As we age, wrinkles are some of the first and most noticeable signs of fading youth. Laugh lines around our mouth become more pronounced, and the outer corners of our eyes start to crinkle; deep creases begin to linger on our once-smooth forehead and neck, and the dark circles under our eyes appear more sunken. While this is all a part of the natural aging process, with a better understanding of why these folds and creases appear, you’ll be racing ahead of the anti-aging skincare game in no time.
What are fine lines and wrinkles, and what’s the difference between them?
Over time, our skin gets thinner, drier, and loses the elasticity we once enjoyed (and totally took for granted) in our early twenties. This is caused by the depletion of collagen and elastin – the main building blocks of our skin – which are broken down faster than they are produced in older age. The slowing production and rapid breakdown of collagen leads to common physical signs of aging such as sagging skin, dull complexion, and wrinkles.
Wrinkles are creases, folds and ridges that appear on the skin as the skin loses its ability to bounce back. Facial movements, expressions, sleeping habits, smoking, and UV damage from the sun can all play a part in creating wrinkles on your skin. Fine lines are shallower wrinkles, and the difference is simply in the depth and severity of the crease. For example, fine lines that form under the eyes from squinting or smiling can eventually turn into deep-set wrinkles caused by age, environmental stressors, and other lifestyle factors.
Different types of wrinkles
According to researchers at the University Hospital of Liege, there are four main types of age-related wrinkles.
1. Crinkle Lines
Crinkle lines are the shallowest form of wrinkles, typically appearing parallel to each other and disappearing when the skin is stretched out. They often appear around the eyes and on the forehead, and are the first signs of gradual collagen and elastin depletion.
2. Permanent Elastotic Creases
Often seen on the upper lip, cheeks, and lower neck, Permanent Elastotic Creases are associated with pale complexions, smoking, and increased sun exposure. They appear where there are natural creases in the skin, such as the base of the neck when you tilt your face down to fiddle on your smartphone or laptop. Quit smoking, improve your posture, and wear sunblock!
3. Dynamic Expression Lines
The skin’s loss of elasticity and habitual facial expressions are a double whammy for causing Dynamic Expression Lines. Frown lines, laugh lines and crow’s feet make up this category, which occur naturally from frowning, squinting, and laughing – an inevitable part of aging, because we’re only human after all.
4. Gravitational Folds
These are the lines that occur as a result of sagging and loss of elasticity in our skin. Folds are usually more prominent around the jowls, chin, and neck. Nasolabial folds, smile lines, and marionette lines can make up this wrinkle category.
5. Compression Wrinkles
Do you sleep on your side at night, with your face squished up against the pillow? Compression lines are formed by your nightly sleeping habits, which you can correct by sleeping on your back or investing in an anti-wrinkle silk pillowcase.
How to reduce the appearance of wrinkles & fine lines
Aside from no-brainers like quitting smoking and maintaining a balanced diet, there are a few basic practices you can incorporate into your skincare rituals to help slow down and reduce the formation of wrinkles.
1. Wear broad-spectrum sunscreen daily
No doubt the biggest environmental factor for causing wrinkles and fine lines is extensive UV sun damage. Wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays, with SPF 30 or more. Apply sunscreen as the last step of your skincare routine, and before applying makeup. Remember to re-apply every two hours for maximum protection.
Guasha is the act of scraping a flat, smooth-edged tool over the skin to work all kinds of antiaging miracles. Derived from Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), guasha improves blood circulation, lymphatic drainage, and skin elasticity, which helps to relieve muscle tensions and combat wrinkles and fine lines.
3. Use hydrating topical skincare ingredientsAs we age, our skin barrier is disrupted by all kinds of environmental stressors, and gradually loses its ability to retain moisture like it used to. We recommend finding moisturizers infused with complementary skin hydration boosters like squalene, hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, and ceramides.
There are also several skin rejuvenation treatments you can do safely at home. Chemical Peels using alpha-hydroxy acids or other mild acids gently slough away the outer layer of skin to diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and can be used weekly or biweekly with only a few hours to half a day’s downtime required. HIFU is a minimally painful procedure that sends ultrasound energy deep into the dermis to speed up collagen production, while the gentler RF heats the dermis to tighten sagging skin. Also gaining popularity is the cost-effective method of Microneedling, which creates micro-injuries in the skin and elicits a skin-healing response by stimulating collagen production. Finally, the gentlest method to fight off wrinkles is LED Light Phototherapy, which uses low-level light therapy to diminish signs of aging.
Procedures we advise going to the clinic for include Laser Skin Resurfacing, which removes skin layer by layer with fractional precision to make way for the formation of new skin cells. A medical professional should handle injections such as Juvaderm fillers, which is effective for filling facial fine lines and plumping thinning lips caused by age, and Dysport injections that paralyze muscles and prevent them from contracting. Sagging skin and deep wrinkles can be treated with a Facelift, which removes excess skin and lifts facial muscle and tissue. As with any surgical procedure, downtime is much longer than non-invasive treatments and carries additional risks.
Now that you understand how and why wrinkles form, your anti-aging skincare journey is in your hands. Even though we can’t turn back the clock, there are plenty of safe and effective ways to keep youthful-looking skin for longer.