Anna

Anna

Anna studied medicine and specialized in dermatology and after her studies worked in two hospitals and a polyclinic. Recently however she decided to exchange her position as a doctor for that of freelance medical writer and never regretted this step. Her skills are high in demand by various pharmaceutical or cosmetics companies. Anna writes about the anatomy of the skin and skin problems.

Wrinkles – What are they ?

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Nothing makes you feel more confident and comfortable like waking up on a nice morning, staring at the mirror just to see a beautiful and young looking face staring back at you. However, you feel less comfortable when all you can see are wrinkles threatening that radiant beautiful face of yours. Wrinkles occur in form of permanent lines of folds, crinkle and ridges in skin caused by environmental, lifestyle, health and genetic factors. They come in different forms such as fair surface lines in the skin, the faint lines around the mouth, nose and forehead that you might not notice and the obvious deep furrows which runs deep in the skin.

You may begin to ask questions like why does the skin wrinkle, or what makes the skin to wrinkle. Right question, let me give you a peep into the basic science of how the skin is affected by wrinkles.
The skin structure is made up of a very important protein fiber called the collagen, the skin gets its smooth and firm appearance from this protein fiber. Collagen provides a fiber framework in the skin. When you are young, the collagen structure in your skin is intact and in place, this makes your skin firm, looks plump and keeps it moisturized and elastic. However, as you turn older, the amount of collagen produced by the body being to decline, then the collagen framework in your skin begin to wear out and weaken over time. Then you start to notice that your skin begins to sag, resulting in folds and wrinkles.

Wrinkles normally appear in the skin at older age but can appear earlier due to repeated facial expressions, excessive exposure to sunlight, other ultraviolent rays and health issues.

As you grow older, daily practices and activities you are involved in; such as the way you dress, your hairstyle and other repeated activities involving stress on the skin begins to encourage the development of wrinkles. You might not want to change your dressing or hair styles, but the awareness of “more stress, more wrinkles” will help you reduce careless and unnecessary activities that leads to wrinkling.

Another predominant factor of wrinkling is exposure to the ultraviolet rays present in sunlight. Occupational and recreational activities involving exposure of the skin sunlight promotes wrinkles. If you work as a farmer, Fisherman or lifeguard, or you often get involved in recreational activities such as sunbathing, gardening and outdoor sports, you have a higher chance of having skin wrinkles. So, if you need to work under the sun most time, I will suggest you put on protective clothing such as wide-brimmed hats, long sleeved shirts and sunglasses to prevent skin exposure to excess sunlight. You might also want to spend less time under the sun than you previously do during outdoor recreational activities.

Facial expressions are part of everyday life, it is actually the easiest and fastest way of communicating your emotions to other. However, as easy and fast as it is, the use of facial muscles for expression in everyday life stresses the collagen present in the skin and leads to facial lines and wrinkles in the face. Smiling, frowning and squinting are normal, but they contributes to facial lines on the face as a result of expansion and contraction of the skin.

As you age, you discover that your skin gets drier, thinner and less elastic, making wrinkles to appear more often on your face. Your skin type and texture can be a major determinant on how early or prominent wrinkling of the skin occurs, you notice that a person having a dry skin is prone to wrinkles than normal or oily skin due to the fact that dry skin is less elastic and more fragile.

If you smoke or you are been exposed to other pollutants, you skin is liable to age and wrinkle fast. Besides aging, smoking is the greatest cause of facial wrinkles, smoking consistently for a long period of time give rise to crow’s feet like wrinkles around the mouth. So, you might want to give up smoking if you care about your facial appearance. If you have been considering quitting smoking, this is another major reason to do so.
Wrinkles can appear to be more prominent in some people than others. You might have been wondering why your 50+ year old friend doesn’t have wrinkles like you do, even though she doesn’t take precautions and treatment like you do. Genetics might be the best explanation to that. Our genes decides what kind of skin we have and at what rate the collagen and other skin frameworks are generated and produced.

