The Science Behind Wrinkles

While wrinkles are most directly linked to age and the toll of gravity over time, there are other causes to consider. These include overexposure to the sun, dehydration, some medications, and especially smoking, just to name a few. Developing wrinkles can also stem from inherited genetic traits that accelerate the visible ageing process.

Areas of the face and body that are particularly prone to wrinkles include the nasolabial lines, the mouth, eyes, cheeks, jaw, forehead, neck, back of the hands, and arms. The formation of these creases, folds or ridges within the skin’s surface begins very early on in life. In fact, the Mayo Clinic states that every time we use a facial muscle, a groove forms under the surface that establishes the formation of a wrinkle over time. This is why many of us inherit wrinkles in the same areas as our parents with similar structural features.

Flexibility – or a lack thereof – is a key driver behind the development of wrinkles. For instance, a younger individual’s skin will be more supple thanks to higher elasticity. However, as they age, grooves will be more permanent since the skin isn’t as capable of “bouncing back” when a muscle is used.

UV Light and the Breakdown of Collagen

The amount of ultraviolet (UV) light our skin absorbs directly relates to the number of wrinkles that will form, not to mention how deep they will be. This is why folks who stick to the great outdoors, travel often and love to soak up the sun often look older due to the increased presence of wrinkles. Exposure to UV light will break down the skin’s collagen and elastic fibres, the latter of which form connective tissue and support the skin. This layer breaking down makes it possible for gravity, age, bad habits and otherwise to take advantage and cause lasting physical damage in the form of creases, folds and ridges across the surface.