Wrinkle lines are part of aging, but age alone is not the sole cause. Only “laugh lines” are a natural consequence of aging. These hairline depressions around the corners of the eye, as well as the deeper furrows between the nose and upper lip, probably occur because elastic fibers in the skin loosen over time, allowing the skin to sag and fold in on itself. Repeated muscle movement also causes furrows. Most of the rest of the wrinkle lines in a “lived-in face” is a consequence of overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) sunlight, both UVA (responsible for tanning, wrinkling, and melanoma) and UVB (responsible for sunburn and basal and squamous cell carcinoma). UV light may damage the skin by increasing the production of proteolytic enzymes that break down collagen, the connective tissue located beneath the dermis.
The aging of the skin is called atrophy by doctors. Visual and microscopic changes appear with a decrease in the connective tissue of the skin. Skin appears rougher, finely wrinkled, soft, and dry.
Veins and other structures in the skin can appear much more noticeable. Small, red blood vessels can appear in numbers, and hair can be lost. The lower layer of the skin, the dermis, becomes thinner. The skin can bruise easily, looks fragile, and don’t heal as readily. Age spots or liver spots (in common language) are called lentigos by physicians and appear in ever-increasing numbers on sun-exposed skin. This is any chronically exposed skin: the face is affected, but so are the legs, the chest, the hands, and the back. The color of the skin changes and gets a yellow-grey hue. The skin has less elasticity, and is less firm, with sagging. This makes it important that you follow a solid skincare routine to keep your skin healthy.
Wrinkles are creases or folds in the skin. In aging skin, they occur because of the loss of elasticity that accompanies aging and generalized loss of dermal thickness.
There are three types of wrinkles, and, if you are old and honest enough, you can probably go to a mirror and see each one illustrated on your face.
Crinkles are the very fine wrinkles that happen in aging skin and they appear everywhere, not just in places that have been exposed to sunlight. Elastic fibers in your skin start to deteriorate around the age of 30, although you might not notice it until sometime later.
This type of wrinkling happens even without sun exposure but is probably heightened by it.
Glyphic wrinkles are wrinkles that we all normally have, but which become accentuated with aging. If you have taken to wearing turtlenecks or scarves to hide those lines on your neck that didn’t use to look so bad, you know what a glyphic wrinkle is. These tend to become more pronounced with muscle contraction or with facial expressions.
Furrows are those mostly straight lines that start to appear on the faces of aging people. Forehead lines, “crows” feet, laugh lines that go from the nose to the corner of your mouth and just keep getting deeper…furrows. It is difficult to get rid of these types of wrinkles when they appear at rest between muscle groups.
The “crow’s feet” that remain visibly noticeable at the corners of your eyes even when you are not smiling, will probably not be eradicated but may be reduced in appearance.
What makes wrinkles besides just aging? Exposure to the sun damages the skin and accelerates the visual aspects of aging, such as wrinkles and age spots.
Cigarette smoking, in addition to causing cancer and a host of other problems, also causes the skin to become damaged at a higher rate. Heavy smokers are five times (500%) more likely to be wrinkled at the same age than non-smokers. All things considered, cigarettes are probably equal to sun exposure in their ability to hasten the aging process seen in the skin.