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Doctor's Terms

  • Rhytides: skin wrinkles.
  • Melanin: a dark pigment found in human skin (and almost all organisms).

Information And Treatment

Wrinkles are the creases and crevices that develop on the surface of your skin. Wrinkles are a very normal sign of aging, though they're not exactly welcome. Wrinkles often appear around the eyes, mouth, forehead, hands, and neck.

There are two kinds of wrinkles: dynamic and static. Dynamic wrinkles are caused by the movement of muscles and appear only when the muscles are contracted. For example, crow's feet may initially appear only when you smile. Static wrinkles, on the other hand, are ever-present, even when your face is at rest. Dynamic wrinkles become static over time as the muscles and skin lose the ability to snap back into shape.

Wrinkles form gradually with age as your skin loses collagen and elastin. Collagen and elastin are the essential proteins that strengthen skin. As these vital proteins weaken, your skin becomes thinner, drier, and more prone to creasing and wrinkles. Fat cells also deflate with age. While this might sound nice, shrunken fat cells actually thin out your skin and make wrinkles more pronounced.

The sun is one of the greatest external forces to accelerate wrinkle formation. Ultraviolet (UV) rays break down collagen and elastin, prompting the onset of premature wrinkles. Genetics plays a role in wrinkle formation too. Light skin tends to wrinkle more than dark and olive tones. This is because dark skin contains more melanin - skin pigment - than light skin, a quality which protects the skin from the sun's harm (though sunscreen is still a must for all skin types). Smoking (which obstructs blood circulation), and excessive facial movements also produce wrinkles.

Age range: The sun can begin to significantly age and wrinkle your skin before you can legally sip champagne—as early as 20. Wrinkles in motion begin to appear in the mid- to late-30s, become deeper in the 40s. Wrinkles tend to become static after 50.