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What to Do When You Get Your First Wrinkle

So you’ve noticed your first wrinkle – don’t panic! Here’s what to know and what do now.

Though it happens to all of us at some point, coming across that first wrinkle can be a bit of a shocker. It’s not really a reason to wallow — getting older is a gift! — but we obviously understand the desire to curb signs of aging, including fine lines, age spots, and skin laxity. This can be done with specific habits and products, and there are even a few advanced treatments out there that you can explore, as well.
We’re breaking down all the above with some expert help.
When Do Wrinkles Typically Start Forming?
The term “premature aging” can be a little confusing. What is considered premature?
“By 30 most people will start to see a wrinkle starting, but people who abused the sun in their teens and 20s can see wrinkles earlier, especially if they have fair skin,” says Dr. Elizabeth Zeitler, a board-certified dermatologist based on the Upper East Side of New York City.
In addition to sun, she says that a primary cause of early wrinkles is over-use of facial muscles. She calls these people “face talkers,” or people who make dramatic facial expressions often. It can also be caused from a repetitive motion, such as squinting repeatedly out in the sun, lifting your eyebrows up and squishing your forehead, frowning, and yes — smiling (but please don’t stop smiling!).
So, if you’re developing wrinkles and other signs of aging in your early to mid-20s, this is considered premature. If you’re getting them in your 30s, then they’re right on time. And if you get them much later, props to you for your regimen and/or congrats on the gene pool you were born into!
How to Adjust Your Routine Once Wrinkles Begin to Form
Prevention is the best way to curb signs of aging, and the best form of prevention is religious application of sunscreen and avoiding the sun. Doing both can slow down the process of a fine line turning into a deep wrinkle, and the formation of future lines, sun spots, and laxity. Continue — or get more serious about — your sunscreen with the first sign of a wrinkle. Outside of that, our dermatologists recommend the following:
Drink More Water, Wear More Moisturizer
“Moisturizer works to improve the appearance of a wrinkle by making the wrinkles less deep. Keeping your skin hydrated will also help in preventing fine lines and wrinkles,” notes Dr. Debra Jaliman, a board-certified dermatologist based in NYC. Drinking water also plumps the skin, only from the inside out. Dehydration, even if mild, can exacerbate the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and can even make your skin look dull.
One of Dr. Jaliman’s favorite moisturizing ingredients is hyaluronic acid. She says, “It’s a natural humectant that helps to attract and retain moisture. It restores hydration to your skin while aiding in boosting firmness and plumpness in your skin.”
Ceramides, botanical oils, and nut butters are also great for hydration, as are ceramides. Try The Plant Base Waterfall Moist Balanced Hyaluronic Acid 100 ($23), Acwell Betaglution Ultra Moisture Milk Oil ($37), and CosRx Balancium Comfort Ceramide Cream ($26).
Use Ingredients That Reverse and Curb Signs of Aging
In addition to hyaluronic acid, Dr. Jaliman recommends incorporating more potent anti-aging ingredients into your regimen. Her four favorites are retinol, niacinamide, lactic acid, and vitamin C.
“Retinol helps to stimulate a quicker renewal of skin cells. When someone uses retinol, the outer layer of the skin is sloughed off and the newer skin underneath is revealed,” she says. “Lactic acid helps to stimulate collagen synthesis. It improves skin texture, the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and helps those who have hyperpigmentation.”
Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that prevents free radical damage while brightening. Niacinamide is another antioxidant that has a ton of benefits. For starters, it stimulates fibroblasts that make collagen and helps even out skin tone. It can also improve the appearance of enlarged pores and dullness.
Try Neogen Bio-Peel Gauze Peeling Lemon ($27), Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin C Serum ($23), and Elensilia CPP French Propolis 82% Resistem Ampoule ($12.50).
Consider a Professional Treatment
There are, of course, some minimally invasive anti-aging options to consider, such as Botox and filler. These must be done under the care of a certified injection administrator (PA, RN, dermatologist, plastic surgeon) and should be prefaced with thoughtful discussions about the risks and your aesthetic goals. An alternative to filler is Platelet- Rich Plasma, or PRP.
“With PRP, your own plasma is injected back into your skin, which regenerates tissue and promotes your own collagen production to smooth and tighten. It can also plump cheek indentations and soften under-eye hollows,” explains Dr. Jaliman. “Because the PRP is sourced from the patient’s body, it eliminates the risk of an allergic reaction. It typically requires three to four treatments.”
Non-ablative lasers are another option. These improve skin tone and texture and help to minimize both pore size and fine lines. They also have the bonus of correcting previous damage from acne and scars.
Finally, you could incorporate dermal rollers into your routine, which are available over the counter. We’re partial to the Easydew Ex DW-EGF Derma Roller Program Special Kit ($55), which contains a dermal roller and 7-day supply of EGF ampoules. It’s meant to be used in a week-long succession as a drawn-out rejuvenating facial.
“Dermal rollers stimulate the muscles to help bring oxygen to that area. This helps with anti-aging because collagen production increases as blood flow increases through the facial massage,” says Dr. Jaliman. It also allows for better absorption of your products. You just need to make sure you’re keeping the device sanitary to prevent potential infection.
Bottom Line
If you get your first wrinkle, it’s not the end of the world. Keep on wearing sunscreen, incorporate anti-aging ingredients into your regimen, and should you desire, look into some more aggressive treatments. And remember — you’re gorgeous!

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