What are wrinkles and why do I have them?

A person’s physical appearance has always been an imperative part of the human social process. While beauty fads and trends change with time, those who desire to rise above looking plain or unattractive fiercely avoid anything that society decides is unappealing. Our current age sees both men and women seeking out skin care treatments, spa retreats, facials, nail treatments and plastic surgery.

Wrinkles have long been the bane of many an aging individual – especially women. The most troublesome wrinkles typically appear on a person’s face. They can also been found elsewhere on the body including on the back of hands, neck, and forearms.

What are wrinkles?

A wrinkle is any crease, fold or unusual ridge in a person’s skin. They are a natural part of the aging process. They can be faint surface line wrinkles or deep, stubborn furrows. However, they can also show up due to skin damage and can start in even young skin. The hazards of the sun, wind, heat, chemicals and poor eating habits can all cause damage to a person’s skin.

Types of wrinkles

There are actually three different types of wrinkles. First, there are dynamic wrinkles. A dynamic wrinkle is the result of the repetitive contraction of facial muscles. These wrinkles occur in the lines between the muscles during movements of the face. Common facial expressions that encourage the existence of dynamic wrinkles include frowning, smiling, raising one’s eyebrows, squinting and scrunching the brow.

Another type of wrinkles are the wrinkle folds. These folds happen when fat is lost in the face and or if facial sagging becomes a problem. These are common wrinkles as they occur when most people age and are by far the most prolific of the three types of wrinkles.

The third in the series are static wrinkles. These are generally caused by environmental factors such as overexposure to UV rays and sunlight, cigarettes, and poor eating habits. The difference between dynamic and static wrinkles is that the static are always present. They do not require facial contractions, as is the case of dynamic wrinkles.

Early Signs

For people who are careful about wearing sunscreen and do not smoke, the first appearance of wrinkles will commonly occur around a person’s eyes. In fact, some of the early signs of aging skin can happen even as early as a person’s late 20’s. The first wrinkles are often fine lines. These can be the inevitable crow’s feet, or laughter lines – perhaps even sagging skin.

Unless a person is actively looking for these early wrinkles, it is possible they will miss these telltale signs altogether.

Causes

To really understand what causes wrinkles a person has to look under the skin and see how it works. The skin has three levels of depth – the epidermis, then the dermis and the subcutaneous tissue at the bottom. The top layer, the epidermis, exists in as the first covering of protection to keep out germs, dirt and parasites. The way it works is by pushing cells up to the top that help develop a strong, tough barrier. As they reach the top of the epidermis they are no longer needed as they flake away. The middle layer, the dermis, contains connective tissue that works hard to make the skin strong and elastic. The bottom level is mainly fat cells working to provide necessary insulation and make the skin round and full.

This is where the wrinkling comes in. As a person gets older, their skin becomes thin and the cells start to act sticky. This makes the skin appear thinner and the sticky cells affect the epidermis’ ability to retain moisture. The sheer number of cells decrease with aging as well, making the skin slower to heal and repair. The ability of the dermis to make the skin elastic always fades away. No elastic means the skin will begin to wrinkle and sag. The skin becomes drier, more fragile, and in a weak position to care for itself.

That is all the normal way of things, but there are ways to speed up the process or interfere in a way that will make it much worse. Too much exposure to the sun and UV rays thin the epidermis prematurely, not to mention it encourages the growth cancerous cells and lesions. The sun causes the dermis’ collage to increasingly break down and damages it, which throws off elasticity.

People who frequently express themselves through their face will find that smile, frown and laugh lines will lead to premature wrinkling. The repeated contractions of the muscles of a person’s face naturally lead to wrinkles in well used areas.

As we get older and our skin begins to sag, gravity also does its fair share or wrinkling.

Prevention

Prevention is always better than treatment as avoiding the problem is less expensive or worrisome then fixing it. Unfortunately, most people don’t even think about tackling a problem until it appears so prevention is often overlooked.

However, if you are worried about premature wrinkling then an ounce of prevention is certainly worth it. First, the skin needs protection from the sun. Protective clothing, sunscreen and avoiding prolonged exposure is the key to avoiding sun damage. Sunbathing, vacations and outdoor sports are all okay but extra attention needs to be given to protect the skin. Sunscreen should be worn anytime a person is outside, even when it’s cold.

Dry skin is the culprit for many skin problems so a great moisturizer is a must. Finding a way to keep the skin moist and the moisture from leaking out of the skin is a necessity when it comes to wrinkle prevention. Avoid smoking as it is awful for skin care and eat a well balanced diet. The best vitamins for the skin are A, C, B-3 and E.

Treatment Options

Sometimes prevention comes too late and is not effective enough and it is time to tackle wrinkles head on. There are a lot of different types of treatments and the best one we vary depending on the situation, skin type and severity.

Laser Treatment

A laser treatment works on tightening saggy skin. It is imperative to seek out a doctor who really understands laser skin rejuvenation. It works by going through the epidermis and encouraging new collagen to form in the dermal layer of the skin. It does this without damaging the epidermis. It does not remove already present wrinkles but it does improve the look of them. It can also lessen the appearance of brown or age spots, larger than life pores and spider veins. It is often used to treat acne as well.

Injections

One of the more popular ways to treat wrinkles today are injectable treatments like Botox. These treatments target the fine lines type of wrinkles and works by blocking the body’s ability to contract muscles. The effect is temporary, and there can sometimes be undesirable side effects, but many an individual is seeking the help of these injections for wrinkle relief.

Spa Treatments

Other common wrinkle free treatments include chemical peels and microdermabrasion. Microdermabrasion works by removing the dead layer of skin on the surface. This surface layer contains those fine lines and many other surface skin problems. Small wrinkles, superficial skin marks, and dead skin are gone leaving behind smooth, pretty skin. Chemical peels are similar in that it peels off the top layer of skin utilizing a chemical solution. A chemical peel can go deeper than just the surface and may be a better option depending on the depth of the skin issue.

All Natural Treatments

There are plenty of products on the market that are designed to help with wrinkles. Today’s market feels the need for organic or all natural treatments as not everyone is okay with surgical or chemical options. There are anti-aging supplements, skin cream and lotion, eye cream and antioxidants. There are organic choices for any of these options.

Typically Ineffective Treatments

There are dozens of different kinds of wrinkle treatments available. The hard fact is that some are going to work and some aren’t – and this mainly has to do with an individual’s skin properties. The best way to avoid investing in a product that is ineffective is to research the item. There are reviews all over the Internet about these wrinkle treatments. Because each of them work differently on different people, it is important to look at a range of feedback as a whole instead of focusing your opinion on a single negative review. It is also necessary to understand that you may purchase and try a variety of treatments before finding one that is just right for you. Look at the brand, the company’s reputation, how helpful their customer support is, reviews and get the advice of your doctor or dermatologist to get a full look at a product before using. If there is a ‘new’ treatment out there and you can’t find much information on it – it is best to wait until more info is available.

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