What are Facial Wrinkles?
Facial wrinkles are folds, creases or ridges on the face skin which appears as a person gets older. It is a normal part of aging but some people get it sooner due to certain factors. For instance, people who are regularly exposed to sunlight usually develop premature skin aging signs even when they are still in their early 30s. Wrinkles usually appear on the face first because of facial expressions and since the face is commonly exposed to sunlight. There are other factors that contribute to the early development of facial wrinkles like smoking, medications and dehydration.
Facial Wrinkles Facts
Wrinkles are inevitable and will sooner or later appear. What we can do is to delay its appearance or somehow reduce its severity if it is already visible. There are also a number of ways the appearance of wrinkles can be reduced or even eliminated. Billions of dollars are spent each year on different treatments to remove facial wrinkles. There are many products and procedures that make great claims but a lot don’t really offer significant wrinkle reducing effects.
Types of Facial Wrinkles
According to a research conducted at the University Hospital of Liege in Belgium, there are four specific types of wrinkles which are:
1. Atrophic Crinkling Rhytids – these are fine lines that are parallel to each other which can show up on different areas of the face. It tends to disappear when the skin is stretched like when the body posture of the person changes. These are wrinkles that are closely connected to reduced elasticity. The use of moisturizers and sunscreen helps diminish this type of wrinkle.
2. Permanent Elastic Creases – these are crease lines that eventually become permanent. It is mostly due to unprotected sun exposure. They usually develop on the cheeks, base of the neck and upper lip. Smoking is one of the major factors that cause this type of wrinkle.
3. Dynamic Expression Lines – these are wrinkles that are a direct result of facial muscle movement. They are commonly known as frown or smile lines and crow’s feet which appear on the edges of the eyes and mouth. This is commonly treated using Botox but there are anti-wrinkle formulations that can help diminish this type of wrinkle.
4. Gravitational Folds – these are lines that develop as a result of gravity and they become more obvious when the skin starts to fold and sag. These wrinkles show up on different parts of the face depending on the thickness of the skin. Researchers found that a plumper face tends to show fewer gravity folds compared to a lean face.
What are the Causes of Facial Wrinkles?
Facial wrinkles are a result of aging, but there are factors that promote their development that are the following:
- Smoking – Researchers say that regular smoking accelerates skin aging because it reduces blood supply to the skin. The result is the fast development of skin aging signs like facial wrinkles. It also causes premature skin aging signs causing the appearance of wrinkles even when a person is still in his/her early 30s.
- Genetics – if you have parents who developed facial wrinkles and other skin aging signs early, there is a higher chance that this will also happen to you. Thus, it would be best to take the necessary precautions like using a moisturizer regularly and protecting your skin from the sun.
- Skin color – people who have light skin suffer from more sun damage which accelerates the development of facial wrinkles and other skin aging signs. If you have light skin, you need to protect it from the sun by wearing appropriate clothing (long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and hats) and always wearing sunblock.
- Hair – there are hairstyles that provide more shade which protects the face from the sunlight.
- Clothes – people who usually wear hats and long sleeves enjoy more protection from the sun, so they tend to develop facial wrinkles later in life.
- Exposure to ultraviolet light (UV) – there are jobs that increase exposure to sunlight causing an accelerated development of facial wrinkles and other skin aging signs. This includes construction workers, gardeners, fishermen, farmers, and sailors. There are also other ways to be exposed to UV light like people who enjoy outdoor activities and those who regularly use a tanning booth.
- Facial expressions – people who repeatedly squint, frown or smile develop facial wrinkles faster compared to those who usually don’t make these facial expressions. The Mayo Clinic states that every time a facial muscle is used, grooves form just underneath the skin’s surface. When one is young the skin can spring back immediately but as one gets older flexibility and elasticity is lost causing more permanent grooves and the eventual appearance of facial wrinkles.
- Harsh chemicals – there are also skin care products that contain harsh chemicals or other harmful substances that can damage the skin and significantly accelerate the aging process of the skin. This is why you need to be careful with the skin care products you are using and check the ingredients carefully before use.
How is Facial Wrinkles Diagnosed?
Dermatologists can diagnose wrinkles simply by inspecting the affected area. There really is no need to diagnose facial wrinkles since anyone can tell if the lines are really wrinkles or not.
What are the Treatments for Facial Wrinkles?
There are several treatments options to reduce the appearance of facial wrinkles. Here are the most popular options today:
Moisturizers make the skin look better when applied regularly. These formulations improve the capacity of the skin to hold water preventing dehydration to avoid damage to skin cells. This helps slightly reduce the visibility of skin aging signs like facial wrinkles. However, you need to choose a product carefully and find one that is compatible with your skin type. There are formulations that may contain harmful ingredients that can actually accelerate the aging process of the skin. If you have very sensitive skin, consult your dermatologist about the best moisturizer for you.
