by Amanda Etkind
Unfortunately, wrinkles are unavoidable. Sure, we can slather our skin in serums, moisturizers, oils, and SPF (of course) in the hopes that they will keep our glow going and wrinkles at bay, but if you’re thinking you’ll never get a wrinkle—it’s just not not happening. Not only do we get these wrinkles because of the natural aging process, but in today’s culture—where the Sunday Scaries come on strong each and every week—stress-induced wrinkles are bound to pop up. While we can’t avoid stress altogether, we can certainly do things and incorporate habits into our daily lives to help ward off these worry wrinkles and alleviate stress. Keep reading for the 4-1-1 on worry wrinkles: what they are, why they happen, how to prevent them, and products to help minimize their appearance.
So tell me, what exactly are worry wrinkles?
Unlike wrinkles caused by aging due to a decrease in collagen, stress wrinkles are typically a direct response of lifestyle stressors/factors. Think about it, when we’re stressed our sleep, diet, and exercise habits tend to suffer. All of these things negatively impact our skin’s health. Dr. Eric First, stress expert and co-founder and CMO of R3SET Stress Supplements explained to Byrdie, "Stress wrinkles are thought to occur as a result of chronic stress—typically psychological stress—and environmental stressors (toxins, pollutants, sun exposure).” So if you’re super anxious about a work project or your boss is making you clock in those overtime hours, don’t be surprised if you notice worry-lines pop up between your brows or forehead area.
Ah, I see...why and how do we get them?
To get straight to the point: Something called telomeres are responsible for stress wrinkles. Stay with us here—we know we’re about to get a little science-y. Telomeres are the caps at the end of each strand of DNA that protect our chromosomes, kind of like the covering at the end of our sneaker to protect your toes from any impact. Basically, any time you have prolonged stress these telomeres start to shorten. Once they’ve reached their end point and can’t replicate themselves any longer, signs of aging, like wrinkles, can begin to appear. That’s why the older we get, and things like money, work, dating, and overall life start to cause stress, we notice more and more wrinkles. Even more, a study by NCBI, found those with anxiety, depression, or chronic psychological and physical stress may be more prone to wrinkles than those individuals without it.
How can I prevent them?
We’re so glad, you asked! The good news is that managing stress levels and incorporating healthy habits into your routine can positively impact these worry lines and wrinkles. We know it’s hard to totally eliminate stress from your life, but including some of the below can truly have a positive effect on your stress levels.
Sweat it out
Exercise can seriously aid in releasing stress thanks to the release of endorphins (a happy hormone) that helps you calm down. Find a form of movement to do for 20-30 minutes each day that brings you joy.
Jam out to your favorite song
We may not be able to hit the club right now, but dancing and finding music has been shown to boost your body’s immune function which in turn helps you deal with stress better.
You may associate coloring with a childhood activity you did when your mom wanted to keep you occupied, but it’s actually a great way to “turn off” your brain and focus on the task at hand.
Breathing exercises are a great way to manage stress in the moment. Try breathing in for 4 seconds, hold for 7 seconds, then exhale for 8 seconds. You can repeat as needed.
Make self-care Sunday an actual thing
Whether you’re busy with work or life just keeps getting in the way, taking time for yourself should still be important. Make sure to schedule self-care days into your routine to truly give yourself a chance to relax and unwind.
Clocking in at least 8 hours of sleep each night is crucial when it comes to stress. While we sleep, our body goes into repair mode. If you’re not getting enough sleep, your body can’t properly function.
Are there any products I can add to my routine to help?
Well, duh! Having a skincare routine in general can help soften the appearance of these stress wrinkles, but there are a few key ingredients you want to be sure to have in your daily regimen. Using SPF every day is absolutely non-negotiable. Simply put, protecting your skin from those harmful UVA and UVB rays keeps premature wrinkles from appearing. Another necessary ingredient is retinol or a retinol alternative. We love our NEW Rest + Reset Mask & Moisturizer for this step. Inside the power-packed tube, you’ll find a plant-based, natural retinol alternative called bakuchiol that boosts collagen production, encourages cell turnover, reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, supports skin firmness and elasticity, sans sensitivity. Apply a thin layer as the last step of your routine a few nights a week (depending on your skin type) and you’re good to glow. Last but certainly not least, don’t forget to protect your skin barrier. Incorporating a product with barrier-boosting oils like our Glow Potion Oil Serum (which is filled with nourishing antioxidant-rich oils like rosehip seed oil) helps to keep moisture and hydration in for a strong, healthy skin barrier.
We know it’s hard to keep stress levels down (trust us, we do), but now that you know the what, why, and how to prevent them, you can be more mindful and begin to incorporate healthier habits and the proper skincare into your routine to ward off these worry wrinkles for good.