Wrinkles are caused by changes in the lower layer of the skin, the dermis. There are three important structural components of skin that are damaged by inflammation and decrease as we age that contribute to the formation of wrinkles: collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid (HA).
To prevent wrinkles, you have to stop the loss of these components or stimulate new production of them. Only a few ingredients can penetrate to the deep layer of skin to prevent wrinkles. What to look for:
- Topical agents that stimulate the skin to make its own collagen, elastin, and HA.
- Nonprescription retinols and retinoids (obtained via prescription) can control oil and increase collagen synthesis (sensitive skin types may react to these and should see a dermatologist first).
- Antioxidants, when used consistently on the skin, will likely prevent some wrinkles by reducing free radical damage that degrades those molecules.
- Retinoids, vitamin C, and copper peptide have been shown to increase collagen synthesis.
Products with collagen, elastin, or HA are not as effective because those molecules are too large to penetrate into the deeper layers of skin.