6 Common Myths About Wrinkles Debunked
By DR. ASHLEY MAGOVERN
As a practicing dermatologist, I get asked every day about wrinkles. No matter if my patients are seeing me for a mole, a wart or a rash, they always want to know what my recommendations are for correcting existing and preventing future wrinkles. With thousands of competing wrinkle products out there -- and conflicting claims about what works and what doesn't -- anyone can have a hard time drawing the line between a fact and a myth. Let's try to clarify some of them:
Myth 1: I don't need a wrinkle cream if I use a moisturizer every day.
Actually, not so. I am a huge proponent of using moisturizer every day; it has its own important qualities, but wrinkle reduction isn't one of them. It's what you put on before the moisturizer that really makes a difference. For prevention, finding a well-formulated product that has proven wrinkle-fighting and collagen-boosting properties is the way to go. If you're struggling with wrinkles, you want to look for products with retinoic acid derivatives like retinol; antioxidants like vitamin C, resveratrol or green tea extracts; or alpha hydroxy acids like glycolic acid.
Myth 2: My under-eye wrinkles need a separate skin care product.
Eye creams aren't bad for you, but I wouldn't consider them necessary. I would rather see you use a great skin care regimen on the entire face and make sure to include the eye area (and this should include sunscreen, by the way) than to use a separate product for your eyes. If your eye area can tolerate it, it's best (and cheaper) to use your facial product here.
Myth 3: If I don't see results from my wrinkle product after one or two weeks, I should try a new one.
I've met patients who use their wrinkle products for a couple of weeks and then switch to the next "it" cream when they don't see any visible changes. For your product to work, you must stick with the regimen for at least three months. The skin-renewal cycle takes, on average, about 28 days (it actually gets longer with age). It takes about three of these cycles to really start to see what the products can do, and if we can shorten the cycle to reflect a more youthful state with the use of products, even better! If you are using well-formulated products (ones that contain the key players I listed above), I promise you will see change.
Myth 4: Getting facials will help my skin age better and get fewer wrinkles.
Facials can make you feel amazing and relaxed (and there are benefits to that), but they don't do much for your wrinkles. Sure, they cleanse, exfoliate and stimulate blood flow to the skin, but you can actually do some of these same things at home with a good skin care routine. If you want to bump up your anti-aging routine, consider a laser-, light- or energy-based treatment -- these can really change the structure of the skin and promote collagen production. They should be done regularly and some don't cost much more than a facial.
Myth 5: At-home wrinkle devices don't work.
The good news is that the science behind most of these at-home devices is the same that we use for our in-office devices. For example, some at-home wrinkle devices work by using light energy to heat the skin in a safe, controlled way. This stimulates collagen production, which leads to improvement of fine lines and wrinkles and firmer, brighter and more youthful-looking skin. If you're consistent and follow the device's instructions well, you'll see results.
Myth 6: I need to get prescription for "Retin-A" because over-the-counter versions aren't strong enough.
It's true that using a retinoic acid derivative is important in any skin care regimen, but it doesn't necessarily have to be prescription-strength. In fact, sometimes the stronger prescriptions can be irritating and prevents its use on a regular basis. I'd rather you choose an over-the-counter retinol formulation that you are able to use consistently.
Some of the these lighter formulations have been shown to be as effective in stimulating collagen and promoting new cell turnover as their prescription counterparts. We use the prescription-strength ones for treating acne -- and I do think they may have some benefit if someone has profound sun damage, discoloration and wrinkling -- but for everyday maintenance and prevention, over-the-counter versions, such as SkinMedica Age Defense Retinol Complex, are great options.
Readers -- Do you follow any of the tips mentioned above? Have you seen results? What steps do you take to prevent wrinkles? What are your tried-and-true skin care tips or products that you swear by? Leave a comment below and let us know!
Ashley Magovern, M.D., is a board-certified dermatologist who owns her own practice, Manhattan Dermatology, in Manhattan Beach, California. She loves all aspects of dermatology, including both the medical and cosmetic components of the discipline. She has a passion for skin care, believes in the importance of a good home routine and loves educating people on how to come up with an individualized plan. She is the medical director for DermStore.com.