They say that youth is wasted on the young, right? Well, now that I’m in my thirties, I’m starting to understand that saying. Specifically when it comes to my SKIN. Now, don’t get me wrong, I *really* try to embrace the aging process and love my skin as I get older. And I don’t want this to come across like I’m trying to tell you that your wrinkles are ugly or a problem 🙃 Because growing old is a privilege and can be soooo beautiful. BUT let’s not kid ourselves! We all want to maintain youthful skin if possible and if there ARE ways to slow the process, why not give it a go, right?!
Unfortunately, the media and skincare industry preys on women and will try to sell us just about anything that will promise us baby-like, flawless, ageless skin. Whether it be Botox, expensive chemical peel treatments, injections, fillers, $400 celebrity-endorsed creams filled with junk ingredients…you name it.
That’s why I am actually PUMPED to share a couple of hacks with ya in this post today! While I’m certainly not aiming to look twenty years old when I’m fifty, I DO want to age gracefully and support my skin along the way. The goal should always be HEALTHY skin that naturally radiates from within, IMO ✨
This post will share some of my personal favorite tried and true skincare secrets and holistic methods for 1) preventing wrinkles and fine lines in the first place and 2) smoothing existing wrinkles. Be prepared because it’s a LONG post; think of it as your one-stop guide and resource to all things natural and graceful aging!
(P.S. I am NOT trying to cast judgment on anyone that chooses to get Botox or anything like that. You do you, it’s your face! 🙂 But I personally don’t want to put that in my body and prefer less invasive holistic modalities. If that sounds like you too, keep reading!)
This post contains affiliate links.
This post covers:
- What causes wrinkles anyway?
- Keeping skin youthful from within
- Proper skin hydration and moisture
- Wear a mineral SPF
- Wrinkle patches
- Clean retinol and plant-based retinol alternatives
- Microneedling (dermarolling)
- Gua sha massage
- Vitamin C serums
- Beauty sleep anti-wrinkle pillows
- Red light therapy (RLT)
- Cosmetic acupuncture
But FIRST, I want to set some realistic expectations here. I honestly don’t believe that there is one singular skincare product or treatment that can magically stop all aging and erase every single line and wrinkle. It’s truly a combination of proper skincare, a healthy lifestyle, eating well, and taking care of yourself.
And also, pleaseeeee don’t feel like you need to do ALL of the things listed here. Just some suggestions and ideas for places you can start!
What causes wrinkles anyway? 🤔
Before we begin, let’s chat about why we even get wrinkles in the first place. It’s easier to be proactive and prevent them vs. trying to reverse them. There are numerous causes:
- Repeated facial expressions that, over time, form a crease. It can start as a faint line and slowly grow into a deeper wrinkle. They’re most common on the forehead from raising our eyebrows, crow’s feet around the eyes from squinting or smiling, smile lines (nasolabial folds) around the mouth, or 11’s between the eyebrows from furrowing.
- Dehydration. Our skin is roughly 64% water! Hydrated skin = seamless and supple skin. This comes both from internal hydration (drinking water) and topical hydration (more on that below). Our skin gradually loses hydration as we age too.
- The natural aging process! Aside from hydration, our skin also becomes thinner, less elastic, produces less collagen and sebum, and has a slower cell turnover as we get older 👵🏻
- Exposure to excess ultraviolet (UV) light. Ultraviolet radiation breaks down skin’s connective tissue (collagen and elastin fibers) which contributes to less strength and flexibility (enter, sagging and wrinkles). Photoaging is said to be responsible for about 80 percent of wrinkles!
- Pollution and free radicals. Free radicals are reactive, unstable molecules that can affect your cells and DNA and cause premature aging. We’re constantly exposed to them in our environment! Lots of pollutants generate free radicals and it’s not only applicable if you live in a big city, btw. These pollutants can range from smog, cigarette smoke, radiation, chemicals in cleaning products, smoke from cooking, to a nearby farm being sprayed with pesticides.
- Genetics and other lifestyle factors such as smoking and stress! 🚬
11 Tips for Preventing & Smoothing Wrinkles (The Non-Toxic Way!)
1) The most important: Nourish and radiate from within!
I would be remiss to talk about a bunch of topical solutions without first addressing skincare from WITHIN! Our skin is a great communicator and can reflect internal imbalances. It’s pretty darn crucial and no amount of wrinkle cream can outperform major disruptions on the inside.
Here are a few ways your skin can benefit from the inside out via nutrition:
Note: This is not intended to be medical advice and we’re all bio-individual when it comes to nutrition! Consult with your doctor or practitioner to see what your individual needs may be.
