Root Causes of Fine Lines and Wrinkles (and what you can do about it)

fine lines wrinkles

Are you aging faster than your friends? Does it feel like fine lines and wrinkles are happening seemingly overnight? Are you in your 30’s or 40’s? The root cause of your fine lines and wrinkles may be better understood once we define your skin type.

As we age, there are a number of changes that happen to our bodies and our skin, many of which begin as we enter our 30’s and 40’s. The most significant related to fine lines and wrinkles is the decrease in collagen production which leads to a loss of elasticity. The result is premature aging in the form of wrinkles and thin skin, common traits of sage skin types.

In our article Five Skin Types, we explain each skin type in depth.

Keep in mind that as we age, our type may change or we may experience traits of more than one type. This has been true for me and my patients. Whichever skin type you are, there are lifestyle and skin care routine changes that can be made to address the root causes of fine lines and wrinkles. 

As a sage skin type, you may have experienced one or more of the following:

  • Chronically dry skin
  • Delayed wound healing
  • Excessive wrinkles
  • Sagging, loose skin
  • Thin skin
  • Excessive fine lines and wrinkles

As a teenager and young adult, you may have spent significant time in the sun. Without sunscreen made of nutrient-rich ingredients or worse, no sunscreen, you may have done damage to your skin. It is also likely that you inherited genes that make you more susceptible to premature aging or excessive collagen loss. The good news is that making changes to your lifestyle can impact other root causes of fine lines and wrinkles.

Root Cause #1 of Fine Lines and Wrinkles: Oxidative Damage

fine lines and wrinkles

Oxidative damage speeds the breakdown of your skin’s elastin and collagen. As we age, elastin fibers in the skin deteriorate, causing a loss of elasticity and the appearance of wrinkles. 70 to 80 percent of the skin’s dry weight is collagen and it is collagen that gives the dermis its structure. The dermis is the layer below what you see on the outside. It is comprised of blood capillaries, nerve endings, sweat glands, and hair follicles.

There are hereditary disorders where collagen or elastin is deficient, leading to premature aging but that’s not the only cause of oxidative damage. Exposure to the sun, especially ultraviolet radiation, causes the skin to lose elasticity and age quickly. Typically big changes happen after the age of sixty years old but may occur as early as the twenties.

You can’t stop the clock on aging but you can make changes like using sunscreen and eating a diet rich in healthy fats such as avocados, and antioxidant-rich foods such as berries and green leafy vegetables.

Root Cause #2 of Fine Lines and Wrinkles: Blood Sugar Issues

fine lines and wrinkles

Our bodies need glucose, blood sugar, as a primary fuel source. If consumed in excess, or not used and metabolized properly, sugar can bind to the skin’s collagen and elastin causing rigidity and loss of elasticity. The end result is cracked, thin, or red skin, a weakened ability to repair, and the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. While this process is hard to reverse, you can keep an eye on your sugar consumption and support healthy blood sugar balance.

If you love fruit, trade watermelon which is high in sugar, for berries which are low in sugar. Avoid processed sugar found in many granola bars, frozen meals, and white bread. Opt instead for almonds and other nuts, freshly made meals, and whole-grain bread. These simple changes will help blood sugar issues associated with fine lines and wrinkles.

Root Cause #3 of Fine Lines and Wrinkles: Hormone Imbalances 

solutions for fine lines and wrinkles

As we age, hormones shift significantly, especially in women. Estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone decrease while stress hormone cortisol increases. The result is a change in skin texture and appearance. To offset these changes, eat a diet rich in hormone balancing cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, and kale.

Root Cause #4 of Fine Lines and Wrinkles: Nutritional Deficiencies

solutions for fine lines and wrinkles

As we’ve discussed throughout this article, what we eat impacts how our skin looks and feels. For sage skin types, they often have nutrient deficiencies as one of their root causes. Essential fatty acids maintain skin cell hydration and function while vitamin C helps build and maintain collagen. Deficiencies in these areas may be because of digestion and absorption issues. Consider adding prebiotics and probiotics to your regimen. Building the gut and skin microbiomes helps us age gracefully.

Skin Care Routine

solutions for fine lines and wrinkles

In addition to the internal root causes of fine lines and wrinkles, there is also your current skin care routine to consider. What you put in your body is as important as what you’re putting on your skin. Use antioxidant-packed serums and moisturizers that hydrate and plump up your skin with ingredients such as plant-based oils and hyaluronic acid.

We may not be able to stop the aging process, we can do our best to give our bodies what they need to look and feel healthy. For sage skin types especially, using sun protection, paying attention to sugar intake, eating hormone balancing foods, and addressing nutritional deficiencies are ways to address the root causes of fine lines and wrinkles.

 Dr. Cates’ book Clean Skin From Within covers this topic, along with others, in detail.

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