It turns out, my “premature wrinkles” weren’t really wrinkles at all. Premature wrinkles are most definitely a thing, brought on by UV exposure, smoking, genetics, and a host of other factors. But if you’re in your 20s and even 30s, any fine lines on the forehead, under the eyes, and in the nasolabial folds (you know, those laugh lines) are often the result of skin in need of hydration rather than aging. So rather than attempting to iron out those lines with facial tools or exfoliate them away with an array of peels, perhaps I just needed to focus on moisture. Worth a shot!
Holistic plastic surgeon Anthony Youn, M.D., confirms the concept over on TikTok: He duets a video with beauty influencer (and fellow 20-something) Sarah Palmyra, where she claims she’s “aging backward” by focusing on hydration. “Think of your skin like a grape. When it’s hydrated, it looks like a ripe grape. When it’s dehydrated, it looks like a raisin,” says Palmyra, who Youn agrees with.
Now, I wouldn’t say my skin was living in raisin territory, but as I mentioned above, I did have a few stubborn lines that just wouldn’t let up: Namely, some thin, horizontal etches on my forehead and one random fold on my left cheek (lifelong stomach sleeper over here). By no coincidence, those are the areas where I also face the most dehydration—I have textbook combination skin, which means breakouts are clustered around my chin and nose, while my forehead and cheeks are left Sahara Desert dry.
But the thing is, I do spend ample time hydrating my skin—I could probably drink more water throughout the day, but don’t we all have areas for growth in that department? For the most part, though, I do all the right things: I stick to gentle cleansers that don’t strip my skin barrier; I apply a hyaluronic acid serum on damp skin; I opt for thicker creams during winter so the arid air doesn’t rob my skin of moisture; I eat enough high-fat, water-dense foods to help my complexion thrive. There are myriad ways to hydrate your skin, and I do a pretty solid job ticking each box, if I do say so myself.