Oh No, Fine Lines!

I was walking down Duval Street when a skin care shop keeper lured me in. As she applied the product she politely showed me the magnifying mirror, and what do you think I saw? Fine lines, and lots of them!  So I did a little research on what to do and how to prevent them and here is what I found.

Age and wrinkles go together. When you get older, the epidermal cells or skin cells become thinner and less sticky. That effect causes moisture to be released from the skin and become dry. We lose about 10% of our epidermal cells per decade and so skin is less able to repair itself. Less collagen is produced that helps skin to be elastic, so the skin begins to wrinkle and sag. Skin also becomes more fragile, thin and can cut and tear more easily.

A healthy diet is of course important in skin care. Eat more fish, especially cold water and fatty fish like salmon. Dr. Perricone, a renown dermatologist and producer of an expensive skin care line says that Omega 3 fatty acids help nourish skin and keep it plump and youthful.

Eat more cocoa. One study back in 2006 in the Journal of Nutrition, showed that certain flavonoids in cocoa protect the skin from sun damage, improve circulation to the skin making it smoother to the touch. I think that would be dark chocolate, or hot cocoa. Yumm!

Eat more fruits and vegetables of course. The antioxidants fight free radicals that damage skin cells, thus improving the appearance of skin. They also protect against sun damage. Good skin foods are ones high in Vitamin A like carrots and other orange colored fruits and vegetables. Spinach, tomatoes, blueberries, beans, peas and nuts are also good choices. So if you eat well for your body you’re eating well for your skin.

Use moisturizer- a simple moisturizer will do. Lines and wrinkles are not as noticeable when moist and hydrated. Speaking of moisture, don’t overwash your face as this takes off your natural oils and dries out the skin.  Also, be careful that your soap is not too drying. If your skin tends to be dry (common in women over 50), use soap with moisturizer in it like Dove, or a gentle cleanser. After showering, just pat dry keeping it a little damp to apply your moisturizer. Avoid hot showers which can be drying to skin. Also drying are skin items with alcohol (not the drinking kind) and exposure to cold air. A benefit for us down here is that we have humidity and hot air which is quite healthy for our skin.

Certain ingredients are good for reducing wrinkles such as Alpha-hydroxy acids. This is good to lift the top layer of skin off, like a peel, reducing fine lines and wrinkles. Apparently there is some evidence that in higher concentration it can stimulate collagen production.

Retinoids have long been used for skin, especially Retin-A for acne. Retinol is a form of Vitamin A. You can find it in over the counter skin creams in diluted doses, and by prescription. Retinol also helps the top layer of skin. Some side effects with Retin-A are redness and irritation. But when that heals, you have smoother looking skin.

Another great vitamin for skin in a topical form is Vitamin C. Most of the studies have used L-ascorbic acid as the Vitamin C. This vitamin improves collagen production, protects skin from those bad UVA UVB rays. It can also improve inflamed skin and color problems like those dreaded sun spots, or liver spots, age spots etc. In my research, Retinol came off as the #1 treatment used in skin care lines for wrinkles. One good thing about it is that it has been around for years and hasn’t killed anyone.

Another ingredient I had never heard of is Idebenone. It is related to the enzyme and supplement CoQ10. A study published in the Journal of Dermatology found it to be helpful in improving skin hydration, roughness, fine lines and wrinkles, and overall improvement in sun damaged skin.

Growth factors can be used to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, increase collagen production. Hgh, Human Growth Hormone has been available in injection form for a number of years. Primarily the wealthy could get it for about $1500 a month.

Those people felt that it gave them decades of younger skin, less fat, and more sex drive.  Sign me up!! Now it is newly introduced as a pill form for $100 a month. Its name is SeoVital.  Side effects? I don’t know.

Keys very own dermatologist Michael E. Berman in Key West recommends two prescription products for fine lines. Those are mainly Glycolic Acid, it helps in high potency, and also prescription Retin-A. I asked about Renova, as I’m seriously on this, and he said it is Retin A in a nice cream.

For you younger guys and gals prevention is key.  Eat right, wear sun screen every day and whatever you do, don’t smoke. Just remember, it’s never too late to start taking care of your skin.


Nurse Practitioner’s Week is November 9 – 15, 2014. Thank your ARNP for their safe and affordable health care!

Carolyn has lived in the Florida Keys since 1992, presently practicing at Womankind in Key West and has taught nursing and practiced as a Nurse practitioner since 1979.