Wrinkles are mainly classified to be atrophic and elastotic wrinkles. Atrophic wrinkles results from the gradual breakdown of the collagen present in the skin which results in loss of firmness and elasticity of the skin. Elastotic wrinkles are small creases around the face resulting from exposure to sun light, smoke and other form of air pollution.
But to keep things simple here, four basic types of wrinkles would be discussed.

Expressional lines. Just like they sound are caused by repetition of a particular facial expression over and over again. Does smiling cause wrinkles? When you smile, frown or squint, they often leave lines around your face and with time those lines becomes permanent, and are referred to as expressional lines. They commonly occur as frown lines and crow’s feet on the face.

Compression wrinkles. Also called ‘sleep wrinkles’ are one of the latest type of wrinkles discovered. It happens mostly during sleep when the face is squeezed against a surface such as a pillow for a long period of time. It occurs when there is distortion in the face due to poor sleeping positions, so if you want to maintain a healthy looking skin, you should try improving your sleeping positions.

Elastic creases. This happens when the skin losses its elasticity, mainly due to exposure to solar ultraviolet rays. They are mainly found around the cheeks, lips and base of the neck. They are not formed from the physical stress applied to the skin, hence they are not expressional or compressional wrinkles, they are rather caused by solar exposure and cigarettes smoke.

Gravitational Folds. From the name, gravitational folds are caused by gravitational pull on the skin when the skin losses its elasticity as you age. They take form from sagging skin in form of deepening nasolabial folds, smile lines and marionette lines. They look more like actual folds of skin unlike the other forms of wrinkles.

Wrinkles are in various forms and seen on different parts of the body, although the most noticeable and emphasized is the facial wrinkle as it suggests sign of aging. Being in a conventional society where aging is not nicely looked at, having a basic knowledge of wrinkles, why they occur, how they occur and the causes of wrinkles will help you navigate through the challenges they may induce.
Wrinkles are mostly considered to be signs of aging as they are mostly found in older adults. However, wrinkles are also found in newly born infants too, which suggests that there are many other factors that results in wrinkle other than aging.

WHAT CAUSES WRINKLES?

Wrinkle forms even from younger age, and not when we grow old. But because they are not very visible yet, many people don’t think about them until they turn older and they become very visible, then they begin to panic and wish they can turn back the hand of time. So, you knowing about what causes wrinkles a bit earlier can help you prevent them.
A number of factors are responsible for the presence of wrinkles in the skin. These factors ranges from aging, environmental factors, lifestyle and habitual factors to genetic factors. But whatever this factors may be, every skin wrinkle occur when the skin begins to lose its elasticity and firmness.

The causes of wrinkles varies and are numerous, we can’t talk about them all, they are a lot of scientific conditions and explanations which I would not want to bore you with. So let’s consider the common ones.

Aging. Whenever wrinkles are mentioned you must have always pictured an old person or your older self. Yes, good thinking, aging is an undisputable cause of wrinkle in skin. As you get older, the fat underneath your skin diminishes, there is reduction in the oils provided to your skin, causing it to decrease in its elasticity and ability. Skin aging also decreases the ability of the skin to protect itself from external agents and stress which later results in lines, wrinkles and a saggy skin.

The Sun. You should know by now that the sun is the number one enemy to your fair skin, no matter how much you try to prevent your skin from wrinkles, exposure to the ultraviolent rays present in sunlight will always cause it to wrinkle. The Ultraviolet light destroys the elastin fiber in the skin which serves as connective tissues. When these tissues are broken down, the skin losses its elasticity, becomes weaker, and wrinkles begin to appear. So you may be doing yourself a lot of good by staying out of the sun, or putting on protective clothing if you need to.

Smoking. Smoking comes in place after sun as the main cause of wrinkles; you can imagine the puckering motion of your mouth when you draw the smoke in. The repetition of that mouth shape causes creases to form around the mouth which you might not notice at first, but with time they become pronounced and noticeable. Apart from the wrinkles caused by the puckering motion, toxic chemicals which are dangerous to the skin are present in the smoke which also contributes to wrinkles as it reduces blood supply to the skin and depletes the skin’s framework.

