How and Why Wrinkles Form
What are wrinkles?
Before we dive into our discussion about wrinkles, let's first talk about the skin itself. The epidermis is the outer layer of skin. Its job is to protect you from damage caused by the environment. The dermis is just below the epidermis. Here you'll find collagen and elastin fibers which form the connective tissues in the skin. Think of it as the support structure of your skin. The subcutaneous tissue is the bottom layer of fat cells that keep skin plump.
Wrinkle is the term that encompasses anything from tiny lines to deep creases in the skin. They occur over time as one or all layers of the skin are broken down. There are a variety of reasons for break down, the main two being age and sun exposure. Genetics, certain behavior choices (smoking and drinking alcohol), and your facial expressions play a role in how and when wrinkles form.
How do wrinkles form?
Age is the natural enemy of the skin. Wrinkles in the epidermis form as the skin becomes thinner over time. The thinning leads makes it difficult to retain moisture. As the outer layer of skin ages, it is also less able to repair itself. Damage to the epidermis tends to cause fine lines.
The dermis is the collagen maker. Collagen and elastin fiber keep the skin full and smooth. As collagen production decreases, creases begin to form. The elastin stretches and becomes thin, so our skin cannot bounce back like it did in our youth. Then, we begin to lose some of the fat in the subcutaneous layer and it tends to result in droopy or sagging skin.
Why do wrinkles form?
Sun exposure causes collagen and elastin to break down over time, so more time in the sun means deeper creases and ridges. Any outdoor activity can contribute, so be wise about skin protection.
Smoking and drinking alcohol also play their part. Smoking reduces the blood supply so also causes aging to accelerate. Dry skin is more likely to wrinkle. This is why alcohol has such a negative effect. It dehydrates skin, so damages from the inside out.
Habitual facial expressions and genetics also contribute. There's not much you can do about the shape of your face. People who smile, frown, or squint a lot will see wrinkles faster. Don't let that stop you from smiling since stress can cause premature aging too. Basically, wrinkles are inevitable. Avoiding excess sun exposure, excess drinking, and smoking can help slow the appearance of wrinkles.
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