How to smooth fine lines and wrinkles without cosmetic surgery

There's nothing wrong with aging naturally, but if you're looking to reduce the appearance of fine lines around your eyes and mouth, you have options that don't involve going under the knife, or in front of the syringe. Read through these facts and tips about collagen and elastin, key components for healthy, youthful skin.

"Environmental damage slows your skin's collagen production."

Collagen
You've probably seen a million beauty products in the drugstore that include collagen, but do you know why? Collagen is a protein that's produced in the middle layer of your skin - the dermis. Unlike most proteins, collagen doesn't have a clump-like structure. Instead, the fibers are weaved together to create a mesh of sorts. This organization is what maintains your skin's shape and firmness.

Over time, environmental damage slows your skin's collagen production. This includes free radicals that pollute the atmosphere and overexposure to harmful ultraviolet rays. In addition to those outside factors, your skin cells produce less collagen as you grow older. It might be unsurprising to hear that the quantity of collagen reaches its peak when people are in their 20s and 30s.

One way to boost collagen production naturally is with vitamin C. It's easy to increase your vitamin C consumption with citrus fruits, leafy greens such as kale and vegetables including peas. Fruits and vegetables with red pigment can be replenish collagen as well. Next time you head to the supermarket, pick up a selection of red peppers, beets and tomatoes to put in summer salads.

Elastin
Just like it sounds, elastin is a protein that keeps your skin elastic and perky. When you pinch or pull your skin, it's elastin that helps it go back to its original shape. Similar to collagen, elastin lives in the dermis layer of the skin. Elastin production slows with age and is affected by environmental damage as well, which results in sagging or wrinkled skin.

You can increase your skin's elastin through similar methods. Vitamin C is key to your diet, as are vitamins B and E. Soy products and fish that contain omega acids such as tuna and salmon are great options too. These healthy and nutrient-rich foods provide your body with the necessary fuel to boost protein production.

Look into some of the anti-aging creams out there if you're looking for a more proactive approach. There are serums, cleansers, lotions, masks and more for you to explore. Make sure you choose a product from a reputable company that has favorable reviews. Even if it was highlighted by a beauty magazine or blog, do a quick Google search to find out what real consumers have to say about the results.

Begin and end the day by washing your face.Begin and end the day by washing your face.

How to care for your skin
The most important aspects of skincare are the most basic: cleansing and moisturizing. Regardless of age, skin type or gender, you should wash your face and moisturize twice a day. It's especially vital to clean your skin before bed to remove makeup, dirt and oil that's leftover from your day. Another wash in the morning is ideal to clear your pores of bacteria that gathered overnight. Using a moisturizer after you wash your skin is key. Even if you have naturally shiny skin, most face soaps dry out your skin, which signals your body to produce pore-clogging oils. Applying lotion will prevent this reaction from occurring. Keeping your skin clean and hydrated can also slow the development of fine lines and wrinkles.

Finally, drink plenty of water. While the number of glasses you drink each day isn't directly connected to your skin's proteins, it's important the overall appearance of your skin. Not to mention, imbibing lots of water flushes out the harmful toxins that may be causing wrinkles. Beyond cosmetic reasons, drinking enough water will keep your immune system healthy, your digestive tract smooth and your appetite regular.