The normal healthy skin has a nice epidermis with a smooth cornified, or outer, a layer that acts as a good barrier to water and environmental injury. Skin color and tone is even and unblemished. Components such as collagen (which provides skin firmness), elastin (which supplies skin elasticity and rebound) and glycosaminoglycans or GAGs (which keep the skin hydrated) are all abundant.
With age, skin cells divide more slowly, and the skin’s inner layer, called the dermis, begins to thin. That starts to undo skin’s stretchiness and structure.
We classify wrinkles in two major categories:
- Static wrinkles: These wrinkles are visible at all times and do not change in appearance with facial movements
- Dynamic wrinkles: These are expression lines that may appear as folds when the skin is not moving, and deepen with facial movements or expressions
Main causes of Wrinkles:
- Facial Muscle Contractions: Habitual facial expressions cause the skin to wrinkle as it loses elasticity. Frown lines between the eyebrows and crows feet radiating from the corners of the eyes develop as the tiny muscles in those areas permanently contract. Smiling, frowning, squinting and other habitual facial expressions make these wrinkles more prominent.
- Sun Damage: Exposure to ultraviolet light, UVA or UVB, from sunlight accounts for 90% of the symptoms of premature skin aging. To help prevent them, stay out of the sun between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., and make it a habit to wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF 30 every day, even in the winter and when it’s cloudy. Wear a large brimmed hat and cover exposed skin with clothing, such as a long-sleeved shirt and pants.
- Hormone Effects: It is likely that there are skin changes as a result of the hormonal effects of menopause or decreased estrogen production. However, studies in humans have not documented which skin changes are specific to decreased estrogen and which skin changes are a result of sun exposure or just normal chronological aging.
- Gravity: The effects of gravity make the loosening of the skin more apparent as the skin sags more. This causes jowls and drooping eyelids.
- Smoking: Smoking curbs your skin’s production of collagen, which is a key part of the skin’s structure. The downturn in collagen paves the way for wrinkles. That’s one more reason to quit smoking, or never to start.