Wrinkles: The Unwanted Lines & Folds on the Face

Wrinkles are an inevitable part of the aging process. While genetics play some role in determining the skin’s texture and structure, the majority of wrinkles are the result of lifestyle factors and sun exposure. As a dermatological skin condition, fine lines and wrinkles do not require treatment; however, a number of skin treatment options are available for those who wish to minimize the appearance of such wrinkles, especially if they are noticeable.

Wrinkles and lines tend to be most prominent on the face, neck, forearms, and hands since they receive the most sun exposure. They may become deep furrows or crevices around the mouth, eyes, and neck.

What Causes Wrinkles?

As part of the aging process, the body produces less oil, which causes the skin to dry. The fat that supports the skin also starts to break down, so the skin starts to sag. Excessive sun exposure breaks down the collagen and elastin fibers that support the skin, so the skin loses flexibility and strength and wrinkles prematurely. Smoking and repeated facial expressions can also cause grooves and wrinkles in the skin.

Self-Help Treatments for Lines and Wrinkles

Over-the-counter topical skin treatments and anti-wrinkle creams are relatively inexpensive and may provide slight to moderate improvement in your skin’s appearance. Most of these preparations contain retinoids, antioxidants, peptides, or alpha hydroxy acids that remove old, dead skin and stimulate the production of firm, healthy skin. These treatments can cause the skin to become red, dry, and itchy. They also make the skin more sensitive to the sun, so it is important to wear sunscreen and protective clothing.

Professional Skin Treatments for Wrinkles

Dermatologists and dermatological providers use a variety of methods to reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles ranging from non-invasive skin resurfacing techniques to surgery. The most popular non-invasive or minimally-invasive treatments include laser resurfacing, radiofrequency treatments, chemical peels, dermabrasion, and microdermabrasion. Each of these techniques removes the upper layer of skin in order to stimulate the growth of new, firmer skin. The healing time can vary from a few weeks to several months depending on the process.

Injectable wrinkle treatments do not require any healing or downtime. Soft tissue fillers use collagen, gel, or fat to plump and smooth deep wrinkles. Botox®, which is derived from botulinum toxin, keeps facial muscles from tightening so that the skin appears less wrinkled.

Surgical options, such as a facelift, remove excess skin and fat in order to tighten the underlying tissue and muscle. Surgery provides long-lasting results but also requires extensive downtime.

Since these procedures are cosmetic in nature, they are not normally covered by insurance. When seeking treatment for any dermatological skin condition, it is important to consult a dermatologist or surgeon with training and experience in the procedure being considered.