Crow’s feet. Laugh lines. Creases.
No matter what you call them, we all know them as one thing.
And, unless you’ve discovered some rip in time, we’re all going to experience wrinkles at some point in our lives.
It’s a natural part of aging.
In fact, it’s one of the defining attributes of aging! But what causes wrinkles?
A survey of 2,000 women by Superdrug, a beauty and health retailer, found that women start worrying about signs of aging on average at the tender age of 29, with wrinkles and sagging being the top two concerns.
According to a study by Allergan, most of us ladies are noticing the appearance of fine lines.
Did you know that not all wrinkles are created equal?
It was traditionally believed that wrinkles fell into just two categories:
Dynamic Wrinkles – Those lines that result from repeated facial movements (such as smiling) that form creases in the skin.
Static Wrinkles – The lines that occur from your skin losing elasticity and collagen and that eventually sag.
However, in a study published by the International Journal of Cosmetic Science (2006), researchers at the University Hospital of Liege, Belgium actually identified four different categories of wrinkles!
Each type of wrinkle has their own internal and external causes, which I’ll elaborate on.
Today, I’m going to give you a breakdown of different types of wrinkles, what causes wrinkles and my best tips to treat them so you can have healthy, youthful skin for years to come!
4 Different Types of Wrinkles and What Causes Them
1. Atrophic Crinkling Rhytids
These wrinkles are those little parallel lines that disappear when your skin is stretched taut.
They can occur on your face, or anywhere on your body (think of those little wrinkles you may have on your chest.)
What Causes Them
These lines are a result of a loss of collagen and elasticity which leads to skin sagging.
The main culprit?
UV exposure unleashes free radicals in our skin that break down collagen and elastin, the building blocks that give our skin firmness and structure.
Make sure you wear daily SPF sun protection, especially on your face, neck, and chest (as well as other exposed areas)!
2. Permanent Elastic Creases
These are crease lines that end up becoming permanent wrinkles as we age.
These little guys tend to show up on our cheeks, upper lip, and the base of our necks.
What Causes Them
As with the last type, repeated sun exposure can make these lines worse.
Smoking is also a big factor in deepening these creases, like those lines you get around your lips from repeatedly pursing your mouth.
But that’s not all.
Whenever you smoke, you expose the surface of your skin to all kinds of chemicals and carcinogens.
Plus, when you inhale, you inhibit your body’s ability to circulate oxygen to your skin, which it needs to heal and form healthy skin cells (one of the reasons smoking often results in a dull complexion).
Stop smoking already!
Your complexion and your body will thank you.
One stunning study looked at twins who aged differently as a result of different lifestyle habits.
In this example, Brenda (left) smokes ½ a pack per day and has had 7 times as much sun exposure as her twin counterpart, Barb (right), leaving her looking years older.
Dr. Bahman Guyuron, plastic surgeon at Cleveland’s Case Western Reserve University, notes that Brenda’s wrinkles around her mouth and under her eyes are telltale signs of a smoker.
3. Dynamic Expression Lines
These fun lines are the ones I mentioned up top that you get from repeated facial muscle movements that cause creases in the skin that become more permanent.
They usually show up around the mouth, eyes, and forehead.
What Causes Them
You get these lines from basically living your life and being a human being.
They’re like a collection of little moments from every time you’ve squinted on a sunny day, laughed at an inside joke, or frowned when a character gets killed off on your favorite show.
Unless you want to become a robot and stop expressing yourself, you’re gonna get these lines and creases on your face.
Wear those lines with pride! They’re badges of honor from the experiences of a life lived!
4. Gravitational Folds
These are those wrinkles that occur naturally with age as our skin loses structure and starts to fold and sag.
What Causes Them
As the name suggests, time + gravity = gravitational folds.
You can chalk this one up to good ol’ aging.
As we get older, our skin starts to lose collagen and elastin leading to wrinkling and sagging.
Researchers found that these lines are more apparent on a lean face with thinner skin and that a plumper face with thicker skin will show less of these types of folds.
What Can I Do About Wrinkles?
One of your best bets to guard against wrinkles is to prevent rather than treat.
Don’t wait until you start seeing little lines pop up to start using anti-aging products in your skincare.
Incorporate those youth-boosting formulas now to stop wrinkles before they start!
