Can dry skin cause wrinkles? At first sight, it would seem so. People with dry skin tend to have more and deeper wrinkles than those with oily skin. Yet, wrinkles and dry skin aren’t related. Here’s why:
What causes wrinkles?
The main cause of wrinkles is sun exposure. Dermatologist Dr Natasha Cook explains: “Sun exposure accounts for 90 percent of wrinkles. The way the sun forms a wrinkle is it breaks down the support structures in the endoderm — it’s known as collagen or elastin. As these fibres break down we lose support and the skin becomes more easily creased.” You can prove this simply by comparing those body parts that are often exposed to the sun such as your hands and face with those that rarely see it, like your abdomen and inner arms. The latter parts have less wrinkles, are more firm and elastic and have no brown spots. Other factors, such as our genes and smoking, also contribute to the wrinkles and determine how our skin ages.
The connection between dry skin and wrinkles
Although dry skin can’t cause wrinkles, it can accentuate them. When skin is hydrated, it looks plump and moist, making wrinkles look less pronounced. When skin is dry, instead, its protective barrier, which prevents water loss, is damaged. Moisture escapes the skin and the sebum (the skin’s in-built moisturizer) it produces is not enough anymore to keep it moisturized. This makes wrinkles and flaws look more apparent. But while applying a moisturizer can reduce the appearance of wrinkles, it won’t make them disappear.
How can you treat dry skin and wrinkles?
The best way to prevent wrinkles is to stay out of the sun as much as possible and wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF of at least 15, better if of 30, every day, regardless of the weather (sun rays can penetrate through glass, clouds and be reflected on snow). Using products with retinoids and antioxidants, such as Vitamins C and E and Green Tea to name a few, which can fight the formation of free radicals that leads to wrinkles, is also helpful. Alpha Hydroxy Acids, such as Glycolic Acid also can, by exfoliating skin, reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Finally, you should also use a moisturizer with ingredients, such as glycerin, fatty acids, and ceramides, that can repair the skin’s protective barrier, thus preventing the water loss that leads to dry skin.
The Bottom Line
Although dry skin doesn’t cause wrinkles, it can accentuate them. By avoiding excess sun exposure, wearing sunscreen 365 days a year, and using skincare products with antioxidants, retinoids, AHAs and skin-identical ingredients (those that can repair the skin’s protective barrier), we can prevent the formation of new wrinkles and improve the appearance of the ones we already have.
Do you have both dry skin and wrinkles? How do you deal with them?