A guide to wrinkles and treatments

What are wrinkles?

Wrinkles are part of the ageing process and they are characterized by folds on your face. When you grow older, your facial muscles will slacken and your skin will become less elastic, causing the folds on your face. Lines and wrinkles are found where your facial muscles move like when you frown and squint.

What are the causes of wrinkles?

Aside from ageing, environmental factors like ultraviolet radiation from the sun, pollution, and smoking can make your skin dry and cause wrinkles to appear on your face at a younger age. A poor diet, stress, and abuse of alcohol may also cause wrinkles to appear in younger people.

More on sun damage

Wrinkles are more likely to appear on areas that are exposed to the sun like your face, your neck, at the back of your hands, and on your upper arms. This is due to the ultraviolet radiation from the sun. It damages the DNA in the skin cells and causes them to age. Sunlight is important for our skin because it is needed for the production of vitamin D. Vitamin D is needed to maintain strong and healthy bones. Too much sun is harmful because people who spend too much time under the sun may develop fine lines and wrinkles earlier than most people do.

More on smoking

Cigarette smoking dries up the skin, constricts the blood vessels, and depletes the supply of oxygen and vital nutrients to your skin. If you smoke then you are more likely to get facial wrinkles compared to people who do not smoke.

What is the treatment for wrinkles?

You should protect your skin from ultraviolet radiation so that you can delay the appearance of wrinkles on your skin. Through the natural ageing process and the environmental factors, you will eventually have unwanted lines and wrinkles. Wrinkle treatments will make your skin look smoother and more youthful. Some of the most common wrinkle treatments are the following

  • skin creams and gels can be used to improve fine wrinkles and some of the milder signs of ageing. These skin creams and gels can be prescribed by your doctor or bought over-the-counter. They have retinoids that will help in tightening your skin and making fine lines less visible.

  • chemical peels have glycolic acid or lactic acid that will help in making the texture of your skin smooth. The damaged outer layers of the skin will be removed so that fine lines and wrinkles are reduced

  • laser facial resurfacing is one the most effective treatments for mild scarring, skin damage from the sun, and wrinkles. A laser beam will be used to remove the outer layers of your skin and stimulate the growth of the succeeding skin layer. When the area heals, the new skin that forms will be softer, less wrinkled, and less scarred

  • botulinum toxin injections may be used to treat fine lines, wrinkles, frown lines, forehead lines, squint lines, and crow’s feet. Botulinum toxin is a protein that is made by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. It is injected into areas on your face so that muscles relax. This will reduce the effects of lines and wrinkles. The untreated areas will move normally. You will still be able to laugh, smile, and frown but there will be less wrinkling on the areas that were treated. The effects of botolinum injections slowly take effect within the first week and they will eventually achieve their full effect within two to three weeks and will last for about three to four months. You will need to repeat the injections afterwards in order to maintain the appearance of your skin. Botolinum injections are not recommended for women who are pregnant or nursing. Those with neurological disorders like myasthenia gravis should not get botulinum injections either

  • dermal filler injections are available in a wide variety in the market today. You can use the temporary or the permanent ones. Your clinician will more often recommend that you use the non-permanent dermal filler made from tissue-friendly gels. These tissue friendly gels should mimic the natural acids that occur in the body. A filler will be injected into an affected area using a very small needle. This will plump up the skin and make it appear fuller and smoother. Dermal fillers can be used to reduce or smooth out your nose to lip lines, lip to chin lines, all the wrinkles around your lips, and enhancing the shape of your lips. The effect of the non-permanent treatment can last for about four to nine months. You have to repeat the treatment in order to maintain your appearance

  • cosmetic surgery like brow lifts, forehead lifts, and full facelifts are used in order to reduce the deep wrinkles and the sagging skin. This kind of surgery will lift up your facial skin, tissues, and even your underlying muscles in order to make your face look tighter and smoother. The operation can be done on your whole face or on particular areas of your face only like your brow, lower face, or neck. The effects of a facelift can last from about seven to ten years assuming that you maintain a stable body weight, retain good levels of skin elasticity, and maintain strong bones. For older people and for people who spend a lot of time under the sun, the results of a facelift will not last as long

How do you decide on the treatment?

If you are considering wrinkle treatments then you should certainly have a consultation with your doctor. Your doctor will be able to recommend a suitable and qualified cosmetic surgeon or a trained health professional for your wrinkle treatment. You should not rush into any cosmetic treatment. You should discuss alternative options with your doctor. You should understand the risks involved in the procedure and the possibilities of the procedure. You should note that

  • botolinum toxin injections will not improve the deep wrinkles that were caused by ageing and sun damage

  • dermal fillers are not able to fix saggin skin

  • laser facial resurfacing can cause changes in the pigmentation of your skin so if you have dark complexion, this treatment may not be for you

  • cosmetic surgery is suitable if you want to remove sagging skin, deep wrinkles, and excess fat