(InStyle) -- Life is full of reasons to smile, but expressing joy can cause lines to form around your eyes and mouth. Luckily, you don't have to grin and bear it. Read on for tips to keep creases at bay and make skin look smoother and younger
Naomi Watts confidently flashes her radiant smile.
Why wrinkles form
1. Decreased volume
Over time, skin loses fat and produces less hyaluronic acid, a substance that retains moisture. As a result, mature skin is thinner and drier than young skin.
"Like a helium balloon the day after a party," says Beverly Hills dermatologist Mark Rubin, "when skin is not filled to the same degree, you'll see crinkling on the surface."
Minimize the effects
Apply moisturizer to temporarily rehydrate (and plump up) the skin. For more help, try filler injections.
2. Loss of elasticity
As skin ages, the collagen and elastin fibers in the dermis break down, reducing skin's ability to "snap back" from smiles and other facial expressions. Exposure to sunlight accelerates this process, especially UVA rays, which penetrate deeper into the skin than UVB rays.
Minimize the effects
Wear broad-spectrum sunblock (look for such ingredients as Mexoryl, Helioplex and avobenzone), and apply an antioxidant cream daily. To build collagen, try products with vitamin A, peptides or growth hormones.
3. Repetitive motion
Dynamic movements that cause the skin to repeatedly crease in the same place, such as smiling, will wear down the underlying tissue in that specific spot, creating a line that remains after muscles relax.
Minimize the effects
Smiling is essential, but you can limit other motions that deepen crow's-feet. For example, wear sunglasses to keep from squinting in bright light. For the most dramatic results, consider Botox.
Expert help for smile lines
For fast results, consider in-office procedures for trouble spots.
1. Injectable fillers
Collagen and hyaluronic acid fillers (like Restylane) can be injected directly into wrinkles to restore volume loss. Collagen is thin and more viscous, making it easier to apply under thin eye skin. By contrast, hyaluronic acid, which is denser and lasts longer, is better suited for filling the nasolabial area (the lines from mouth to nose).
Primary area of use: Crow's feet and nasolabial folds
Costs: Collagen: $250--$550 per area; hyaluronic acid: $300--$850 per area
Lasts: Collagen: 3--4 months; hyaluronic acid: 6--12 months
Downtime: Swelling can last 1--2 days; some slight redness.
Risks: Bumpiness and bruising
Our experience: These deep injections hurt, but our tester saw immediate improvement in nasolabial folds. She had no swelling.
Insider tip: If you get a bump, massage the area within 24 hours to smooth it out.
Botulinum toxin, aka Botox, "relaxes the muscles, so when you smile, the skin won't crinkle up in the area around your eyes," says Michigan dermatologist D'Anne Kleinsmith. Limiting repetitive movements prevents the formation of wrinkles in those areas and lessens the appearance of existing lines.
Primary area of use: Forehead, brow lines and crow's-feet COST $200--$500 per area
Lasts: Approximately 3--4 months
Downtime: Virtually none, but slight swelling (that looks like a welt) may last a few hours following the injection.
Risks: Drooping of the eyelid or brow (rare)
Our experience: Slightly painful. It takes three to four days for dynamic wrinkles (that appear when you make facial expressions) to disappear.
Insider tip: Avoid blood thinners such as ibuprofen or aspirin before treatment; they increase the risk of bruising.
Use topical products to look better today -- and tomorrow.
"Anything you can do to hydrate your skin softens the appearance of fine lines," says dermatologist Susan Weinkle of Bradenton, Florida. For spot treatment of wrinkles, a product with a thick, cushiony feel fills in cracks better than a thinner cream or serum.
Try: Estée Lauder Perfectionist Correcting Concentrate for Deeper Facial Lines/Wrinkles.
Nothing will turn back the clock or erase damage caused by sunbathing, but you can stimulate the production of new collagen to bolster the skin's thickness and firmness. Look for products with retinol (like Clinique) or peptides (like Olay).
Try: Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting cream or Clinique Zero Gravity Repairwear Lift. E-mail to a friend
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