What Causes Wrinkles?
We are all aware that wrinkles form in our skin as we get older. But what causes them? Why do some people have more obvious wrinkles than others? Will we all get wrinkles as we age?
Unfortunately, a certain amount of wrinkle formation is inevitable as we age. This is due to the fact that wrinkles are caused by the repeated use of the muscles used for facial expressions. However, there is more to the story and there are some things you can do to help prevent wrinkles as you age.
Why Do Wrinkles Form?
The natural aging process of our body and skin leads to wrinkles. As we age our bodies produce less collagen and elastin, which are what gives our skin its structure and allows it to stretch and move easily. Collagen and elastin production begin to decrease in our 20s!
We also produce less oil as we age which can lead to a change in hydration of skin and make wrinkles more pronounced. If you live in a place where it gets dry in the summer or winter, you may notice that your skin appears more wrinkled during dry times of year. This is because hydration also impacts the appearance of wrinkles in your skin.
Prolonged or intense exposure to sun/UV light causes damage to the collagen and elastin in your skin which can speed up your natural aging process and increase your body’s formation of wrinkles. Similar to UV light, smoking can also accelerate the aging of your skin due to its impact on collagen and elastin.
Facial movements and expressions (smiling, squinting, etc.) lead to fine lines and wrinkles as well. Every time you use the muscles of your face a tiny groove forms under the surface of the skin. As you age and your skin loses flexibility, it is unable to spring pack into place and these groves become more permanent features of your face.
Other things that can impact how wrinkles form on your face are genetics (there’s nothing you can do about this!) and how you sleep. Side and stomach sleepers often have additional wrinkles on their faces from the pressure they put on them during sleep.
Prevention is key to keeping the wrinkles on your face to a minimum. Since the processes that most contribute to the appearance of wrinkles (loss of skin elasticity) begin in our 20s, it’s never too early to start thinking about preventing wrinkles.
Moisturizing and good skincare alone won’t prevent you from getting wrinkles, but they are an important first step in slowing down the appearance of aging on your face. Having well hydrated skin decreases the appearance of wrinkles.
Protecting your skin from the sun is also important to minimize wrinkles. Applying sunscreen or using a moisturizer that contains sunscreen is the easiest way to do this. If you are in direct sunlight for a prolonged period, be sure to reapply sunscreen frequently.
Because the use of the muscles involved in facial expression are the main culprit of wrinkle formation, be aware of things like frequent squinting (get your eyes checked and wear sunglasses when you’re in the sun!) or raising your eyebrows for long periods while applying eye makeup. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t use your facial muscles, they are very important for many things! Just be aware of any facial expressions you make repeatedly.
Help! I’ve Already Got Wrinkles
If you’ve already got wrinkles and you’d like to decrease their appearance, don’t worry, you have options!
Skin resurfacing treatments such as chemical peels, microdermabrasion, or laser resurfacing help to reduce the appearance of wrinkles by resurfacing the skin and removing the top layers to reveal more youthful looking skin.
Neuromodulator injections (Botox or Xeomin) can help reduce the development of wrinkles and decrease the appearance of those that are already there by blocking the action of the muscles whose contractions cause wrinkles (such as frown lines or crow’s feet). The effect of these treatments usually lasts for three to four months (sometimes as long as six). Once the action of the neuromodulator wears off, the wrinkles begin to reform and the treatment needs to be repeated. Your wrinkles will not be worse than they were before if you choose not to repeat the treatment.
Neuromodulator injections are most effective for dynamic wrinkles (those that form when you make certain facial expressions), however if used over longer periods, they can reduce the appearance of static wrinkles (those that you can see when your face is at rest) as well.
Some wrinkles may be able to be fixed using dermal fillers. Dermal fillers provide temporary improvement, around six months, of wrinkles around the mid and lower face and can be used to plump up thinning lips.
Remember that prevention is key when it comes to wrinkles! Starting and maintaining an excellent skincare routine will help make other skin and wrinkle treatments more effective. If you’re interested in learning more about how to treat the wrinkles on your face, schedule an appointment with our aesthetician or one of our injectors today!