The natural aging process causes everyone to develop wrinkles, especially on parts of our body that are exposed to the sun, like the face, neck, hands, and forearms.
For most, wrinkles develop between the ages of 40 and 50 as the skin loses moisture and thickness. Genetics also play a big role in the development of wrinkles. But sun exposure appears to be the biggest cause, especially in people with fair skin. Wrinkles may also be caused in part by smoking and a diet that isn’t balanced.
Over-the-counter (OTC) skin creams containing vitamin-A derived retinoids, antioxidants, and a protein called collagen can reduce fine wrinkles and even out skin texture and color. So before you seek medical treatment, you might want to try home remedies, some of which are scientifically proven to improve the appearance of wrinkles.
Natural remedies for wrinkles
Aloe vera has numerous healing properties. A 2008 study suggests that taking a daily gel aloe supplement significantly reduced the appearance of wrinkles in just 90 days.
In another study, scientists found that applying aloe gel to the skin significantly reduced the appearance of wrinkles and also added collagen and hydrated skin.
Bananas contain natural oils and vitamins that can boost skin health.
Experts recommend applying banana paste to the skin: Mash a quarter of a banana until it becomes a smooth paste. Put a thin layer of the banana paste on your skin and allow it to sit for 15 to 20 minutes before rinsing it off with warm water.
Foods rich in health-benefitting nutrients are often referred to as “superfoods.” There are many superfoods that appear to prevent wrinkles and boost overall health.
Scientists, who looked at the diets of older Dutch men and women found that those men with healthy eating habits had fewer wrinkles. In the same study, women who ate more fruit had fewer wrinkles than those who ate more meat and junk foods.
Many superfoods, such as those in the following list, may help reduce the appearance of wrinkles:
- chia seeds
- egg whites
- sweet potatoes
While egg whites might contribute to a small improvement in the skin’s appearance, the thin membrane that separates the white from the shell is more effective.
In one study, using a cream made with egg membrane led to a significant reduction in wrinkle depth and increased production of collagen, which makes skin smoother and stretchy.
People who are allergic to eggs should avoid using them to treat their wrinkles.
Applying small amounts of essential oils mixed with a carrier oil on wrinkles may help reduce them. Often essential oils are applied in specific combinations that heal skin without causing irritation, so long as they’re diluted with a carrier oil.
Some essential oils that may help improve the appearance of wrinkles when used in different combinations with a carrier include:
- carrot seed
- clary sage
Some people are sensitive to essential oils, which are highly concentrated. Before using an essential oil, perform a patch test:
Apply a small amount to the inside of your wrist and wait 24 hours. Avoid using it if you experience redness, burning, or stinging.
Always use a carrier oil when applying essential oils.
Many people turn to massage to prevent and reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Researchers have found that use of a handheld facial massage device can help prevent wrinkles by increasing proteins that keep the skin smooth.
Experts say that a daily facial massage for three to five minutes done with your fingers can give the same effects on the skin. It can also reduce stress, which can lead to wrinkles as well.
Many spas and massage salons offer facial massage treatments. At home, you can give yourself a facial massage by applying firm pressure with your fingers to either side of your face and moving them in circular strokes.
Research suggests that consuming olive oil may protect the skin from developing more wrinkles. Olive oil and its byproducts, like the stems and leaves, contain compounds that can increase the skin’s collagen levels.
In a 2001 study, people who ate a diet rich in olive oil were less prone to wrinkles than people who ate a diet higher in meat, dairy, and butter.
The researchers also found that vegetables, like broccoli and tomatoes, and legumes, such as lentils and beans, may have a similarly protective effect against wrinkles.
All of these foods can be part of a healthy diet, so it’s safe for most people to consume them. But be cautious and read labels if you have any food allergies.
Topical vitamin C
Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps create collagen in the skin. It can be found naturally in many fruits and vegetables, such as rosehips, chili peppers, guava, and kale.
Applying a topical gel containing vitamin C can help improve the appearance of wrinkles and other signs of sun damage on the skin.
In one small 2008 study, 10 people applied a vitamin C gel to one side of their face and a gel containing no additional ingredients to the other side.
All people in the study showed less wrinkling and signs of sun damage on the side of their faces treated with vitamin C gel. The vitamin C gel hydrated the skin, increased collagen production, and decreased inflammation.
Like vitamins, minerals are micronutrients found in the foods you eat that your body needs in small amounts. In the skin, minerals help filter sunlight, promote healing, and prevent damage.
Zinc and selenium are two minerals that are especially important for skin health. Using a topical cream containing zinc and selenium can block some UV radiation, helping to protect the skin from the sun damage that causes wrinkles.
Dietary supplements containing selenium may provide the same protective effects. However, if you eat a healthy diet, chances are you get enough zinc and selenium.
Zinc can be found in:
Foods containing higher amounts of selenium include:
- sunflower seeds
Getting too much zinc and selenium can harm your health, so talk to a doctor before adding supplements to your diet.
Probiotics and yogurt
Research suggests that regularly consuming probiotics, such as those found in yogurt or sold as supplements, may reduce the appearance of wrinkles and boost the skin’s overall health.
In an animal study, older mice that were fed probiotic yogurt developed healthier skin and fur than mice that weren’t. In human studies, researchers have noticed applying probiotics to the skin helps make it stronger against stressors like sunlight.
Silk or copper-oxide pillowcases
Preventing and reducing the appearance of wrinkles may be as easy as choosing to sleep with the right pillowcase. Silk contains proteins and is hypoallergenic, so it’s easy on the skin. A copper-oxide pillowcase can reduce fine lines in the skin.
If you’re concerned with the appearance of your skin, you may want to visit a doctor that specializes in conditions of the skin (dermatologist) for further treatment.
The dermatologist will examine your skin visually. They’ll probably ask you questions about your health and lifestyle habits, such as whether you spend a lot of time in the sun or if you smoke.
Some treatments a dermatologist might recommend for wrinkles include:
- prescription topical vitamin A retinoids
- prescription topical antioxidants and collagen
- OTC wrinkle creams
- laser skin resurfacing
- light source and radiofrequency treatments
- chemical peel
- dermabrasionor microdermabrasion
- soft-tissue (dermal) fillers
- skin-tightening techniques, such as ultherapy
- facelift surgery
What causes wrinkles
The most significant cause of wrinkles is age. As you get older, the skin naturally becomes weaker, less hydrated, and less stretchy, causing lines to form.
Other causes include:
- exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light (sunlight)
- squinting, smiling, frowning
While wrinkle treatments can improve the skin’s appearance, the best way to avoid wrinkles is to protect your skin from the sun. Limit the time you spend outside when it’s sunny out, wear protective clothing like a hat and long sleeves, and apply a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 when you’re outside.
Lifestyle choices also affect your skin’s appearance. Apply moisturizer to your skin regularly to help keep it hydrated and looking it’s best. Avoid smoking, which can dry and wrinkle your skin. Stick to a healthy diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables and low in processed foods to reduce your risk of wrinkles.
Wrinkles may be a natural part of the aging process, but there are many things you can do to prevent them and reduce their appearance. You may want to try some home wrinkle remedies before heading to a doctor.