Apart from avoiding too much sun, sea, and smoke, what can be done? There is, of course, no total answer. There is nothing that will totally banish or prevent wrinkles, although every cosmetic and face cream manufacturer would love you to think otherwise. There are, however, a few things that help a little bit.
The Alpha Hydroxy Acids
There is a group of relative simple acids, most of them found in fruit juices or similar sources, which happen to share a certain chemical structure. There are called the alpha hydroxy acids. When applied to the skin in a relatively high concentration, they cause the top few layers of the skin to peel. This chemical peel has the cosmetic effect of taking the top layers of the wrinkle ridges off, which makes the wrinkles appear shallower and the very shallow ones to disappear for a short time. Hence a proper and professionally supervised chemical peel using alpha hydroxy acids will give you a very slight and temporary improvement in your wrinkles. Lower concentrations of alpha hydroxy acids added to cosmetic products do not have any significant demonstrable effect.
Retinoids are a group of compounds that chemically resemble vitamin A. For reasons that are not completely understood the retinoids, when applied to the skin, do have a mild but real effect in reducing wrinkles. It is really worth getting good advice on this, though, and it is also important to read the directions on the package carefully.
We are only just beginning to understand vitamin E. It is one of the vitamins that is soluble in fat. The only thing that was known about it was that if laboratory rats were totally deprived of Vitamin E they became sterile. This piece of knowledge seems to be of very limited importance unless you happened to be running an infertility clinic and most of your customers were laboratory rats. In recent years some very important features of Vitamin E have been discovered. It seems to have a useful effect on elastic tissue. For example, taken by mouth vitamin E seems to reduce the irritability of some important arteries and reduces their tendency to go into spasm and close down. This may be of great importance in the arteries that supply the heart muscle with blood the coronary arteries. We have known for decades that the accumulation of sludge in the coronary arteries atherosclerosis is a major cause of heart attacks and angina.