Stay hydrated. I can *totally* tell when I’m dehydrated just from looking at my skin; my fine lines are more prominent and my skin feels tighter (not in a good way). Try to drink enough filtered water throughout the day and consume foods that are hydrating such as cucumber, watermelon, coconut water, and strawberries. Pro tip: Add in a pinch of unrefined sea salt or electrolyte powder to water to replenish minerals and help better absorb the water on a cellular level 🧂
Eat your antioxidants and Vitamin C. Remember that chat about free radicals and aging? Eating foods that have high levels of antioxidants and Vitamin C can neutralize them (Vitamin C intake has been associated with lower likelihood of wrinkles!). According to Dr. Josh Axe, some foods that are high in antioxidants are: goji berries, wild blueberries, cilantro, wild-caught salmon, carrots, tomatoes, and dark chocolate. And foods high in Vitamin C are: black currants, red peppers, kiwis, oranges, guavas, and strawberries 🍓
Manage your stress. I know it’s easier said than done, but a 2014 study discovered that chronic stress can cause wrinkles and elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol can hinder collagen production. Treat yoself to a relaxing spa day, Becca’s orders! 🧖♀️
Consume foods that are rich in collagen and healthy fats. Our bodies need essential fatty acids to maintain skin’s natural oil barrier and keep it hydrated, youthful, and plump. Foods like extra virgin olive oil, avocados, coconut, nuts, fatty fish like salmon, grass-fed butter, raw milk, and pasture-raised eggs. And did you know that collagen has been proven to be incredible for aging and wrinkles? Lots of foods contain collagen (like bone broth!) and I also take a powdered collagen supplement myself.
Consider adding liver into your diet. We’ll chat more about retinol from a topical skincare standpoint later in the post, but it cannot be synthesized by the body, so I try to consume liver and organ meats in my diet. Beef liver is rich in Vitamins A (retinol), C, K, E, selenium, and B5 (pantothenic acid) which all promote younger skin. It’s not that tasty, so I like to take desiccated liver capsules to supplement. Discount code ORGANICALLYBECCA works for the collagen and liver capsules!
Read more about supporting skin through nutrition here: “5 Key Tips for Clear Skin from Within (According to a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner)”
2) Make sure skin is both properly hydrated AND moisturized!
Hydration and moisture, yes, there is a difference! 💦 Do you ever notice when you’re in a drier climate that your fine lines and wrinkles are more defined? It’s because your skin is lacking hydration and moisture!
Basically, healthy skin needs BOTH water and oil. Either one alone won’t do. Without enough oils, the skin becomes parched, and without enough moisture, it will become dehydrated.
It’s also important that when you’re applying your skincare products, they should be in the correct order! Water-based products should penetrate the skin while oils should sit on the surface to lock in moisture and prevent trans-epidermal water loss. (PS, don’t be afraid of oils on your face!)
Without going into too much detail, here are some blog posts that can provide more insight into this topic:
- Benefits of Using Organic Facial Oils (& Four Oils You’ll Wanna Try ASAP)
- Best Natural Moisturizers: The Top 4 Face Creams for Supple Skin
- How to Effectively Layer Skincare & Maximize the Benefits of Your Products
- Hyaluronic Acid 101: Here’s Why You Need It in Your Skincare Routine Immediately
- Six Tips to Combat Dry Skin (With All Natural Products)
And if you want some quick recommendations for organic products with wrinkle-fighting properties that boost hydration and moisture:
- Alpyn PlantGenius Line-Filling Eye Balm: You only need a tiny dab of this eye cream and it works wonders! It helps soften lines around your eyes and has Vitamin C to help neutralize free radicals.
- Manuka Honey: Manuka honey is a humectant meaning it helps draw moisture into skin and maintain hydration. Plus it can encourage collagen production. I use it as a face mask on damp skin for about an hour! It will leave your face feeling supple and amazing. Read this post for more info about manuka honey.
- MŪN Protect + Revive Moisturizer: Such a special moisturizer, plus it has organic prickly pear seed oil which has tons of antioxidants to protect against stressors and anti-aging properties. You can use code ORGANICALLYBECCA for a discount.
- Osea Hyaluronic Sea Serum: This has been lovingly referred to as “Botox in a bottle” and for good reason! Hyaluronic acid attracts up to 1,000x its weight in water and is like a magnet for hydration. Your skin will thank you and look incredibly plump! You can use code BECCA10 for a discount on Osea products.
