THE SKIN CARE ARENA
by Madeleine Arena, B.S., M.B.A.*
No. Dry skin does not cause wrinkles. Research has shown that wrinkles and dry skin are not related in terms of cause and effect.
Sun damage is the primary cause of wrinkles. In addition, muscle movement, estrogen loss, and fat depletion also cause wrinkles. Nowhere (outside of ads and product claims) is dry skin ever mentioned as a cause of wrinkles. You may ask, “what about those annoying little “fine, dry lines” most moisturizers claim to eliminate? Realistically, that’s just another way to describe how your skin can look when it’s dry. However, “fine, dry lines” are not the same as wrinkles. Wrinkles don’t go away simply by applying a moisturizer.
If you’re over 35 it’s easy to prove that sun damage is by far the leading cause of wrinkled skin. Simply compare the parts of your body that rarely, if ever, see the sun with the parts of your body exposed to the sun on a daily basis. Look at your backside, inner arms, and abdomen. You may be surprised to see that these areas have minimal to no signs of “aging.” In fact, they are firmer, have more elasticity, and the color of “younger” skin than the sun-exposed areas. Proving just how strongly sun exposure and wrinkles are related.
So why are so many people convinced that dry skin and wrinkles are related? There are two reasons. First is the misinformation distributed by the cosmetics industry; and second is the fact that dry skin looks more wrinkled than skin that isn’t dry. So, it’s not surprising, that wrinkled skin looks better after a moisturizer has been applied.
When skin is dry or dehydrated, any amount of wrinkling or flaws look more exaggerated. Applying a moisturizer will diminish the appearance of wrinkles and can help skin look and act younger, but that is not the same thing as helping skin to repair itself.
Standard, ordinary moisturizers do not have any significant effect on wrinkles. However, using a product that contains state of-the art ingredients will have such an effect. Not all products are created equal. The state-of-the-art ingredients you should look for are Antioxidants, cell-communicating ingredients, and skin-repairing ingredients. Here’s how each one of these critical ingredient categories works:
Antioxidants decrease free-radical damage. They also reduce inflammation, which causes collagen to break down and negatively impacts the skin cell’s DNA structure. When contained in an effective sunscreen, antioxidants also help your skin defend itself against the #1 cause of aging, the sun.
Cell-communicating ingredients not only work to “tell” damaged cells to start acting more like normal, younger, healthier cells; but also help skin cells form in a healthy, “younger” way.
Skin-repairing ingredients are substances that skin has lost due to sun exposure and external irritants. These repairing ingredients help to fight environmental damage that leads to moisture loss and dull skin causing it to look older than it really is.
Last but definitely not least, it is critically importance to use an effective sunscreen rated SPF 30 or higher 365 days a year. While the topic of sunscreen may not be as interesting as the latest anti-wrinkle miracle, sunscreen is the single most important product to help you prevent premature aging, and resist wrinkles.
To learn what ingredients to look for, read Madeleine’s article,
* Madeleine Arena is a cosmetic chemist who develops private label
skin and hair care products for the trade.
Her chapter on skin care has been a popular feature in
Tick Tock, Stop the Clock ~ Getting Pretty on Your Lunch Hour