Most of us who moisturise do so because we want to avoid looking dry or flaky, but it’s often claimed that regularly moisturising also provides a more long-term benefit: It prevents wrinkles and keeps our skin looking youthful down the line by improving its elasticity.
If this is the case, how many years can we expect to take off our appearance by regularly moisturising?
“It’s tough to quantify how many years, per se, moisturising might take off your appearance. However, patients who don’t moisturise usually have dry skin, which shows more wrinkles and looks dull,” says dermatologist Anthony Rossi.
A more tangible answer comes from an eight-year-long study published in the British Journal of Dermatology: The results showed that a typical 28-year-old woman with dry skin would have 52 percent more wrinkles than she currently has by the time she hits 36, while her wrinkling would only increase by 22 percent in that same amount of time if she moisturised regularly. While this still doesn’t precisely answer how many years moisturiser can take off your face, the 30 percent difference shows it makes a significant difference to the visible ageing process.
So how exactly does moisturiser keep us looking young? As we mentioned earlier, well-hydrated skin retains its elasticity better than dry skin does, which prevents wrinkling. Moisturising also locks and absorbs water into the skin, and when the skin cells are plump with water, the expression lines we make when we move our face about (i.e., smiling or frowning) have a tougher time deepening into more permanent wrinkles.
Rossi emphasises, though, that while moisturising does help us retain our youthful appearance, regularly applying some form of sun protection is just as important, if not more, since UV rays can drastically reduce the skin’s elasticity.
In other words, a bit of sunscreen a day will keep the wrinkles away.