How to Prevent and Treat Fine Lines & Wrinkles

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How to Prevent Fine Lines and Wrinkles

Sooner or later, once with wisdom and experience, we all get wrinkles, no matter how much matcha we drink, how often we hit the gym, or how devoted we are to skincare. At some point, collagen starts to degrade, and fine lines and wrinkles become more and more visible, making bouncy, smooth skin a thing of the past. Arming yourself with knowledge and skincare diligence can help you hold on to that firm, bouncy skin as long as possible. Aging is all about prevention, protection, and correction, in this exact order. That's why, in today's post, we'll cover what cause fine lines and wrinkles, plus a series of tips to prevent and diminish them so you can feel your best at all ages. 

What Causes Fine Lines & Wrinkles?

If you're becoming highly concerned with your fine lines and wrinkles, you should know how skin becomes wrinkled in the first place. Fine lines and wrinkles are caused naturally by essential protein depletion as we age and each person's lifestyle.

First, there's intrinsic aging (aka chronological aging) which you can't do much about as that's the natural aging process determined by genetics and the body's ability to repair skin damage, regardless of external factors. After the age of 20, fibroblasts become less active, making collagen and elastin production decline by about 1-1.5% a year. [1] 

Extrinsic aging, on the other hand, is influenced by various external factors and that you can change. These factors include sun exposure, pollution, smoking, alcohol, sugar, sedentarism, and stress.[2] These can speed up collagen degradation, making skin wrinkle faster. The guiltiest of them all is the sun — 80% of facial wrinkles are attributed to sun damage.

Fine Lines vs Wrinkled Skin—How Can You Tell the Difference? 

You always see your anti-aging products addressing fine lines and wrinkles. But have you ever wondered what the difference is between these two? Fine lines are superficial and more difficult to observe, and appear when you frown, smile, or laugh. Wrinkles are deeper, and skin doesn't bounce back to its shape, so they're always visible. Thus, the difference between fine lines and wrinkles is the depth of their fold. As you may have guessed, fine lines turn into deeper set wrinkles over time. 

What are the Different Types of Wrinkles? 

At some point, we get wrinkles all over the body, but the face will always show the most wrinkles. That happens because the face is expressive and is exposed to all kinds of skin-damaging foes, like UV and free radicals. Depending on what causes them, wrinkles can be classified as:

  • Crow's feet - are usually the first wrinkles that occur, given that the undereye has the thinnest skin from all over the face. Crow's feet are wrinkles that form on the outer corner of the eye area from repetitive smiling and squinting.
  • Forehead wrinkles - these are horizontal lines across the forehead and vertical lines between the eyebrows (also called the 11 lines). Forehead wrinkles are caused by years of muscle movement — every time you stress, worry and frown, the muscles contract, forming forehead wrinkles.
  • Smile lines - run vertically between the mouth and chin and on the sides of the mouth and are formed by repetitive laughing and smiling.

How to Prevent Fine Lines & Wrinkles

Prevention is better than cure in skincare. Having wrinkles is not the end of the world, they're part of who you are and add character to your face. But let's be honest, even if they're not a bad thing, a lot of us may want to delay fine line and wrinkle development. Here's how you do it.

As a quick reminder, the sun is the number one cause of early wrinkles. Hence, to prevent premature fine lines and wrinkles, protect your skin with sunscreen against sunbeams every single day, no matter the season or temperature. You want your sunscreen to have broadspectrum protection (meaning UVA and UVB rays) with at least SPF 30.[3]

As the years go on, free radicals (UV, pollution, smoke, dust) degrade collagen fibers, making skin lose elasticity and firmness in time. One way to control that is to defend your complexion with antioxidants daily. The most potent antioxidant we've got is vitamin C, which not only scavenges free radicals but brightens dark patches and stimulates collagen production, too.

Keeping your skin moisturized is another great method to delay fine line and wrinkle development since skin dryness has been associated with more visible wrinkles. Make sure to use a moisturizer both AM and PM to trap water in the skin and protect it from drying out.

