The appearance of wrinkles, whether on your face or neck, is usually the first and most visible sign of aging. Understanding why and how wrinkles form can be very useful in making the necessary lifestyle adjustments and creating a skin-care regimen which will prolong the youthful appearance of your skin. While the process of aging can’t be stopped, there are ways to keep your skin looking smoother and healthier for longer. Below are five causes of wrinkle formation and how to treat them.
- Age: As you get older, your skin starts to lose its elasticity and strength. Production of collagen and elastin slows down and your skin becomes loose and saggy with deepening lines and folds. This is worsened by a decrease in the production of natural, lubricating oils by your skin, which leave your skin more dry and looking more wrinkled.
Treatment: Adding a moisturizer to your daily skincare regimen can help provide your skin with moisture and slow down the development of wrinkles. We prefer Hydrate by Obagi which provides long-term protection and only needs to be applied twice a day. Hyaluronic Acid fillers such as Juvederm can also add moisture to your skin, while stimulating collagen production and increasing volume to smooth out wrinkles.
- Repeated facial expressions: Year after year of facial movements and expressions such as smiling, frowning, and squinting can lead to fine lines and dynamic wrinkles. Overuse of the muscles of facial expression causes grooves to form just underneath the skin. The lack of elastin in older skin prevents the ability of the grooves to return to their normal position. In some people this can be an important cause of premature skin aging.
Treatment: Botox is an excellent treatment for dynamic wrinkles which result from years of facial movements and expressions. Injections of Botox into the overactive muscles will cause a weakening of the muscles, making them relax. The wrinkled skin covering the overactive muscles then becomes smooth as the wrinkles are erased.
- Sun Exposure: Exposure to the sun not only causes the skin to dry out, it also breaks down collagen and elastin, damages the skin at the cellular level (DNA), and reduces the amount of antioxidants necessary for collagen production and skin repair.
Treatment: Easy! To protect yourself from the harmful effects of the sun make sure you are wearing at least an SPF 35 sunscreen at all times. Even on cloudy or rainy days! Our favorite is the Obagi Matte SPF 50. Antioxidants, such as Vitamin C and Vitamin E, can help repair damaged skin and slow the wrinkling process.
- Smoking: Smoke destroys collagen and elastin and prevents the production of new collagen. Smoking also causes a blockage of the blood flow to your skin, which also contributes to wrinkle formation.
Treatment: Another easy one! Stop Smoking!
- Sugar: Excess sugar in our blood can damage the collagen and elastin in our skin through a process called glycation. Excessive amounts of sugar can also be deposited in your blood vessels, decreasing the amount of blood flow and nutrients which are delivered to your skin. Over time this will create more wrinkles and sagging skin.
Treatment: Eat a healthy diet and limit the amount of processed foods and sugars that you eat.
So there you have it. Although there are other things which can lead to skin wrinkles the ones you just read are some of the major ones. Controlling these factors can have you on your way to younger, healthier skin. Our external appearances are just a small part of who we are, but when we don’t feel comfortable in our own skin the emotional consequences can be devastating to our self-esteem. (By Michael Zadeh, M.D.)