Wrinkles are a part of the natural aging process where everyone develops them;(1) especially on body parts that have had more sun exposure, such as face, neck, forearms and hands.
What Exactly Causes Wrinkles To Form?
The average age for formation of wrinkles is between 40 and 50 when the skin starts to lose its thickness and moisture. As one gets older, the elasticity of the skin is reduced and the skin becomes less hydrated, weak and less supple; all of which causes lines to develop.(1)
Other common causes of wrinkles are: Smoking, sun exposure, especially ultraviolet rays; frequent frowning, squinting and smiling; pollution; lack of sleep; stress; genetics; bad diet and use of excessive cosmetics or poor quality products on the skin.(1)
One of the biggest causes for aging is sun exposure, especially in people who have very fair skin. A study done in 2013 showed that about 80% of aging of the skin occurs due to exposure to sun.(2) Other common causes for wrinkles are bad diet and smoking.
Before choosing medical treatment for combating wrinkles, it is better to look into some effective home remedies to treat wrinkles at home and some of these are even backed by science to improve the appearance of wrinkles.
What are the Types of Wrinkles?
There are two major wrinkles types:(3)
Dynamic Wrinkles: These the type of wrinkles that form when there is repeated facial movements, such as if you are frowning all the time or if you are puckering your lips when drinking from a straw frequently, then you are highly prone to develop fine lines around these regions of frequent movement.
Static Wrinkles: This type of wrinkles form when there is loss of elasticity and the gravity takes over, such as wrinkles with jowls.
Scientifically Proven Ways to Treat Wrinkles Naturally At Home
Here are some of the ways to treat wrinkles naturally at home:
Banana Mask: Bananas have vitamins and natural oils which help in boosting the health of the skin.(4) Application of banana paste to the skin helps in delaying the signs of aging.(5, 6) Mash a ripe banana into a smooth paste and apply a thin layer of this banana paste onto your face. Let it sit for about 15 to 20 minutes, then rinse it using warm water.
Aloe Vera: This plant contains various healing properties. A 2009 study showed that taking a daily supplement of aloe vera gel greatly decreased the appearance of wrinkles in just three months.(6)
Another study from 2015 revealed that application of aloe gel to the skin healed in reducing the appearance of wrinkles along with adding hydration and collagen.(7)
Egg Whites: More than the egg whites, the thin membrane, which separates the egg shell from the white is thought to be more effective in improving the appearance of wrinkles.
A study in 2016 showed that people who used a cream made with egg membrane had substantial reduction in the depth of the wrinkles along with increased collagen production resulting in smoother and supple skin.(8) However, those who have an allergy to eggs should do not use them, even if it is topical application.
Superfoods: Superfoods are those which are rich in nutrients and beneficial for health and also help in preventing and treating wrinkles along with benefiting the general health. A 2019 research shows that the diets of older Dutch women and men who had healthy eating habits also had lesser wrinkles.(9) Women who consumed more fruit had lesser wrinkles when compared to those who ate more snacks and meat.
Some of the superfoods, which help in treating and preventing wrinkles are: Avocadoes, artichokes, cinnamon, chia seeds, ginger, egg whites, oats, miso, sardines, salmon, tomatoes, sweet potatoes and walnuts.
Essential Oils:(10) Use of essential oils in small quantity mixed with carrier oil and applied on the skin helps in reduction of wrinkles. Essential oils are often used in certain specific combinations, which help in healing the skin without any problem, as long as they are diluted in carrier oil. Some of the carrier oils which can be used with essential oils are: Fractionated coconut oil, almond oil, evening primrose oil and Argan oil.
Some of the essential oils, which help in treating wrinkles when used in various combinations with carrier oil are: Carrot seed, Argan, frankincense, clary sage, geranium, helichrysum, grapeseed, lavender, jojoba, pomegranate, Neroli, rose, sandalwood, rosemary and Ylang-ylang.
Note: Individuals who are sensitive to essential oils should do a patch test before using them:
For patch test, apply a little small amount of essential oil that you want to use, on the inner side of the wrist. Do not wash and keep it like that for 24 hours, after which check the spot for any signs of irritation. If you don’t experience anything, then it means you do not have sensitivity to that essential oil and you can safely use it. If there is any burning, redness or stinging at the site of patch test, then you are allergic to it and do not use that essential oil whatsoever.
Research tells there are health benefits of essential oils, whereas the Food and Drug Administration doesn’t regulate or monitor the quality or purity of essential oils.
