Technically, a wrinkle is a fine furrow or trench that forms in the outer layers of the skin. In young people most of these are temporary, meaning the wrinkle smooths out and disappears when the action that caused it to appear stops – for example smiling or frowning.
As we age, increasing numbers of these lines become permanent due to changes in the structure of the skin; cell division and renewal occurs more slowly, the layers become less integrated and thinner, sweat and oil glands produce less lubrication, the moisture content is reduced, depriving skin of water-lipid hydration, collagen and elastin decrease and their function is compromised.
This can be made worse by factors such as sun-damage, pollution or smoking because they cause the production of free radicals. A free radical is a substance that possesses only one electron instead of the normal two. Since electrons come in pairs, the free radical will actively try to replace its missing electron by removing it from another molecule in our body. This can result in cell damage ranging from, enzyme production and collagen breakdown, to cancer.
Dynamic wrinkles occur as a result of using the facial muscles. During facial expressions (smiling, frowning etc) the muscles contract causing the skin to crease:-
Frown lines (between the eyebrows)
Crows’ feet (side of the eyes)
Rabbit lines (on the nose)
Smokers’ lines (on the upper lip)
Static wrinkles are the creases and folds that are present even when the face is at rest and are not dependent on forming facial expressions.
In younger people they are present as under-eye creases and the indentation of the nasolabial fold (the skin fold that separates the cheek from the upper lip) or as a feature of the fleshy part of the chin.
More static wrinkles develop as people get older because the collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid that provide skin with its structure and volume decrease with age.
The loss of skin structure and volume means that the skin is less able to return to its initial position after creasing with habitual actions and expressions:-
• Under-eye creases
• Crows’ feet
• Cheek crease
• Nasolabial fold
• Marionette lines (long vertical lines that circumscribe the chin)
• Chin creases
Static wrinkles also form as a result of facial sagging. This is due to a combination of influences. With decreased collagen production the skin loses firmness, less elastin is present in the underlying tissue, bone mass shrinks, the layers of the skin separate from the underlying muscle which can become more lax, fat thins and is affected by gravity:-
• Under-eye bags
• Upper eyelid hooding
• Cheek fat pads
• Jowls under the side of the jaw
• Wattle – or double chin
Loss of volume
Loss of volume can cause a sunken or gaunt appearance. This is due to thinning of the skin structure, the descent of facial fat pads in the orbital, cheek and chin areas as a result of gravity, increased laxity and bone shrinkage (particularly in the lower face). Loss of teeth also affects fullness in the peri-oral and cheek areas:-
• Orbital rims
I am a firm believer that there is always a non-surgical route for the treatment of wrinkles. If you are suffering from any of the above, please get in touch to discuss what would be the right treatment for you.