- Osea Sea Minerals Mist: A quick way to get a punch of hydration on your skin before applying a moisturizer!
- Wabi-Sabi Botanicals Age Gracefully Oil: This uses no essential oils and is ideal for sensitive or acne-prone skin. It’s a luscious oil with organic ingredients that replenish collagen, repair skin, provide antioxidant protection, minimize the look of lines, and plump. You can use code ORGANICALLYBECCA for a discount.
3) Avoid excess sun exposure and wear mineral facial sunscreen.
Notice I said EXCESS sun! Because we neeeeeeeed Vitamin D and sunlight is so beneficial for us. So we should really try to have a healthy relationship with the sun instead of 1) completely avoiding it altogether or 2) roasting outside for long periods during peak hours. Balance is key!
Since photoaging is said to be responsible for about 80 percent of wrinkles, I personally wear a mineral sunscreen on my face and neck. I tend to only wear body sunscreen on days I’ll be out for extended periods of time or a beach day 🧴 Hats are always an option, too!
I recommend avoiding chemical sunscreens (benzophenone, homosalate, oxybenzone, etc.) and use ones that are zinc oxide based. Zinc oxide has been shown to have many skincare benefits including slowing the signs of aging and improving collagen synthesis. And it’s non-toxic!
Here are two blog posts that will tell you everything you wanna know about choosing safer sunscreens (and my faves for facial use!):
- Best Tinted Mineral Sunscreens & Moisturizers to Protect Your Pretty Face
- How to Choose Non-Toxic Mineral Sunscreens (& Common SPF Ingredients to Avoid)
4) Silly but effective: Wrinkle patches!
You may have seen these lately as they’ve become more popular! Wrinkle patches act like a cast or a splint for your facial muscles, meaning they keep the muscles relaxed and help train them to move less. This slowly helps smooth out wrinkles and fine lines.
They are more of a temporary solution compared to Botox and don’t affect your nerves. Usually, it’s recommended to use the patches consecutively for about 20-30 days at a time, and then can be used less frequently for maintenance. You can wear them for a couple of hours at a time or overnight.
There are lots of brands on the market but I’ve tried two: Frownies (single use) and Pacifica (reusable). I actually have an entire blog post comparing the two, pros/cons, and more info about them if you wanna read this post! ⬇️
Read more here: “Do Wrinkle Patches Actually Work? I Tried Some & Here Are My Thoughts!”
Here are the cliff notes for ya:
- Frownies are stronger and might work better for you if you have deeper wrinkles, but the adhesive can irritate sensitive skin.
- Pacifica is just high-grade silicone without any adhesive on it, so you can use your own skincare products with them! The hold is not as strong but it has a beautiful smoothing vacuum seal effect. I prefer these and would recommend them for wrinkles that are less pronounced. And you can supercharge their effects with an eye cream, for example!
They absolutely look ridiculous, yes, but they work if you use them consistently!
5) Incorporate a clean retinol or plant-based retinol alternative.
If you know anything about skincare, then you’ve likely heard that retinol is basically the gold standard for fighting wrinkles and keeping skin youthful. It’s been widely studied and proven to improve wrinkles, stimulate collagen, and slow the signs of aging. It triggers receptors in our skin that kickstart the cell renewal process!
Retinol is an ingredient that many people choose to avoid, especially in the clean beauty world, for multiple reasons. But it’s important to note that not all are created equal and there are various types of retinol/retinoids and derivatives. And thankfully there are organic skincare brands that formulate retinols with better supporting inactive ingredients and avoid harmful preservatives such as BHT.
And to take it one step further, if you personally do NOT want to use a retinol, there are plant-based alternatives (also known as phyto-retinols or botanical retinols) that have sparked interest in recent years. They have similar anti-aging, wrinkle-fighting, glowy skin properties as retinol, but without the side effects and can usually be tolerated by most people (even uber-sensitive skin) 🌱
If this is an area you want to explore more, whaddya know, I have an entire blog post about this topic too! It provides more extensive info about clean retinol brands to try and options for the best plant-based retinol alternatives too ⬇️
Currently, my favorite phyto-retinol dupe that I’ve seen the best results from myself is the Alpyn Bearberry Glow Serum. The serum doubles as an illuminating primer because it has mica in it for a little shimmer. It has a mild, fresh scent and a silky texture that sinks into skin immediately. It uses bakuchiol (psoralea corylifolia seed extract) which has been found to stimulate collagen and have retinol-like functionality despite having no structural resemblance to retinol. Goooooood stuff!
6) Microneedling (also known as dermarolling).