Before starting to use essential oils, it is important to consult with your healthcare professional and also do your own research regarding the brand’s quality, which you want to use. Like mentioned before, do a patch test before using any essential oil and do not use it in concentrated form and dilute it in a carrier oil to prevent skin irritation.
Olive Oil: Studies have shown that consumption of olive oil can help in protecting the skin and delaying of wrinkles. The byproducts of olive oil, such as leaves and stems have compounds, which help in boosting the collagen levels of the skin.
Another study in 2001 had shown that individuals who consumed a diet which was rich in olive oil were susceptible to development of wrinkles when compared to individuals who ate a diet which was high in butter, dairy and meat.(11)
Research has also shown that vegetables, such as tomatoes, broccoli and legumes, like beans and lentils also have protective effect on the skin against wrinkles. These foods can be used daily in your diet, but be cautious if you are suffering from any food allergies.
Topical Vitamin C: This is an antioxidant which helps in production of collagen in the skin and is naturally present in many vegetables and fruits like kale, rosehips, guava and chili peppers.
Application of topical vitamin C gel or cream helps in reducing wrinkles and other signs of aging, especially sun damage present on the skin.
A small study from 2008, where 10 participants used a vitamin C gel on one side of the face and used a gel without vitamin C on the other side showed that there were less signs of sun damage and wrinkling on the side of the face where vitamin C gel was used(12). Vitamin C gel not only hydrated the skin, but also boosted production of collagen and reduced inflammation.
Minerals: Minerals are like vitamins and they are micronutrients present in the foods and the body needs minerals in small amounts for ample health. In case of skin and prevention of wrinkles, minerals help in healing, filtering the sunlight and preventing damage. Selenium and zinc are two important minerals for the health of the skin.
Application of topical cream, which has selenium and zinc in it, helps in blocking UV radiation and also protects the skin from sun damage which are the primary cause of wrinkles.
One can also take dietary supplements, which has selenium in it to experience the same protective effects. However, if you are following a healthy diet, it is likely that you are getting sufficient amount of selenium and zinc from your foods.
Foods which have increased quantities of selenium are: yogurt, sunflower seeds bananas, spinach and oatmeal.
Zinc is present in: beans, oysters, oatmeal, almonds, cheese and peas.
Excessive intake of selenium and zinc can be detrimental to the health, so before taking any supplement consult your doctor.
Yogurt and Probiotics
Studies show that regular consumption of probiotics, either in supplement form or present in yogurt helps in reducing the appearance of wrinkles and benefits the health of the skin.
An animal study done in 2013 in older mice that were fed probiotic yogurt showed that they had healthier fur and skin when compared to mice which weren’t(13). Human studies showed that application of probiotics to the skin increases its strength and protects against sunlight damage.
Facial Massage for Treating Wrinkles
Many of us turn to facial massages for preventing and also improving the appearance of wrinkles and the texture of the skin. Using a handheld device for facial massage also helps in preventing wrinkles by the way of stimulating collagen production, which helps in keeping the skin smooth.
Doing a daily massage on the face for about 5 minutes with your fingers improves blood circulation to the skin and relaxes you, which helps in preventing and treating wrinkles.
Many massage salons and spas have facial massage treatments to improve the appearance of the skin. One needn’t go to these places, as you can give yourself a facial massage at home by using your fingers to apply firm pressure on either side of the face and slowly massaging in circular strokes.
A small study in 2017 also supports this, where participants who used an anti-aging device, which massages with the help of a cream on their neck and face for 8 weeks showed improvement in skin texture, skin sagging and wrinkles.(14)
Copper or Silk Pillowcases
Not many know that preventing wrinkles can be as easy and simple as choosing the right pillowcase, such as a silk or copper-oxide pillowcase, which is hypoallergenic and contains proteins, so it easy on the skin and helps in decreasing fine lines.(15, 16) Rough textured pillow cases increases friction and causes micro-tears on the skin when sleeping.
Wrinkles are a natural part of the aging and are nothing to be ashamed of. If you feel conscious and want to delay their appearance, then you can try the above home treatments that have been tested and backed by science before resorting to any medical treatments.
Any type of treatments will help in improving your skin’s appearance, however, the best treatment and prevention for wrinkles is to protect your skin from the sun. A sunscreen is the best anti-aging cream that you can find. Always use SPF of minimum 30 when outside in the sun and reapply every 2 to 3 hours. Don’t stay out in the sun too much and always wear protective clothing, such as long sleeves, pants, hat and goggles.
Lifestyle choices go a long way in how your skin looks.(17) It is important to apply moisturizer daily according to your skin type. Follow a healthy diet, quit smoking, drink alcohol in limited amount to better your skin health and also your overall health.(17)