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By Cynthia Bailey MD.

Fine lines and wrinkles on your face are some of the earliest signs that you have sun-damaged skin. Your facial skin is thin and exposed to the sun whenever you are outdoors during daylight hours. Even diligent use of sunscreen and sun protection practices won’t block 100% of UV rays. That's because we live on a sunny planet where UV rays bounce off the ground, come through glass, and wear out our sunscreen.

The good news is that your skin care routine can help slow and even reverse the signs of sun damage on your skin – starting with your fine lines and wrinkles.

Why does your skin start to show fine lines and wrinkles?

The presence of fine lines and wrinkles indicates that the top living cell layer of skin, called the epidermis, is thinning. Fine lines and wrinkles also mean that the second living layer of skin, called the dermis, is losing collagen and elastin.

This thinning of the two living skin layers happens mostly due to chronic UV exposure over your lifetime, starting in childhood.

Temporary skin dryness and scale will also accentuate the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.  

Once you understand the structural reasons for fine lines and wrinkles, you know what to do to slow and reverse them!

First, and most simply, plump up any fine wrinkles due to skin dryness by keeping your skin well hydrated. As I mention below, do this by selecting a skin cleanser that does not overly dry your skin, and by using skin hydrating products regularly.

Second, stop as much skin UV exposure as you possibly can. Do this by wearing a broad spectrum mineral zinc oxide sunscreen every day. I think that zinc oxide gives us the best, most reliable, and most durable sun protection. Know that UV exposure starts a cascade of events in your skin that leads to collagen degradation and the resultant fine lines and wrinkles. Be sure to pick a zinc oxide sunscreen product with an SPF 30 or higher and that is labeled 'broad-spectrum'.

Third, use skin care products that support skin collagen renewal. This is the best way to really correct fine lines and wrinkles. These are products with professional levels and stable formulations of one or more ingredients proven to stimulate collagen renewal. Add as many of these ingredients to your skin care routine as you can. The more the better, as I discuss.

You get the best results for reversing fine lines and wrinkles when you use Dr. Bailey's Complete Skin Care Routine built with compatible and synergistic products. 

Dr. Bailey’s Complete Skin Care Routine involves 4 essential skin care steps:

  1. Cleanse
  2. Correct
  3. Hydrate
  4. Protect

How does a dermatologist use skin care products to reverse their fine lines and wrinkles.

  1. CLEANSE skin using non-drying skin cleansers. Add a skin exfoliating product twice a week when cleansing. This helps to remove the lusterless dead cells that increase the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
  2. CORRECT skin thinning with products that help stimulate the skin’s collagen renewal. These include professional levels of retinoids (i.e., Retinol Intensive Anti-wrinkle Cream), vitamin C (as in my Vitamin C Professional Serum), and glycolic acid (as in my Glycolic Acid Anti-Wrinkle Face Cream). Include antioxidant ingredients to fight additional skin structure damage with resultant thinning due to UV exposure. One of the most effective antioxidants you can apply to your skin is green tea polyphenols. Get stable pharmaceutical grade green tea polyphenols in my Green Tea Antioxidant Skin Therapy. Vitamin C is also an extremely effective antioxidant for your skin care.
  3. HYDRATE skin with moisturizing products matched to your skin type. Boost skin hydration to plump fine lines and wrinkles almost instantly by using ingredients that capture, bind, and retain water in the various skin layers. Some of the most helpful ingredients include PCA, glycerin, hyaluronic acid (found in my Instantly Luminous Serum), ceramides, squalane (as in my Daily Face Creams), and oils (as in my Face Booster Oils and Natural Lotion and Butter). Pick you moisturizer based on your skin type. Also know that using a moisturizer with professional levels of glycolic acid will also stimulate production of your skin’s own hyaluronic acid in the dermis, where it can plump dry and limp skin from underneath.
  4. PROTECT skin from further skin thinning with a daily application of a broad spectrum sunscreen. My bias is that mineral zinc oxide gives you the best UV protection to fight sun damage. Pick your product based on your skin type and preferences.

Know that some products are multi-taskers and will cover the functional benefits of more than one of these steps. Pick your products based on your skin type and preferences. Focus your efforts on products for the correct step #2. This is where collagen renewal can be supported. You will learn on my product pages that powerful correcting ingredients are irritating. Go slowly; start with one at a time and let your skin adjust. I share what I have learned over the years and I hope it will help you achieve success in your own battle against fine lines and wrinkles.

I want to stress, too, that you must diligently protect your skin from UV damage to prevent more wrinkling. Find a sunscreen you love for step #4 and wear it every day, or else all your good work will be undone by the sun. If you wear makeup, I recommend a mineral makeup because the mineral particles will also help bounce UV rays off of your skin. Pick your products below based on the essential skin care steps that they provide.