Ellen inquires: Cosmetics companies don’t usually do a good job of explaining the problems they claim to solve. Take anti-wrinkle creams for example. Can someone just please tell me what causes wrinkles in the first place?
Since the goal of the Beauty Brains is to educate our community, we thought we’d share the results of a study published in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science (2006, 28 389-395). Researchers at the University Hospital of Liege, Belgium determined that there actually four distinctly different types of wrinkles that you’ll (eventually) have to face.
1. Atrophic Crinkling Rhytids
What they are: Fine lines on the face that are almost parallel to each other.
Where they occur: They show up in different areas of the face and body but they tend to disappear when skin is stretched transversally. (that means they shift when your body posture changes.) These wrinkles are associated with loss of elasticity.
What you can do: Since these wrinkles are due to underlying loss of collagen, you need to protect your skin using sun protectants. You can also use moisturizers to temporarily plump the skin and diminish the appearance of these fine lines.
2. Permanent Elastic Creases
What they are: These are crease lines in the skin that become increasingly permanent over time, especially with sun exposure.
Where they occur: They show up most frequently on on the cheek, the upper lip, and the base of the neck.
What you can do: Sun exposure makes this type of wrinkle worse. So unless you’re blessed with naturally dark skin, you should avoid sun exposure or use a sunscreen on these areas to prevent this kind of wrinkling.
3. Dynamic Expression Lines
What they are: Wrinkles that are caused by facial muscle movement.
Where they occur: Frown lines and crows feet.
What you can do: These wrinkles respond to Botox or similar treatments.
4. Gravitational Folds
What they are: As the name implies, these lines are from the effects of gravity and they become increasingly obvious as skin begins to fold and sag. As we noted in a recent post, skin research on the International Space Station might shed some light on the mechanisms of gravity-induced wrinkles.
Where they occur: The location of these wrinkles is related to the thickness of skin. While we would have thought this means that thicker skin shows more folds, surprisingly the researchers said that a fat face may show fewer gravity folds than a lean face.
What you can do: Skin-lifting procedures are effective at removing these kinds of wrinkles.