- Anti-wrinkle Formulas
There are many facial creams, gels and other formulations that contain anti-aging compounds. These usually contain antioxidants and peptide complexes that have been shown to reverse skin aging and diminish facial wrinkles along with other skin aging signs. The most popular active ingredients are polypeptides, vitamin C, alpha hydroxyl acids, topical retinoids and natural extracts. Check if the active ingredients of the product you are considering are substantially proven to be effective and safe.
This refers to different techniques in which the uppermost layer of the epidermis is peeled off using mechanical or chemical means. Peels can slightly improve skin texture and reduce the severity of facial wrinkles and other skin aging signs. It may even out skin tone and reduce pigmentation problems as well. Some examples are dermabrasion, microdermabrasion, chemical peels, carbon dioxide laser resurfacing and non-ablative laser.
Implants can be used to lift up facial wrinkles including individual lines and furrows. The effect can be temporary or permanent depending on the type of filler used. This is highly effective but the cost is also very high which is why most people don’t choose this option.
- Botulinum Toxin (Botox)
Botox is very popular and it is highly effective for dynamic lines. It is used to paralyze the muscles that cause frown lines, forehead lines and crow’s feet but it can also be used for changing the shape of the eyebrow’s and removing lines around the lips. This is also expensive and it needs to be done every couple of months since the effect is only temporary.
- Cosmetic Surgery
Cosmetic surgery usually includes the repositioning of facial tissues and altering the structure of the tissues that are sagging. The facelift is the most popular surgery which works to tighten the underlying muscles of the cheek and neck. There is also the forehead or brow lift which lifts drooping eyebrows and reduces static lines.
Are Facial Wrinkles Triggered by Diet?
There are certain foods that are known to cause systemic inflammation which is said to accelerate the aging process. This includes the aging of the skin which can cause the appearance of premature skin aging signs like facial wrinkles. The foods that are known to cause systemic inflammation are those that are highly processed such as junk food, fast food, and preserved food items.
Tips for Preventing Facial Wrinkles
Avoid the sun – Unprotected sun exposure is the one of the primary causes of premature facial wrinkles. As much as possible, avoid sun exposure or if you can’t, at least wear protection like hats, sunglasses and sunscreen. This will also help reduce your risk of skin cancer aside from preventing premature skin aging signs.
Do not smoke – many studies indicate that smoking is among the primary causes of accelerated skin aging. This is because cigarette smoke promotes the release of an enzyme that breaks down collagen and elastin which are vital components of the skin. It also reduces blood flow to the skin which makes it more likely to age and develop wrinkles and other skin aging signs.
Get adequate sleep – sleep deficiency increases cortisol level which is a hormone that breaks down cells of the skin. It promotes the storage of fat in the abdominal area as well. Getting adequate sleep helps produce more human growth hormone which maintains the thickness and elasticity of the skin.
Sleep on your back – according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), certain positions promote the development of fine lines and wrinkles on the face. Sleeping on your side promotes cheek and chin wrinkles while sleeping face down promotes wrinkles on the forehead, cheeks and chin. To reduce the development of wrinkles, the AAD suggest sleeping on your back.
Don’t squint – repetitive facial movement like squinting eventually forms a groove under the surface of the skin which eventually turns into fine lines and wrinkles. By wearing sunglasses, squinting can be minimized which helps keep facial wrinkles at bay.
Eat more fish – cold-water fish like salmon is a good source of lean protein that is an important building block of healthy skin. These are also rich in essential fatty acids known as omega-3 which helps nourish the skin keeping it plump and youthful.
Consume cocoa – a study published in the Journal of Nutrition suggests that cocoa helps protect the skin from sun damage and at the same time improves skin cell circulation which helps delay the appearance of skin aging signs like facial wrinkles.
Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables – these foods are rich in antioxidants that help protect skin cells from free radical damage. This keeps the skin looking younger and more radiant and helps in protecting against photoaging.
Facial wrinkles are among the most common skin aging signs. It is also among the first skin aging signs that appear together with fine lines. There are many reasons that facial wrinkles appear but the good news is that there are many ways to prevent it and even treat the problem if it is already there.
- Balin AK, Kligman AM. Aging and the skin. RAVEN PR, 1989.
- Gartstein V, Shaya S. Assessment of visual signs of skin aging. Bioeng Skin: Skin Surf Imaging Anal