Ask the Expert: What's the Difference Between Fine Lines & Wrinkles?
When scanning the label of anti-aging products, you may see the words “reduces fines lines and wrinkles” and wonder exactly what that means. What are fine lines? What are wrinkles? How are they different from one another? Below, we tapped board-certified dermatologist, and Skincare.com consultant, Dr. Elizabeth Houshmand (@houshmandmd), to explain the difference between fine lines and wrinkles, what causes them both to appear, and the steps you can take to help reduce their appearance.
WHAT ARE FINE LINES AND WRINKLES?
So what’s the difference between fine lines and wrinkles, anyway? “Fine lines are early signs of wrinkle formation,” says Dr. Houshmand, “They are tiny skin creases that usually occur in the most expressive areas of your face, like around the eyes, mouth and forehead.” Do you furrow your brow, squint, or smile often? These repeated expressions with your face can cause creases or lines to appear over time. Dr. Houshmand explains that fine lines don’t necessarily have to be a sign of aging. In some cases, they can signify a lack of moisture in the skin due to other factors unrelated to aging, such as excessive sun damage. An important thing to keep in mind is that fine lines can eventually become permanent and transition into a deeper, more obvious groove like a wrinkle. As you age, your skin’s natural elasticity decreases, and as a result these lines in your skin may have a hard time bouncing back into position.
Unlike fine lines, wrinkles are absolutely dependent on your age, and are often more noticeable than fine lines, Dr. Houshmand says. You can think of wrinkles as fine lines in the later stages of their life. Although everyone will get some sort of wrinkle formation on their skin eventually, there are certain measures you can take to lessen their appearance and help keep them at bay.
WHAT CAUSES FINE LINES AND WRINKLES?
As we mentioned earlier, a lack of moisture in the skin is a big factor in causing skin to crinkle up. “As we age, our skin becomes thinner and drier,” explains Dr. Houshmand. Excessive sun exposure and free radical damage, too, can contribute to visible signs of aging such as fine lines and wrinkles. Natural aging, which results in skin losing its elasticity and bounce due to the passage of time, can cause wrinkles to form as well, and can contribute to fine lines transforming into wrinkles.
HOW TO HELP FIGHT OFF FINE LINES AND WRINKLES
Long story short, fine lines and wrinkles aren’t so different. They both represent a crease in the skin, fine lines are simply not as deep as wrinkles and usually not as noticeable. When it comes to keeping fine lines and wrinkles at bay, the recommendation is the same for both. Hydrating your skin regularly, drinking the recommended amount of water daily to help prevent dehydration, and avoiding repeated facial expressions is key. Dr. Houshmand also suggests using topical ingredients—such as vitamin C and thermal water—in your skin care routine to keep your skin hydrated and supple, which can minimize the appearance of lines.
If you take preventative measures starting early, you can help slow the visible signs of the natural skin aging process.
Last but certainly not least, wear broad-spectrum sunscreen each and every day. “Wearing a broad-spectrum sunscreen daily is number one so your skin isn’t photo-damaged and prematurely photoaged,” says Dr. Houshmand. “If you take preventative measures starting early, you can help slow the visible signs of the natural skin aging process.”
Interested in how you can take anti-aging measures on other areas of your body? Take a look on a simple anti-aging routine for your hands, here!