Oooooooo, I am VERY excited to talk about this with you! Spoiler alert, it’s probably one of my best defenses for keeping wrinkles at bay and is so powerful and effective.
A derma roller is a small, hand-held tool with a roller head that is covered in really tiny needles. There are also derma pens which are more like a stamp version. Yes, sounds and looks scary. Bear with me! You roll it across your skin and it punctures tiny, tiny holes in the outer layer of your skin. (don’t worry, they heal)
By puncturing your skin with those itty bitty needles, it tricks your body and sends a “distress” signal to send help and repair that area! Your body then reacts by targeting that area and sending extra collagen to help. It’s AMAZING for existing wrinkles and also for preventing any from forming. I love that I can literally pinpoint and target fine lines when I see them before they get deeper!
Pro tip: You can roll over your lips too for a natural lip plump! 👄
It is a bit painful and also not ideal for everyone. You can learn more about the benefits, how to correctly do it, and see some FAQ here ⬇️
There are two microneedling tools that I recommend:
- Alitura Dermaroller which has three lengths available: 1.0mm, 0.5mm, and 0.25mm. This is the traditional roller method and is a little quicker and easier to master. And the smaller sizes are way less painful. You can use the code ORGANICALLY2021 for 20% off your first order.
- Banisher Pen which is a stamp with 0.5mm needles. The benefit of using a pen is that even pressure is applied and needles go straight into the skin instead of at an angle. I notice that this one draws more blood compared to a roller, and it hurts a bit more on my forehead. So in a way, I feel like it’s more efficient! It does take a little more time than a roller, too. You can use the code BECCAFIVE for $5 off your order.
- Beware of buying cheap fake ones off Amazon that could damage your skin! ⚠️
Be sure to check out my microneedling blog post linked above for more details about each!
7) A good ole’ gua sha face massage.
If microneedling seems too scary or intimidating, you can try gua sha! It’s been used in traditional east Asian medicine for centuries and essentially induces lymphatic flow and circulation. We tend to hold a LOT of stress and tension in our face, and gua sha can help release that (it breaks up fascia, the connective tissue in muscles) and also clear out any stagnation or fluid retention.
Long story short, gua sha can help promote healthy skin, reduce puffiness, slow the formation of wrinkles, and smooth out fine lines. It’s super relaxing and is part of my evening skincare routine to help me wind down after a long day! It feels particularly great for 11s and tension between eyebrows.
All you need is a gua sha tool which is usually made of jade or rose quartz. They come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. (but you can totally just use your hands to give yourself a facial massage too!)
How to do gua sha massage at home:
There is a technique and proper form to follow when doing gua sha! You only need gentle but firm pressure. It can be tempting to push really hard, but you could bruise or break blood vessels. You should also apply a facial oil beforehand so the tool can easily glide on your skin.
My friend Nadia from Body Unburdened has a helpful post about gua sha and how to do it at home! I use her tools for gua sha which I’ll link below. At the basic level, you move the tool outwards from the center of your face in the direction of lymphatic flow. It’s simple and can be done daily or a few times a week!
I use Nadia’s rose quartz gua sha shrooms; they’re so stinkin’ adorable! 🍄 The round shape is easier to hold and maneuver in my opinion. Plus, I appreciate that you can do both sides of your face at once. #multitaskingFTW
If you prefer a more traditionally-shaped gua sha stone tool, I also love this one! It has a combed edge to further help smooth the fascia tissue beneath your skin.
You can use code ORGANICALLYBECCA for a discount on these gua sha tools.
8) Fight free radicals with a Vitamin C serum.
Not only do Vitamin C serums keep your skin bright and ward off any pigmentation, but it’s a potent antioxidant! Vitamin C:
- Protects against environmental stressors and free radicals. Since it’s an antioxidant, it protects the skin against stressors like UV damage and pollution. Therefore, it also keeps skin looking young and vibrant because these stressors can contribute to cellular damage and aging.
- Boosts collagen production. Dermatologist Howard Sobel says that when vitamin C is applied topically “the skin is triggered to heal itself by accelerating the production of collagen and elastin.” Yes, please! 🙌
I mostly try to use a C serum in my summer skincare routine, but you can use them year-round. My favorite one is the Free + True Bright Side Serum which has a duo of 10% Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate and 3% Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate forms of Vitamin C. It’s also formulated with antioxidants and extracts such as bearberry, amla, mulberry, and purple corn which protect against free radical damage and support natural elasticity. Sooooooo good!
