Wrinkles and fine lines are among the most noticeable signs of aging. Fine lines usually appear first, often as a result of muscle movements in the most active areas of the face. The lines appear when the muscle is contracted - for example, when smiling or furrowing the brows - and disappear when the muscle is relaxed.
With continued use of the same muscle for years, those fine lines gradually become deeper wrinkles that don't disappear when the face is at rest. Wrinkles become even more pronounced with the breakdown of collagen and elastin in the skin and the loss of fat underneath the skin.
There are a few factors that cause fine lines and wrinkles.
Our body naturally produces less collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid as we age. Without these essential substances, our skin loses strength and elasticity. Our skin also becomes dryer as we get older. The lack of moisture makes our skin less plump and supple, leading to fine lines and wrinkles.
Exposure to the sun is one of the biggest contributors to visible aging. This is because the sun’s UV rays weaken our skin’s collagen fibers and cause excess pigmentation (often called sun spots or age spots). Research has shown that sun damage, as well as exposure to UV light from tanning beds, can cause or exacerbate wrinkles.
Unhealthy lifestyle choices such as smoking and lack of sleep can also contribute to fine lines and wrinkles. Smoking exposes us to nicotine and increases the production of free radicals, which are two factors that can damage the collagen in our skin. Poor sleep contributes to wrinkles and fine lines because our body needs sleep to restore and regenerate itself.
While fine lines and wrinkles are harmless, many people seek treatment to reduce their appearance.