All You Need to Know About Wrinkles (Including How to Prevent Them)

Wrinkles develop on ageing skin, but the severity of the development depends on various factors, from genetics, skin phototype and exposure to environmental factors, to the way you take care of your skin and the facial expressions you make.

Facial lines usually form due to ageing processes, sun damage, muscle movement (due to facial expressions), gravity (which we become less resistant to with age), injury, acne, surgery or skin diseases, but smoking as well.

You can develop wrinkles in the form of fine lines or furrows.

  • Fine lines develop mostly because of a lack of water held by the epidermis, which leads to its irregular thickening. These kinds of wrinkles are usually caused by sun damage or exposure to toxins such as cigarette smoke.
  • Furrows, on the other hand develop because of the activity of facial muscles, and they can be dynamic or static. Dynamic lines appear with muscle movement and disappear once you relax your face, while static remain unchanged with or without muscle movement. With age, dynamic ones often become static.

Furrows around the eyes appear due to smiling. These are possibly the only wrinkles that can be considered nice. Worry lines on the forehead appear because of worrying, and contracting the frontalis muscles while raising your eyebrows. They can also develop when you’re frowning angrily. Frown lines between the eyebrows appear when you’re angry often and contract the corrugator supercilii muscles and procerus muscle. They can appear if you contract these muscles while concentrating as well.

An assistant professor of dermatology at the University of Pittsburgh and director of the Cosmetic Surgery and Skin Health Center, Suzan Obagi explains the process of wrinkle development.

Namely, normal skin has a healthy epidermis and an outer layer that protects from water and environmental influences. Such skin has an even tone and enough collagen (to keep the skin firm), elastin (to keep it elastic) and glycosaminoglycans (to keep it hydrated). After the age of 20, the production of collagen drops by one percent each year, which gradually makes the skin thinner and more sensitive to environmental influences as a person gets older. The function of sweat and oil glands is also lower, less elastin is produced and there is less glycosaminoglycans formation.

  • This happens with age regardless of the exposure to environmental influences and it is called intrinsic aging.
  • Alongside intrinsic aging, excess sun exposure and experiencing other kinds of skin damage adds to the aging process and is called extrinsic aging.

Although wrinkles inevitably appear with age, there are ways to minimize them, and the best way to do so is prevention.

This means taking care of your skin before there are any signs of wrinkles, and remembering to use sun protection against UVA and UVB rays with a SPF of 35 or higher. Favoring one side while sleeping can also have a lot to do with the development of wrinkles because the skin then gets repeatedly pressed against the pillow which prevents it from breathing and being naturally relaxed, as dermatologist Neil Sadick, MD explains. You can prevent this by varying your sleeping position, or choosing to sleep on your back.

As for frowning which can create those lines on your forehead and between your eyebrows, try to do that less. Also, as Dr. Hirsch, a dermatologist from Boston explains, these lines may develop because of squinting due to poor eyesight, which can easily be fixed if you go to your eye doctor and get glasses.

Staying hydrated is crucial in wrinkle prevention. As Dr. Sadick says “When your skin is dry, wrinkles become accentuated”, and drinking water is the best way to hydrate it. Water also flushes out toxins from your body which can also affect the look of your skin.

Getting rid of wrinkles goes the same way as preventing them, but if you already have them you will probably also need some anti-ageing crème according to your age and degree of wrinkling. If you are against aging gracefully and the crèmes are simply not effective enough, there are options such as Botox injections or plastic surgery, but we suggest going natural if possible.