skin care

The Ideal Skincare Routine to Treat and Prevent Fine Lines and Wrinkles

By April 27, 2021 No Comments

It’s time to change the conversation around “anti-aging.” Everyone is aging, every second of every day. We can’t turn back time—and why would we want to? The fine lines on our face tell a story of where we’ve been—they represent the wisdom and the memories we carry with us. But we do want our skin to be healthy and happy. Just as exercise can make us feel stronger and eating well can help us feel energized, taking care of our skin, our largest organ, can make us feel more confident and open.

While the aging process is a natural part of life, our skin can experience daily stressors that cause premature skin aging—the accelerated breakdown of collagen that leads to wrinkles and the appearance of sun spots, also called photoaging. Like any other aspect of our health, our skin needs daily care to be its healthiest. But it doesn’t have to be complicated. You can treat and prevent premature skin aging with a simple dermatologist-approved skincare regimen that only takes a few minutes.

Why we get fine lines and wrinkles

There are internal factors of skin aging—like the natural drop in collagen production—and external factors—like sun exposure—that speed up the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Knowing what these are, we can use the right products to lessen their effects.

There are three important molecules that keep our skin looking smooth. Collagen is responsible for skin structure. Glycosaminoglycan (GAG) plays a role in hydration and collagen synthesis 1. And elastin determines the skin’s elasticity—or its ability to return to its normal position. All three of these drop in production as we age 2. As they do, fine lines and wrinkles appear.

Though this happens naturally, there are extrinsic factors that speed up their breakdown. You can change that with your skincare routine and lifestyle habits.

Sun exposure

When our skin is exposed to the sun, it generates free radicals that cause photoaging 3. The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays are responsible for up to 80% of skin damage 4, including deep wrinkling and reduced skin elasticity 5. So don’t skip your SPF.

Smoking

Nicotine degenerates collagen and elastin6 and smokers show more pronounced wrinkles than non-smokers 7. Beyond being a surefire path to saggy skin, tobacco spells bad news for other organs like your heart and lungs 8.

Air pollution

The skin suffers from environmental factors like smoke, dust, and air pollutants. They generate free radicals that break down collagen and elastin. The antioxidants that fight free radicals get depleted. And over time, these environmental pollutants damage the skin barrier 9.

Poor sleep

While we sleep, our body heals and restores itself—and that includes our skin. In a clinical study, people who slept well had better skin recovery from stressors like intentional removal of the skin’s outermost layer and UV exposure 10. If you’re not getting a good snooze, your body can’t recover from the environmental stressors you experience every day.

Dehydration

If you are dehydrated, your body will pull water to wherever it needs it most, away from other organs like the skin. Dry skin means damaged skin cells, and that leads to more wrinkles 11. So be sure you’re getting enough of that H2O. The Mayo Clinic recommends 11.5 cups of fluids per day for women and 15.5 cups for men, on average. This may seem like a lot, but they also say 20% of that comes from food.

How to prevent and treat fine lines and wrinkles

With tons of skincare options to sift through, it can be hard to figure out what products will be most effective for fine lines and wrinkles. Shield your skin from sun damage and boost collagen production with these star ingredients that have been proven for their safety and effectiveness.

Sunscreen is an essential barrier to sun damage

The most important thing you can do is slather on the SPF. Because UV rays are responsible for up to 80% of skin damage12. The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays are responsible for up to 80% of skin damage 14.

Vitamin C does what sunscreen can’t

Sunscreen only does part of the job to protect skin from the effects of sunlight15. Even when applied correctly, sunscreen only reduces about 55% of free radicals 16. This is where vitamin C comes in handy.

Vitamin C neutralizes free radicals, making sunscreen and vitamin C an ideal pairing when you go out to catch some rays.

Beyond sun protection, vitamin C has been shown to lessen wrinkles by increasing collagen formation 17.

Retinol and retinoids boost collagen production

Retinoids like retinol and tretinoin are superstar ingredients for wrinkle treatment and prevention. They show results quickly and have 50 years of research to back up their effectiveness and safety 18 19. One study showed tretinoin to increase collagen production by up to 80% over a year of use, while the control group saw a 14% drop in production 20.

If you decide to try retinoids, there may be a purging period as your skin gets used to your new skincare products. As retinoids increase skin cell turnover, they push out existing built-up gunk like oil and dead skin, leaving your skin clearer after. It can look similar to a breakout but don’t worry. It’s totally normal! That’s one step towards smooth skin.

The most effective retinoid can’t be store bought. You’ll need a consultation with a dermatologist or doctor to get a prescription.

Niacinamide repairs sun damage

Niacinamide (vitamin B3) is another antioxidant that prevents UV damage 21 and repairs DNA after sun exposure 22.

It’s also a collagen production stimulator 23 that can reduce wrinkles 24. Niacinamide works well paired with retinoids, but if used alone, it can take longer to show results. But it can be a great alternative to retinoids if retinoids irritate your skin.

The basic skincare routine to prevent fine lines and wrinkles

Start with a simple dermatologist-approved skincare routine to treat and prevent the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. Your morning routine will prep your face for sun exposure, and at night, you can nourish the skin with restorative actives.

Morning skincare routine to prevent fine lines and wrinkles

  1. Wash with a gentle cleanser to remove impurities and overnight oil build-up.
  2. Treat with vitamin C serum to act as a shield against the sun’s UV rays.
  3. Hydrate with a good moisturizer.
  4. Protect your skin with a broad-spectrum sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher. Use 15 minutes before sun exposure and again every two hours.

