The word ‘rhytides’ is the technical term for larger wrinkles. It is used to describe the result of skin aging, where elasticity is lost and gentle folds are formed. Smaller wrinkles are termed ‘fine lines’. The following factors will determine the amount of lines and wrinkles that appear on aging skin:
Genetics – If your parents and grandparents always looked younger for their age, then it is likely that you too could have inherited a similar skin composition and thus be more wrinkle resistant.
Skin phototype – This is a method of classifying the skin by the amount of melanin contained in it. Skin types are classified into six groups (Fitzpatrick I-VI), from pale to black skin. It takes into consideration the amount of natural sun protection your skin has. Those with more melanin are going to suffer less sun damage, hence less wrinkles.
Environmental factors – There are a range of environmental factors that accelerate the aging of your skin, including smoking, drinking, sun tanning, an unhealthy diet, including significant weight loss or gain throughout your life. There are also less predictable factors including skin diseases and disorders, the amount of muscle movement beneath the skin, gravity impact and the natural levels of hormones and elastin in the body.
Understanding Lines and Wrinkles
Lines or wrinkles are formed from the way you move your face. The areas in which you are going to see the first signs of wrinkles are on the natural contours of the face, for example with a crooked smile or dimples. Lines and wrinkles on the face come under a few categories and tend to be ‘geographic’ in nature.
Furrows (wrinkles) – These are the deeper lines that are either ‘dynamic’ or ‘static’. Dynamic lines tend to appear with movement of the face. Static furrows do not change with movement. All dynamic furrows eventually become static furrows, such as the lines around the eyes, between the brows, across the forehead and around the sides of the mouth.
Fine lines – These are the very first signs of aging and are not always permanent. This is because they tend to be due to changes in the upper layers of the skin. For instance, if your skin is well hydrated and not exposed to too much sun, you will have few fine lines, but if you are a heavy smoker, you will notice more fine lines.
Treatment for Wrinkles
The best way to prevent wrinkles is to use sun protection and to moisturise regularly. These two things are the front line defence against wrinkling.
Dermal fillers, such as injectable gels, are commonly used for filling in facial wrinkles and hollows, restoring facial volume to areas such as the cheeks and for lip augmentation. Skin fillers are natural substances, commonly made from a complex sugar, that stablilises the skin structure by attracting and binding water. Injections of filler into the skin are thought to replenish its natural support structures damaged by aging. Over time, the injectable gel is gradually and naturally degraded in the human body.
If dynamic wrinkles are making you look older than you should, muscle relaxant injections can smooth these out and give you a more youthful and rested appearance. Improvement in dynamic wrinkles is optimised by a series of injections. These are the horizontal forehead lines, vertical frown lines and crow’s feet lines at the corners of the eyes. They occur when we smile, laugh, frown or raise our eyebrows. Muscle relaxant injections work by inhibiting nerve impulses which cause these facial muscles to contract. This treatment will not improve the more common ‘static’ wrinkles that are unrelated to facial muscle contraction. Cosmetic filler injections and laser resurfacing or surgery, are more appropriate for static wrinkles.
An ablative laser may be either fractionated or non-fractionated in nature. These lasers are commonly used together to optimise skin rejuvenation. The fractionated laser uses heat to create thousands of tiny holes deep in the skin. Columns of damaged tissue are selectively removed, leaving surrounding skin intact. This process removes sun-damaged and/or scarred tissue from the dermis. The growth of healthy skin, full of fresh collagen is stimulated. A non-fractionated laser is used to remove the very top layer of skin only. It is useful for smoothing the skin surface and removing superficial imperfections. Most patients see significant improvement after just one treatment, but more treatments may be required. These are usually performed at 6 month intervals.
Dermatologists commonly have an interest in therapies to remedy wrinkles and fine lines, sagging or loss of elasticity in the face. If you have any questions or concerns about skincare or wrinkle management contact us today.