Bonus: Hydrating from the inside out matters too. "When you drink water, the cells absorb that water and look plumper, smoothing out wrinkles," Columbia University dermatologist Monica Halem, MD, claims.[4]

Diligent skincare helps control fine lines and wrinkles but is not the fix-all cure. In fact, there are a bunch of other key actions in maintaining a tight complexion for as long as possible. Having a healthy, balanced diet, free of refined carbs and sugar, exercising regularly, and practicing mindfulness also help keep skin smooth for longer.

How to Reduce Fine Lines on the Face

Reducing fine lines is mostly about using skincare that aids in plumping skin. The trick is to layer products that promote hydration and keep the protective barrier strong to prevent loss of moisture. Look out for serums spiked with the most potent hydration-boosting agent, hyaluronic acid. Using a serum that packs multiple molecular sizes of hyaluronic acid helps soften fine lines, making skin appear bouncy and smooth. Or, even better, quench your skin with our Quadruple Hyaluronic Acid Hydrator.


Barrier strengthening ingredients that hinder transepidermal water loss (TEWL) are also a boon for reducing fine lines. When more moisture is retained in the tissue, the skin appears plumper and lines less visible. And which are the best ingredients to reinforce the protective barrier, if not the ones naturally found in the epidermis? Ceramides, peptides, fatty acids, cholesterol, and amino acids are a must for keeping moisture locked in and fine lines less perceivable.

How to Help Diminish Wrinkles

Unless you're willing to appeal to in-office botox injections, resurfacing lasers, or hyaluronic acid fillers, you can't entirely iron out wrinkles, but at least you can make them appear less deep with a strict skincare regimen. 

To help your skin perform its best and offset wrinkles with a non-invasive approach, you should focus on targeted skincare. Case in point: anti-aging ingredients. Yep, all the aforementioned ingredients, including sunscreen, vitamin C, ceramides, peptides, and hyaluronic acid, are successful at diminishing wrinkle appearance.

Retinol is another powerhouse ingredient, called the anti-aging gold standard. This youth-enhancing agent stimulates cell turnover, encourages collagen production and thickening the skin, which helps diminish wrinkles and reduce discolorations.

Other tried-and-true ingredients that are great at diminishing wrinkles are alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs), which you're likely no stranger to.[5] Whether you go for mild lactic acid peelings or something more potent with glycolic acid, AHAs are wonderful for removing dead cell buildup, smoothing texture, building collagen and softening wrinkles. Plus, product absorption increases once the skin is exfoliated, so you benefit more from your skincare products. That's what we call a win-win!

Finally, as the last step in your battle against wrinkles, you have to take action from the inside out. And since collagen is the protein that gives skin laxity and density, but its molecule is too large to penetrate skin when used topically, you may want to try collagen supplements. They improve skin elasticity, firmness, and hydration while reducing wrinkles and skin roughness.[6]

Find the Best Skincare Products For Fine Lines and Wrinkles at Exponent

Spotting the best skincare products for fine lines and wrinkles can be overwhelming with endless formulas out there. But we have clinically tested plenty of them, and these anti-aging products meet our Full of Standard. Take a peep!

  • Reilly DM, Lozano J. Skin collagen through the lifestages: importance for skin health and beauty. Plast Aesthet Res 2021. Source
  • Jean Krutmann, Tamara Schikowski, Akimichi Morita, Mark Berneburg, Environmentally-Induced (Extrinsic) Skin Aging: Exposomal Factors and Underlying Mechanisms, Journal of Investigative Dermatology, Volume 141, Issue 4, Supplement, 2021.
  • Hughes MC, Williams GM, Baker P, Green AC. Sunscreen and prevention of skin aging: a randomized trial. Ann Intern Med. 2013 Jun 4. Source
  • WebMD, A Wrinkle in Time: Preventing Damage to Aging Skin. Source
  • Tran D, Townley JP, Barnes TM, Greive KA. An antiaging skin care system containing alpha hydroxy acids and vitamins improves the biomechanical parameters of facial skin. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 2014;8:9-17. Published 2014 Dec 19. Source
  • Al-Atif H. Collagen Supplements for Aging and Wrinkles: A Paradigm Shift in the Fields of Dermatology and Cosmetics. Dermatol Pract Concept. 2022;12(1):e2022018. Published 2022 Jan 1. Source


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