Let’s look at some of my top tips for skincare habits that will give you smooth, youthful skin.
Not today, wrinkles!
Use SPF EVERY. DARN. DAY.
According to Skincancer.org, 90% of visible skin aging is caused by sun exposure and subsequent damage.
When our skin is damaged by UV exposure, free radicals age skin by causing hyperpigmentation, compromising our skin’s texture, and breaking down collagen and elastin which leads to sagging and, yes, wrinkles.
All you have to do to avoid sun aging is make sure and wear daily SPF protection!
A study published by the Annals of Internal Medicine looked at the effects of using sunscreen on the reg.
And, this does mean every day!
Even on cloudy days. Even when you’re not lying out to get a tan.
You accumulate a lot of sun exposure from doing things like driving and walking outside, and that exposure adds up.
- Use a daily moisturizer that includes broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection of at least SPF 30.
- Apply SPF at least 15 minutes before heading outside to give it time to absorb into the skin.
- Don’t forget your neck and chest. They benefit from skincare just as much as your face.
- Don’t skimp! Slather on that goodness for optimal protection.
- Reapply SPF every 1-2 hours if you’re outside for a while or sweating a lot. And, it’s always a good idea to rock a hat and sunglasses, and seek shade during peak UV hours (10:00 am – 4:00 pm).
Look for These Anti-Aging Ingredients
If you want to get some wrinkle-smoothing power out of your skincare, look for formulas that include these age-defying ingredients!
This, in turn, also encourages collagen production to firm up skin and diminish fine lines.
Pro Tip: Retinol and retinoids can make skin sensitive to sunlight, so I always recommend using it in your PM skincare routine.
It also may cause some slight skin irritation and may take a bit of time for the skin to adjust.
Make sure to consult the directions which will likely recommend that you start by using it just a couple times a week.
Fine lines and wrinkles are made more apparent when your skin is dry or dehydrated.
Hyaluronic acid is a mega moisture humectant, which means it grabs moisture and holds it to your skin’s surface to deliver hydration.
This moisture action also helps plump skin to fill out fine lines and restore suppleness to your complexion!
Remember when I mentioned that sun damage can cause free radicals to break down collagen?
Well, antioxidants are the superheroes that swoop in to defeat them.
Antioxidants work to stop free radical damage and support skin healing by encouraging cell repair and rebuilding collagen and elastin.
Believe me, you want these guys on your skincare team!
Peptides are chains of amino acids which make up the skin protein, collagen.
By helping your skin restore peptides, you’re rebuilding blocks of collagen to fortify skin and bring back its firmness.
Think of it as building a fortress to defend against wrinkles!
Eat Skin-Boosting Foods
Did you know you can help repair and nourish skin from the inside too?
Make your nosh sessions work for your complexion too by eating a balanced diet full of vitamins and antioxidant-rich yummy fruits and vegetables.
A 2007 study of women between the ages of 40-74 found that those who had a high intake of vitamin C (a natural antioxidant) had fewer wrinkles and less age-related dry skin.
Ensure you’re getting lots of nutritious whole foods so you can feed your skin!
Exercise, Sleep, Repeat
When we get stressed or overwhelmed, say when you remember that you signed up to make four dozen of your famous chocolate chip cookies for a bake sale TOMORROW, our bodies flood with cortisol.
When this happens regularly, cortisol can host an inflammation party in our bodies that breaks down collagen and elastin.
This is one of the reasons you feel like your complexion looks dull and tired when you’re super stressed.
Two great ways to neutralize cortisol are to get regular exercise and plenty of good sleep. (They don’t call it beauty rest for nothing!)
Shoot for at least 30 minutes of heart-pumping exercise 2-3 times a week and 6-8 hours of solid sleep per night.
Bonus: Exercise helps you sleep, and sleep helps you recover from exercise. It’s the ciiiirrrrccle of liiiiiiiffe!
My Top Picks to Say Goodbye to Wrinkles
At some point, it’s likely that we’ll all have wrinkles. You can thank time and your genes for that!
However, you can choose to take steps to prevent and treat them, or you can leave them alone and wear them with pride as mementos of a life full of experiences.
No matter which you choose, as long as you have healthy skin, you can’t lose!
Wondering which wrinkle treatment is best for you? We’d love to help! Share your questions with us in the comments section.