Your skin is made up of a complex network of cells, lipids, minerals, and proteins that do everything from determine your skin tone to keep your face hydrated. Two of the most fundamental parts of that network are collagen and elastin — they control how firm, strong, and smooth your skin feels and looks. They are also the main factors in the formation of fine lines and wrinkles.
While commonly thought to be an issue in your 40s and beyond, the truth is that the onset of wrinkles is cumulative — it starts as early as your 20s and continues to advance with age. The rate is different for everyone and has to do with everything from genetics to your beauty routine to where you live.
To help you better understand just how wrinkles form and the best wrinkle treatment for you, keep reading.
What Are Collagen & Elastin?
Located in the dermis — the second layer of the skin — these two vital proteins are responsible for your skin’s firmness and elasticity. Collagen is what makes sure your skin is supported and stays firm. Elastin, as the name implies, is what keeps your skin elastic (i.e. what makes your skin bounce back in place when pulled or poked). When your skin is producing optimal levels of these, your complexion is strong, smooth, and supple.
Unfortunately, as you get older, those production levels start to drop and existing collagen degrades. Depending on how much damage your skin is put through, that slowdown can happen at a wide variety of ages. Regardless of when it happens, the results are the same: Skin loses its structure, begins to sag, and no longer bounces back. Meaning all that repetitive squinting, laughing, and brow furrowing you’ve done over the years starts to become more permanent, i.e. deep wrinkles.
What Causes Collagen & Elastin Loss?
While genetics do play a role in wrinkle formation, the main culprit is what’s going on outside of you skin. Pollution, sun damage, a weakened skin barrier, smoking, and free radicals all play a role in degrading collagen and elastin. As they break down, the structure of the skin is compromised and fine lines start to form, gradually deepening over time into wrinkles.
How Do I Prevent Wrinkles?
There’s a reason dermatologists say that sunscreen is the number one anti-aging product — the sun is responsible for 90 percent of premature aging, including skin tone issues and rough texture. So, wearing an SPF daily is imperative for keeping your collagen and elastin intact. Remember: Sun damage starts the minute you walk out the door without UV protection. Apply the Kiehl’s Super Fluid Daily UV Defense SPF 50+ — a lightweight facial sunscreen with pollution protection — every morning, rain or shine.
Another key preventative measure is to incorporate an antioxidant into your regimen. The Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing Concentrate features a potent 12.5 percent L-Ascorbic Acid (the purest form of Vitamin C) to defend collagen and elastin from the oxidative damage caused by free radicals in the environment. It also has the added bonus of visibly reducing the appearance of lines, wrinkles, and pigmentation while also smoothing out rough texture. It’s been demonstrated in a clinical study to decrease the appearance of deep-set wrinkles on the forehead and around the nose and mouth after just four weeks of use.
How Do I Minimize Existing Wrinkles?
There are two ways to minimize existing fine lines and wrinkles — immediately and long term. Those products that offer immediate benefits do so by instantly hydrating and plumping the skin, visually smoothing out their appearance to make skin look supple and bouncy. Our Midnight Recovery Concentrate is an overnight skin replenisher that uses Lavender Essential Oil, Primrose Oil, and Squalane to hydrate and soften skin while you sleep. Apply before bed by pressing a few drops into skin to instantly hydrate. Once your body goes into its sleep recovery mode, Midnight Recovery Concentrate will help optimize those processes to reveal a more supple, smooth skin with minimized wrinkle appearance when you wake.
The Kiehl’s Super Multi-Corrective Cream is one of our hero anti-aging treatments that pairs perfectly with the Iris Extract Activating Treatment Essence. It visibly lifts, firms, hydrates, and re-texturizes skin with a trio of anti-aging ingredients — Jasmonic Acid, Beech Tree Extract, and Fragmented Hyaluronic Acid. Together, they target the most visible forms of aging and work to minimize their appearance and keep skin looking younger and healthier.
And, of course, you can’t forget your eyes. Since the skin there is thin unlike the rest of your face, its structure is weaker and fine lines and wrinkles form much faster and can appear long before any other facial wrinkles. A replenishing and restoring eye cream like our Midnight Recovery Eye works overnight with your skin’s natural healing process to help smooth and strengthen the eye area, meaning you’ll wake up to visibly replenished, younger-looking eyes.
Adopting an anti-aging regimen to prevent and repair the damage that causes collagen breakdown will help you keep your complexion looking youthful and vibrant.