Evening skincare routine to prevent fine lines and wrinkles

  1. Wash with a gentle cleanser to remove impurities, including pollutants you were exposed to throughout the day.
  2. Repair skin DNA with niacinamide (optional if you’re doing step 3).
  3. Treat with a retinoid serum to increase collagen production.
  4. Hydrate with moisturizer.

Skincare is personal, so use this base as inspiration to find what works for you. Stop using anything that irritates your skin, and talk to your derm if you’re having trouble. They can help you find less irritating products or suggest lower concentrations that will still be effective to help you reach your goals.

Beyond your daily routine, wear a wide-brimmed hat and UV-protecting sunglasses, stay hydrated, get enough sleep, and avoid smoking to reduce the stress on your skin.

How to get a derm-grade retinoid with an easy online consultation

Unlike the other products mentioned that are bought in stores, the most effective retinoid for treating fine lines and wrinkles can’t be purchased over-the-counter. Tretinoin is a prescription retinoid proven for its safety and efficacy and is the active ingredient in Night Shift. It is 20x more potent than over-the-counter retinol and easier than ever to get from the comfort of your own home.

With Dear Brightly, you can get an online consultation for a dermatologist-formulated retinoid serum tailored to your skin. Just share your skin story with our network of board-certified providers, and if prescribed, your derm-grade retinoid serum is tailor-made and delivered to you.

Your provider may even start you on a low-strength formula to give your skin a chance to adapt before ramping up to your ideal concentration—great for sensitive skin types or retinoid newbies.

Bonus: Night Shift is formulated with hydrating hyaluronic acid for extra moisture retention.

  1. Why does skin wrinkle with age? What is the best way to slow or prevent this process? (2005, September 26). Retrieved from https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-does-skin-wrinkle-wit/
  2. Why does skin wrinkle with age? What is the best way to slow or prevent this process? (2005, September 26). Retrieved from https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-does-skin-wrinkle-wit/
  3. Poljšak, B., & Dahmane, R. (2012, February 29). Free radicals and extrinsic skin aging. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3299230/
  4. Poljšak, B., & Dahmane, R. (2012, February 29). Free radicals and extrinsic skin aging. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3299230/
  5. Shanbhag, S., Nayak, et al. (2019, August 1). Anti-aging and sunscreens: Paradigm shift in cosmetics. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6773941/
  6. Shanbhag, S., Nayak, et al. (2019, August 1). Anti-aging and sunscreens: Paradigm shift in cosmetics. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6773941/
  7. Okada HC; et al. (2013, November). Facial changes caused by smoking: A comparison between smoking and nonsmoking identical twins. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23924651/
  8. Bonnie, R., et al. (2015, July 23). The effects of tobacco use on health. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK310413/
  9. Parrado, C., et al. (2019, July 9). Environmental stressors on skin aging. mechanistic insights. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6629960/
  10. Oyetakin-White, P.; et al. (2015, January). Does poor sleep quality affect skin ageing? Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25266053/
  11. McCoy, K. (2014, July 14). The truth about hydration and wrinkles. Retrieved from https://www.sheknows.com/living/articles/1040899/myth-busters-drinking-water-hydrates-your-skin/
  12. Poljšak, B., & Dahmane, R. (2012, February 29). Free radicals and extrinsic skin aging. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3299230/
  13. , you need adequate sun protection. Get a broad-spectrum sunscreen. One with an SPF of 30 can reverse and prevent photodamage (aka sun damage) 13Randhawa, M. (2016, December). Daily use of a facial broad spectrum sunscreen over one-year significantly improves clinical evaluation of photoaging. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27749441/
  14. Damian, D. (2010, February 08). Photoprotective effects of nicotinamide. Retrieved from https://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlelanding/2010/PP/b9pp00146h#!divAbstract
  15. Shanbhag, S., Nayak, et al. (2019, August 1). Anti-aging and sunscreens: Paradigm shift in cosmetics. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6773941/
  16. Pullar, J., et al. (2017, August 12). The roles of Vitamin C in Skin Health. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5579659/
  17. Effective management of fine lines and wrinkles . (2008, July). Retrieved from https://www.the-dermatologist.com/article/8972
  18. Mukherjee, S., et al. (2006, December). Retinoids in the treatment of skin aging: An overview of clinical efficacy and safety. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2699641/
  19. Griffiths, C., & Al., E. (1993, August 19). Restoration of COLLAGEN formation In PHOTODAMAGED human skin By Tretinoin (Retinoic Acid): NEJM. Retrieved from https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJM199308193290803
  20. Damian, D. (2010, February 08). Photoprotective effects of nicotinamide. Retrieved from https://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlelanding/2010/PP/b9pp00146h#!divAbstract
  21. DL;, T. (2014, July). Nicotinamide enhances repair of ultraviolet radiation-induced dna damage in primary melanocytes. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24798949/
  22. Levin, J., & Momin, S. (2010, February). How much do we really know about our favorite cosmeceutical ingredients? Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2921764/
  23. Fu, J., et al. (2010, March). A randomized, controlled comparative study of The wrinkle reduction benefits of a cosmetic niacinamide/peptide/retinyl Propionate product regimen vs. a prescription 0.02% tretinoin product regimen. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2841824/
Angela Rollins

Angela Rollins

Angela is a health enthusiast who is passionate about taking care of ourselves inside and out. She believes that by prioritizing our wellness, we can feel more confident in our skin. Angela is devoted to making skincare science accessible for all so that you can make educated decisions for your skin’s health.

Enjoy free shipping on retinoid services