If you want to do a nerdy deep dive and learn more about Vitamin C and get some other recommendations for the best serums, I have a whole separate blog post ⬇️
(Note: Avoid layering Vitamin C serums if you also use retinol because it can oxidize it and make it less impactful, less stable, less likely to penetrate the skin, or cause irritation.)
9) A pillow that doesn’t crease or smush your face.
Do you ever wake up with lines all over your face? Your pillow could actually be a sneaky cause of lines and wrinkles! Believe it or not, but there are pillows designed to NOT smush your face while you sleep and the cases use materials that are softer on your skin. A smoother case causes less friction and a silkier surface for your skin to glide across at night 🛌
So hear me out, because this totally seemed gimmicky to me until I tried one (and if you sleep on your back or side, you’ll LOVE this). I discovered Sleep & Glow Beauty Pillows and was sooooo intrigued. It’s an ergonomic, orthopedic memory foam pillow with head and shoulder cradles and has a Tencel (eucalyptus fiber and a plant-based silk alternative) pillowcase. Basically, it doesn’t crease your face while you sleep and therefore doesn’t cause wrinkles, sleep lines, or puffiness. And it ensures an anatomically correct body position while you sleep.
I used to wake up with lines on my face and don’t notice that AT ALL with this pillow, for reals! I have the Omnia pillow and it’s seriously extremely comfortable; they also have one that helps train you to sleep on your back.
You can use code BECCA10 for $10 off a Sleep & Glow pillow.
10) Get your red light therapy on.
Red light therapy (RLT) has been gaining momentum in the wellness scene, and for good reason! Red and near-infrared (NIR) spectrums of light stimulate mitochondria in our cells and therefore suppress inflammation. Red light devices are made to emit low-power red wavelengths which can be absorbed into the skin as deep as 8-10 millimeters. At this depth, the light can reach all skin layers including hair follicles, nerves, and blood vessels.
It boasts various wellness benefits, but for skin specifically, it can assist with collagen production, better blood flow, less inflammation, lowered effects of oxidative stress, firmer skin, and smooth out wrinkles.
It’s a practice that you need to do frequently to see results, so don’t expect a one-and-done situation. You need to start slow and work your way up to about 10 minutes a day. I enjoy using mine in the mornings or evenings. It does not hurt at all, it’s just light!
(Note: There is no tanning effect from a RLT device and the wavelengths of light that RLT provides are NOT the same UVB wavelengths that start Vitamin D production in our bodies! Basically, you won’t get sunburn from using one.)
I personally have noticed subtle skin improvements firsthand since using a RLT device. Check out my in-depth guide to all things red light therapy here ⬇️
I use a MitoMIN Red Light panel and recommend it! It’s small and works perfectly for facial use. It has both red and near-infrared light switches and is pretty affordable compared to a lot of brands on the market.
You can use the code ORGANICALLYBECCA for a discount on a Mito!
The code automatically applies if you use my link.
11) Cosmetic acupuncture (not as scary as it sounds).
Also known as facial rejuvenation. Cosmetic acupuncture is essentially a gentle and safe nonsurgical facelift. I know, I know…it looks FREAKY right?! Honestly, I don’t think it really hurts at all. Sometimes you may feel a quick prick but that’s it. For me personally, it’s most sensitive around my eyebrows. I think that microneedling is way worse!
It kind of acts like a workout for your face; our face has 43 muscles so you gotta keep ‘em in tip-top shape! 💪 The needles kickstart the production of collagen and elastin and increase blood flow to the facial muscles and skin. It can potentially help minimize fine lines and wrinkles, give skin a glow-up, lift saggy muscles, relax tension, and slow down the general aging process.
Your acupuncturist will place the needles on areas of your face that tend to droop or have wrinkles. You lay there for about 30-35 minutes with the needles in! There’s no downtime either.
This is a newer-to-me practice and I would love to keep going to see if I notice any long-term results. But I definitely can tell that it increases blood flow because my face feels warm afterward and it leaves me with a nice glow the next day!
I go to MKE MindBody Wellness locally here in Milwaukee and they’re great. Ideally, you should go to at least 4-6 sessions before you see results, but it’s possible to see improvements after just 1-2 sessions. Do it if you dare!
We can embrace the aging process and be proactive about delaying it, too!
Phew, okay, that was QUITE a lot! But I just had to share allllllllll the tips and tricks from my arsenal. While we shouldn’t let our outer appearance define our worth, there’s no harm in being diligent and taking care of our skin too! I’d love to hear if you’ve tried any of these techniques or if you have any others you’d like to add to the list! Just pop a comment below. Thanks for reading! 💚