Wrinkles!!! They have lots of other names and can stir a variety of emotions as they begin to make their presence known. As we grow older, wrinkles will inevitably begin to appear on our skin and thus begins the conquest to eradicate them; or at least make them less visible when we look in the mirror.

As part of a two-part blog, we will discuss wrinkles as a means of helping our readers know what they are, how they form, and how they can be prevented or treated. Here at Solara Skin & Laser Center in Anchorage, Alaska we have a variety of facial treatments targeted to help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. We would be happy to help you determine what type of treatment is best for you but first, let’s explore these pesky lines a little deeper.

What are wrinkles?

Wrinkles are ridges, folds or creases in the skin which generally appear as people get older. They can also appear after spending a long time in the water, but those wrinkles tend to disappear rather quickly on their own.

The first wrinkles to appear on one’s face are often the result of facial expressions such as smiling or frowning. External factors such as sun damage, smoking, dehydration, some medications, environmental contributions and genetic influence affect when and where people will eventually develop wrinkles. Wrinkles most commonly appear on the parts of the body which receive the most exposure to the sun. These include the face, neck, backs of the hands and the arms.

What causes wrinkles?

Frustrating though they may be, wrinkles are a natural part of the aging process. As we age, our skin gets thinner and loses elasticity. Skin also becomes drier as it is less able to retain moisture and more susceptible to damage. All of these factors lead to creases, lines on the skin and wrinkles.

There are other factors which can determine the rate at which you develop wrinkles or how and where the wrinkles form. For example, smoking has been shown to accelerate the development of wrinkles as it reduces the blood supply to the skin. In addition to smoking, chronic drinking (as it dries out the skin) and long-term substance abuse can also accelerate the effects of aging on the skin.  Sadly, facial expressions can also cause us to develop wrinkles at a younger age. Frequent facial expressions such as frowning and squinting (and yes, smiling) can lead to fine lines in wrinkles in the locations where certain facial muscles are located.

Above we noted that certain environmental factors can have a profound effect on the speed at which wrinkles develop. Those who work outside or spend a significant amount of tie in the sunlight have a higher chance of developing lines and wrinkles at a younger age. This can include those who have jobs such as farming, fishing or landscaping. It can also be a result of hobbies such as sailing, golfing and gardening. Also, exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light through sunbathing, tanning booths and participation in outdoor sports can increase the chance of developing wrinkles at an earlier age. UV light has a detrimental impact on the collagen and elastin fibers in the skin. These are the fibers that form the skin’s connective tissue and they work to support the skin. As this layer breaks down due to UV exposure, the skin becomes weaker and less flexible. Consequently, the skin begins to droop, and wrinkles begin to appear.

Types of wrinkles

There are several different types of wrinkles that people tend to experience. A few examples are as follows:

Forehead lines and wrinkles:
These wrinkles run horizontally (from hairline to hairlines) across the “T-zone” area of your forehead.

Worry lines:
These create the “eleven” between your eyebrows. They are generally two vertical lines centered above your nose.

Crow’s feet:
These are the fine lines (and sometimes deeper lines) that radiate out from the corner of the eyes towards the ears.

Laugh lines:
These create the appearance of parenthesis around the upper lip.

Marionette lines:
These lines frame the chin vertically as the cheeks droop. Marionette lines are what typically causes the appearance of jowls and jowl wrinkles.

There are others of course, however these are some of the most common and well known. The lines and wrinkles which form on the face fall into four different categories. These categories include crinkle lines, permanent elastotic creases, dynamic wrinkles (dynamic expression lines) and static wrinkles (also called gravitational folds).

Crinkle lines:
Crinkle lines are also called atrophic crinkling rhytids. Crinkle likes are typically very shallow and a little less visible than some of the deeper wrinkles that can form. Crinkle lines run parallel to each other and most commonly appear on the forehead. Crinkle line will disappear when the skin on the forehead is stretched taught.

Permanent Elastotic Creases:
This type of wrinkle is specifically associated with excessive sun exposure and pale complexions. Permanent elastotic creases appear on the skin as deep, highly visible lines. They tend to appear at points where the skin creases naturally often making them appear deeper than they are. Examples of locations where these wrinkles may appear are the base of the neck, the cheeks and the lips.

Dynamic expression lines (dynamic wrinkles):
Dynamic expression lines are the result of repeated facial expressions combined with loss of elasticity in the skin due to aging. They result from repeated facial movements such as smiling, frowning or scowling. When someone repeats a facial movement frequently, the facial muscles which perform the movement become tighter and more toned. When the muscles are not in use, creases develop under the skin. Eventually, as the skin loses tone and elasticity, the skin is pulled into frown lines on the forehead, crow’s feet around the eyes or laugh lines around the mouth.

Gravitational folds (static wrinkles):
These folds or wrinkles form as the skin ages and begins to lose firmness. As the skin loses tone it inevitably begins to sag and pull away from the fat and muscle that is present beneath the skin. This creates folds (as a result of gravity) that are quite prominent on the chin, neck and jowls of the face.

The unfortunate truth is, regardless of how carefully you live, if you live long enough, your skin will lose its tone and elasticity as a result of decreased collagen production. Wrinkles are bound to appear at some point in our lives. However, with the bad news there is also good. There are so many different factors which influence the development of wrinkles and many of these we have control over. There are a wide variety of healthy and beneficial lifestyle changes you can make to help delay or prevent (for a time) the appearance of wrinkles.

Solara Skin + Laser Center offers a variety of skin care treatments designed to help improve the tone and texture of your skin. These treatments can also help to improve the appearance of your skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines. If you are interested in learning about these treatments and how they may be beneficial for your skin, give us a call for a free consultation.