Though we love to hate them, wrinkles tell the story of your life. Those clandestine cigarette puffs you took while snuggled in a parka on the icy sidewalk; the sun you soaked in while lying on the beach in Mexico; the excited grin that escapes you every time your coworker says the word “chocolate”—they all account for the life experience behind the fine lines. To help us understand the history of our wrinkles—and how we might prevent them—we reached out to Dermatologist Dr. Gervaise Gerstner for her expert take.

The Cause

If you’re like us, you love context, so here’s a little background. “Wrinkles are caused by the loss of elastin and collagen in the skin and they can also be caused by loss of structure in the face (muscle loss, fat atrophy, bone loss). As we age we are prey to a whole host of changes in our body which lead to looser skin BUT our skin also reveals how we have taken care of it in terms on sun exposure and lifestyle (smoking/drinking),” Gerstner says.

The Effect

To help us connect the dots, Gerster explained how lifestyle activities may be affecting our skin. 

wrinkles and fine lines

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The Solution

While it’s nice to know what’s causing our wrinkles, Gerster reminded us that most of these activities are normal.  Inhibiting our facial expressions is clearly not a good option, but what should we limit for the sake of our skin? The answer is simple: “drop tanning beds, sunbathing, smoking,” Gerstner says.

A preventative anti-aging regimen is also key. Gerster recommends a topical regimen that includes, “sunscreen, glycolic pads, and retinol.” It’s also important to consider other factors that could be causing your wrinkles, like diet and even your smartphone!

So there you have it—when you read the fine print, ditch the naughty lifestyle choices, and employ a fabulous anti-aging regimen those life experiences don’t have to come to the surface after all. Unless of course you’d like to share them in the comments… we love a good story.

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