Pollution. The environment we live in determine a lot in our life. The kind of environment you live in or work can be a major factor in development of wrinkles in your skin. If the environment you live or work in is a threat to your skin as a result of exposure to air pollution, you have the tendency of developing more wrinkles and your skin might age earlier. If you live in a heavily populated city, your skin might wrinkle more or earlier if you don’t take preventive measures.

Unbalanced diet. This is another factor causing the skin to lose its fitness and wrinkle. Food lacking in protein content which is the main source of protein structure in the skin give rise to a weak skin framework. If your meal lacks fruits and vegetables which serves as antioxidants to the skin, it might not have enough ability to fight external agent like pollution, sun rays and diseases, which leads to a weakening skin structure, causing your skin to wrinkle prematurely.

Sugar. Yes, sugar again. You may begin to wonder why sugar should be a factor for wrinkles as sugar is associated to weight gain and not weight loss. Something you might want to know is that; intake of too much sugar cause your skin to age. Sugar in your body will lead to weak collagen resulting in skin wrinkling. So staying away from excess sugar will help you look younger and more beautiful.

Stress. Does stress causes wrinkles? Yes they do. If you are constantly having a tight work schedule, you work overtime or always under pressure, you might not only be prone to the emotional and psychological aftermaths, they might also reflect physically on you as wrinkles. Stress increases your blood sugar level, produces a stress hormone named cortisol which causes damage to the collagen which support the skin, making it to sag and wrinkle. Stress also reduces the ability of your skin to provide sufficient moisture to keep it away from wrinkling.

Lack of sleep. If you spend a lot of days with little or no sleep, you might not continue to see that glowing face staring back at you from the mirror again. You can add “a smooth skin” to the list of reason why you should always sleep enough. When you fail to sleep enough, your skin components are altered and the cells in the skin begins to function abnormally, failing it its necessary functions such as moisturizing the skin. So for your smooth to stay smooth, you should take enough sleep.

Drinking from a straw. When you take drinks through a straw, you notice that the mouth is shaped just like when you take in smoke from a cigarette. That puckering motion of the mouth when repeated over time will cause crinkles and faint fair lines to appear around your mouth and sometimes under the nose, making your face to wrinkle.

Alcohol. If you want a healthy and glowing skin with less wrinkles, then you should be ready to cut down your alcohol intake. A New York nutritionist named Jairo Rodriguez once mentioned that “I always joke with my patients, ‘if you want to get older, go ahead and drink!’”. Alcohol major effect concerning the skin is dehydration. It denies the skin enough fluid it requires to appear smooth and healthy and also affects the collagen structure in the skin.

Sleeping positions. Some habitual sleeping positions can give rise to development of wrinkles in the skin. Whenever you sleep with your face squeezed against the pillow, you will wake up to see visible lines running across the part of your face that was against the pillow through the night. Although this lines disappear in a short period of time. But if this habit of sleeping with the face squeezed against a surface during sleep happens consistently, the lines becomes permanent and wrinkles become to appear over time.

Phone. Oh, you never expected this, however it is now a fact that your phone can give your skin wrinkles. How? The screen of your phone radiates a high-energy visible light (HEV) also known as blue light. Each time you stare at your phone you are exposed to a certain amount of HEV, and the consequence of this is wrinkling and premature aging. A different way your phone causes your skin to wrinkle is by squinting and bending your neck to look into your phone for a long period of time, which makes crow feet develop around the squinted eyes and fair lines below your chin.
The causes of everyday wrinkling of the skin cannot be outnumbered, they vary from conditions to conditions and can be more pronounced in some people than others. Yet, for you to have that radiant and beautiful face staring back at you every morning, you need to know the factors responsible for this unfriendly condition and try as much as possible to stay away from them.

A number of effective techniques and measures that can be taken to prevent, reduce and treat wrinkles will be discussed in the next article. Stay tuned!

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