It’s fair to say that nobody likes wrinkles. A testament to this is the fact that billion dollar industries have emerged to help us get rid of wrinkles with products ranging from anti aging creams to injectibles like Botox and fillers.

But why do wrinkles actually form? Why do some people age better than others? And, most importantly, Is there anything we can do to slow down the formation of wrinkles?

Our skin consists of two layers – the outer epidermis and the inner dermis. The epidermis, the skin we can see, is mainly made up of hard, dead cells that protect the body from external elements. The dermis contains the proteins Collagen and Elastin, which gives our skin its shape and elasticity.

Normal skin aging is caused by a decrease in our skins ability to hold moisture and a decrease in the amount of fat under the skin. However, external factors such as sunlight, smoking and pollution also accelerate aging, leading to the formation of wrinkles.

The single biggest causes of wrinkle formation is exposure to sunlight, responsible for over 80% of wrinkle formation. Aging of skin due to sunlight, known as photoaging, is caused by UV rays. UV-A rays, the type most responsible for aging skin, penetrate deep within the skin and cause the formation of free radicals. These free radicals damage our skin’s collagen and lead to the formation of wrinkles. UV-B rays, the rays responsible for sunburns, cause our skin to lose moisture.

Sunscreens are a good way to protect against photoaging. Not all sunscreens protect against UV-A and it’s a good idea to find one that does. Including antioxidant rich foods will also help prevent photoaging. Red and orange coloured fruits and vegetables contain carotenoids (like beta carotene, lycopene) which protect your skin from sun damage.

A healthy diet and some basic care will ensure that you can enjoy your time in the sun while ensuring your skin looks great for years to come!

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