penetrate through the skin to a significant degree. But you can find vitamin C in other forms, like serums formulated with high concentrations of specific types of vitamin C (which helps ensure that they are stable and actually penetrate into the skin), Dr. Zeichner says.

If you're looking for a recommendation to work into your skin care routine, here are the 20 best vitamin C serums as chosen by Ipsters and our editors.

Reach for retinoids. 

Retinoids are a group of related vitamin A compounds available both over-the-counter and by prescription. Over-the-counter versions include retinol and various retinyl esters like retinyl propionate, Dr. Zeichner explains. "If you have an ultra-sensitive skin type, stick to retinyl esters because they are the most gentle."

While very effective, over-the-counter retinoids do not play nicely with other ingredients. "I do not recommend combining them with vitamin C or hydroxyacids," Dr. Zeichner says. "Retinol, for example, and these ingredients can activate each other—or potentially cause skin irritation. Also, If you are acne prone, I do not recommend applying at the same time as a product with benzoyl peroxide, which may inactivate the retinol."

If you're looking to layer with retinol, look to more stable and soothing ingredients like hyaluronic acid, ceramides, niacinamide, caudal oatmeal, or squalane. Here's a list of the 13 best retinol creams, if you’re looking for a place to start. 

Slather on SPF every. Single. Day. 

Sunscreen protects the skin against free radical damage and from absorbing UV rays. While this doesn’t directly prevent wrinkles, it allows the skin to heal itself from environmental damage and to improve the appearance of wrinkles. This is why sun protection is so important, especially when you’re young. "It’s never too late to start wearing sunscreen," Dr. Zeichner says. "You can’t undo past behavior, but you certainly can prevent future sun damage." (P.S. Here are our favorite year-round sunscreens!)

In addition to wearing sunscreen, you can also limit your sun exposure. When you are in the sun, Dr. Zeichner also recommends exercising behaviors like sitting in the shade and wearing hats and clothing with a UPF rating. 

Exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate. 

Exfoliation is the process of removing dead cells from the surface of the skin. Physical exfoliation uses gritty particles to manually remove dead cells. Chemical exfoliators like chemical peels use hydroxy acid to dissolve connections between skin cells so they more easily can be shed. 

"There is some data that shows chemical exfoliators like glycolic acid also create microscopic ones in the skin, promoting a wound-healing response with new collagen production to improve the appearance of wrinkles," Dr. Zeichner says.

Ice, ice baby. 

Cold temperatures can constrict blood vessels to minimize redness and irritation in the skin. It also can help reduce swelling. "There’s no definitive data showing that cold temperatures on the skin truly improve the appearance of wrinkles, but as long as you’re not overdoing it, I see little harm," Dr. Zeichner says. Just one word of caution before you grab the ice cubes, though: “Avoid applying ice cubes directly to the skin for extended periods of time, which can cause damage to the skin—like frostbite."

Try this: The KITSCH Ice Roller not only increases blood circulation but also alleviates muscle tension. 

Massage away. 

Gentle facial massage may enhance circulation to the skin and improve lymphatic flow, but it’s important to keep in mind that "there’s no data showing the facial massage truly improves the appearance of wrinkles," Dr. Zeichner says. Plus, overdoing it can lead to skin irritation—especially in areas where the skin is thinner—so go easy on your crow's feet and massage those fine lines lightly.

Skip out on sugar. 

High blood sugar levels can contribute to premature aging. "As sugar attaches to collagen and molecules in a process known as glycation, collagen becomes stiff," Dr. Zeichner says. "Stiff collagen cracks rather than bends, leading to weakness in the foundation of the skin—and wrinkling." Avoiding your favorite sugary treats may be difficult, but it may also help you maintain that youthful elasticity in your skin. To us, the tradeoff is worth it!

Say no to smoking.

There's no way to slow the aging process, but you can certainly speed up signs of aging. "Smoking is thought to block circulation to the skin, starving it of necessary oxygen and nutrients," Dr. Zeichner says. To keep your youthful glow, practice good habits like keeping your hydration levels high and moisturizing your dry skin. 

If you already have wrinkles, it’s never too late to start treating them. "Apply an ingredient like retinol, glycolic acid, or peptides to the skin at night before bed. These ingredients help stimulate the production of collagen," Dr. Zeichner says. 

Try this: DERMA E Advanced Peptide and Collagen Moisturizer or COCOKIND Resurfacing Sleep Mask.

For more skincare goodness, try the IPSY Glam Bag! Take our Beauty Quiz now to get started. Already an Ipster? Refer your friends to earn points, which you can use toward products. Either way, don’t forget to check us out on Instagram and Twitter @IPSY.

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About the author
Gerilyn Manago
Gerilyn Manago
Gerilyn is a freelance writer with more than nine years of editorial and social media experience in lifestyle and beauty. Her background includes Allure, Men’s Health, and PEOPLE. Currently, she oversees content for four Napa Valley wine brands.
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Article Last Updated November 8, 2021 12:00 AM