Wrinkles are what happen when the underlying structures of the skin begin to deteriorate. Collagen and elastin fibers keep the skin taut and when these structures fail the skin starts to sag. While a decrease in new collagen production can come with age there are many factors that determine when you start to see wrinkles.
What causes wrinkles?
While the simplest answer to what causes wrinkles is usually “aging” this is not the whole picture. Individuals of the same age can have great differences in the severity of their wrinkles, mostly based on genetics and lifestyle choices. Sun exposure is one of the main culprits in premature aging. UV rays can damage skin and its ability to produce collagen and repair itself. Using tanning booths can accelerate this process and should be avoided entirely. Smoking is another factor that can contribute significantly to older looking skin. Cigarette smoke constricts blood vessels, which makes the delivery of essential nutrients and oxygen to the skin more difficult. It also contributes to the destruction of collagen and elastin fibers.
Besides a loss of collagen, a loss of fat can also lead to drooping skin and wrinkles. When you lose fat in areas like the cheeks this is called “volume loss” and can give you a sunken and tired appearance.
Repeated facial movements also can lead to wrinkles, in combination with a deterioration of the underlying structures of the skin. One common area to see this is in the forehead and glabellar region (area between your eyebrows). Repeated movement of these areas can lead to creases that make you look older or angry. This is the area where Botox works best. Botox also is effective for treating wrinkles around the sides of the eyes or “crow’s feet.”
Does diet affect aging and wrinkles?
A diet with a high amount of sugar may contribute to premature aging through a process called glycation. Sugar by-products build up over the years and eventually the affects will be visible in your skin. This is just a normal part of aging, for the most part. Many kinds of healthy foods have sugar in them and glycation happens naturally regardless. It really is a matter of controlling the extent of the damage by limiting your intake of processed sugars.
How are wrinkles treated?
There are many options for treating wrinkles, volume loss, and aged-looking skin. Injectables, procedures, and devices are available for diminishing wrinkles, skin tightening, resurfacing damaged skin, correcting volume loss, and many other areas of concern.
Injectables are available to treat both wrinkles that come from facial expressions and volume loss. Botox, Dysport, and Xeomin (three similar products with the same use) paralyze the muscles that cause certain facial movements. By stopping these movements, you prevent wrinkles from showing up in areas like crow’s feet, between your eyebrows (glabellar region) and on your forehead. Botox, Dysport, and Xeomin all use a variation of botulinum toxin as the active ingredient that paralyzes the muscles.
Skin tightening devices
Skin tightening devices use different technology to cause the skin to return to a more taut and youthful state. Ultherapy uses ultrasound heat to target the deeper layers of the skin and stimulate new collagen growth. ThermiSmooth uses radiofrequency heat to tighten skin and is particularly effective around the eyes but also can be used on other areas of the body.
Laser skin resurfacing
Skin resurfacing involves removing dead and damaged skin cells so that new skin cells can grow. Years of sun exposure can lead to spots, discoloration, and other damage which, when corrected, can give you a more youthful appearance. There are different kinds of lasers that are used including Fraxel and Pixel which vary in intensity. The laser your dermatologist will use depends on your particular skin concern and how much downtime you are willing to have. A laser like Fraxel may require multiple treatments to see the best results. Some more intense lasers can provide better results in only one treatment but may result in a longer healing process. Most of the laser treatments will require you to at least avoid sun exposure while the skin heals. The pros and cons of any treatment are something you should discuss with your dermatologist. Advanced Dermatology, P.C. has many board-certified dermatologists who are experts in laser treatments – so schedule your consultation today!