What Causes Wrinkles And What You Can Do About It
As people age, they inevitably develop wrinkles, lines, and creases in their skin. Aging is a natural process but still something of a mystery. While the exact mechanisms behind the aging process are still under study, the scientific community has learned how wrinkles occur and identified a few environmental factors that can lead to more rapid skin aging.
As a person gets older, their skin cells are replenished more slowly. This causes the skin layers to thin, making it harder for the skin to retain moisture and heal. The dermis or second layer of the skin begins to make less connective tissue such as elastin and collagen, decreasing its elasticity and strength. Fat cells in the subcutaneous layer of the skin start to shrink, causing hollows and a less filled-out appearance. Together, these changes create skin sagging and the formation of wrinkles. Though genetics determine the age and rate at which these changes occur, a person’s environment also affects skin aging.
Some environmental factors have been identified that lead to faster aging in the skin. Ultraviolent light from the sun is one of the main factors that cause skin aging and wrinkles. UV light breaks down collagen and elastin in the dermal layer, decreasing the strength and elasticity of the skin. Smoking is another damaging environmental factor, adversely affecting the body’s ability to make collagen. Repetitive facial movements cause fine grooves to appear along the muscle attachments, so habitual expressions such as smiling, frowning, or squinting lead to fine lines and wrinkles.
While wrinkles are inevitable, there are options for slowing the process or making them less visible. Applying moisturizers and decreasing exposure to environmental factors such as the sun and smoking will keep the skin from aging as rapidly. More active means for smoothing out wrinkles include topical medications, injectable medications like Botox, skin-resurfacing techniques like lasers, fillers, and plastic surgery. Obviously these are more invasive procedures so I tell everyone that every day maintenance with a good skin health regimen is something that everyone can do and should do.
Aging is a natural process, but many of us would like to delay the process (myself included). Understanding how the skin ages and what contributes to wrinkles can help guide us in taking steps to slow aging of the skin. However, I just wanted to remind everyone that whether you flaunt your laugh lines or take steps to erase them, there is beauty at all ages and we should all be happy in our own skin.