What are Wrinkles?

Wrinkles are essentially creases in a person’s skin. They are a common part of the aging process and can occur for a variety of reasons. Because the aging process that causes wrinkles is an entirely natural one, it is not considered a disease or a medical disorder. However, there are other lifestyle factors and medical conditions that can cause skin wrinkles.

Excessive sun exposure without sunscreen or other skin protection is a common cause of what is known as premature wrinkling. Some people are more genetically predisposed to wrinkles based on inherited traits. Smoking, exposure to pollutants, an unhealthy diet, and facial motions that are repeated a great deal are all also potential contributing factors to wrinkles.

What are the Symptoms of Wrinkles?

Wrinkles vary is severity and deepness based on a variety of factors.

The first signs of wrinkles may be fine lines around the mouth, eyes, and on the neck. Smile and laugh lines as well as frown lines in the forehead are also early wrinkle signs. These fine lines may deepen over time and more wrinkles can develop on the chest, neck, and face.

Wrinkle Causes

Wrinkles occur naturally as we get older. The main reason for this is that collagen and elastin, which are responsible for the skin’s plump, taught structure, begin to diminish as we get older. As a result, skin becomes thinner and wrinkles begin to show. This is often emphasized when we begin to lose fat from the tissue just below the skin, which is another natural aspect of getting older. The effects of gravity also contributes to skin sagging and looking wrinkled.

However, these natural changes to the skin can be worsened by some key things. Firstly, repetitive facial expressions can cause deep set wrinkles to occur in key places, such as around the eyes, across the forehead, between the eyebrows and each side of the mouth.

Secondly, our genetics might influence the severity of wrinkles. Some people are simply more likely to develop aging skin sooner than others. Plus, our bone structure can influence the location and severity of wrinkles, since this changes as we age.

Finally, environmental and lifestyle factors can contribute to wrinkles. UV exposure is a significant one; the sun’s harmful rays can degrade collagen and speed up the aging process. Smoking and excessive consumption of alcohol are also known to make skin age faster.

How are Wrinkles Treated?

There are numerous ways that people can try to rid themselves or wrinkles as well as to cover them up and prevent new ones from occurring. Some are more effective than others. Over-the-counter face creams and moisturizers can help to ensure the skin is properly moisturized and nourished. Some of these also promote collagen production which is the substance in the skin that plumps and smoothes the skin naturally. Avoiding sun exposure, wearing sunscreen, and quitting smoking can also help.

Some dermatological treatments can also help with skin wrinkles. Botox and collagen injections are skin treatments that can help with wrinkles. Collagen plumps the skin and botox prevents muscles in the face from contracting so that the skin appears smoother. Dermabrasion and microdermabrasion are also treatments remove the top layers of skin through exfoliation to help new skin cells generate and make the surface of the skin appear smoother. A person may also benefit from chemical peels or laser skin resurfacing procedures or other more invasive plastic surgery procedures like a facelift.

Wrinkle Prevention

To prevent premature wrinkles and try to minimize the effects of aging, it is important to keep skin healthy and hydrated. Drinking lots of water, cleansing the skin regularly and using nourishing moisturizing creams and lotions each day might help to keep wrinkles at bay.

Sun protection is also very important. A high quality, broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 protection or higher should be used every day, even when the weather is overcast since some UV rays can penetrate through clouds. It can be helpful to avoid exposure to sun when it is at its highest, or to seek shade or wear a wide-brimmed hat when it’s very sunny.

Smokers should try to quit as soon as possible. Adopting a healthy diet might also help to prevent wrinkles – fresh fruits and vegetables may be particularly helpful for preventing skin damage which contributes to wrinkles, while high amounts of sugar and refined carbohydrates should be avoided as they are thought to contribute to skin aging.

Last Reviewed:
October 11, 2016
Last Updated:
September 08, 2017