Our skin changes as we age. With time, aging skin develops wrinkles, lines and furrows.
There are several factors that determine the age at which wrinkles first appear, their location, and their prominence. These include the following:
- Age. The older a person, the more likely he or she is to have wrinkles. Some people start developing wrinkles as early as their twenties, particularly if they have spent their teenage years in a sunny location without using sunscreen and other sun protection measures.
- Family history. A person's skin type is inherited. This means that a parent whose skin was prone to wrinkles at an early age can pass that trait onto their children.
- Environmental Factors. There are several external factors that can cause age to wrinkle at an earlier age. Most important of these is smoking and exposure to UV radiation from sunlight or indoor tanning booths.
Wrinkles before and after treatment with a topical retinoid
Fine lines and wrinkles arise because of irregular thickening of the dermis and because of a decrease in the amount of water held by the epidermis. This is mainly caused by exposure to the UV radiation of sunlight and exposure to damaging chemicals, such as from smoking cigarettes.
Deeper lines or furrows are described as either “dynamic” when they appear as different muscles move, or “static” if they remain unchanged with muscle movement. Eventually, dynamic lines become static furrows. Some furrows are so common that they have been given their own names.
- “Crow's feet” appear around the eyes. These are due to smiling and activity of the eyelid muscles.
- “Worry lines” appear on the forehead. These are due to contraction of muscle used when raising the eyebrows
- “Frown lines” appear between the eyebrows are due to contraction of muscles when concentrating or angry.
- “Smile lines” frame the lips. These are due to the contraction of muscle due to smiling.
Wrinkle Treatment Options
There are a variety of cosmetic products, medications and procedures that can lead to younger looking skin. These are often combined for best results.
- Topical retinoids (Refissa, Renova, tretinoin)
- Chemical peels
- Laser rejuvenation
- Laser resurfacing
- Botulinum toxin (Botox, Dysport)
- Dermal Fillers (Evolence, Juvederm, Radiesse, Resytlane, Sculptra)
Wrinkles are a fact of life. But there are some basic measures that can prevent their premature development. These include:
- Stop smoking
- Do not use indoor tanning booths or tanning lights.
- Use sunscreen every day, even on cloudy days or when the sun penetrates through glass. (UVA rays are a part of the UV spectrum that can pass through glass. Though these UVA rays do not burn, they are responsible for causing premature aging of the skin)
- Practice other sun protection measures, such as avoiding sunlight during peak hours and wearing a wide-brimmed hat.
© 2011 Vivacare. Last updated June 13, 2011.
Images courtesy of Gerald Goldberg, M.D.
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