The Ultimate Guide to Visible Wrinkles and How to Address the Appearance of Each Kind
We use the blanket term “wrinkles” to discuss the appearance of creases, lines, ridges, and folds on the surface of our skin that bother us to bits, but did you know that not all visible wrinkles are one in the same? According to a study published in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science (2006), researchers at the University Hospital of Liege, Belgium found that there are, in fact, four different types of wrinkles, each with distinctive characteristics.
Why should you care? Because each type of wrinkle may require a unique form of skin care. Assuming that you’re willing to shell out the big bucks on anti-aging products, it’s worth knowing what kind of visible wrinkles you may be dealing with to better streamline your efforts in managing them, don’t you think? Ahead, we share an overview on the four different types of wrinkles and how you can address the appearance of each one.
Atrophic Crinkling Rhytids
These are the visible fine lines or “crinkles” on the surface of your skin that appear almost parallel to each other. They are most often associated with impaired mechanical properties of the surface skin, and can show up on different areas of the face and body. Additionally, they can easily change in shape and orientation with body posture or when skin is stretched transversally.
What You Can Do: Helping to protect your skin from damage (UV rays! Smoking! Air pollution!) is important in addressing this type of wrinkle. Apply broad-spectrum SPF 15 or higher every day and reapply at least every two hours. To temporarily plump the appearance of your skin—and help diminish the appearance of fine lines—apply a rich moisturizer formulated with skin-benefitting ingredients like ceramides or hyaluronic acid.
Permanent Elastic Creases
Permanent elastic creases are the appearance of fine lines in the skin that become increasingly more apparent over time, especially with prolonged and unprotected sun exposure. They typically develop on the cheeks, the upper lip and the base of the neck. Permanent elastic creases are much less prominent in those with darker skin tones and in those who avoid heavy sun exposure.
What You Can Do: Sun exposure can make permanent elastic creases more apparent (and more permanent) over time. As such, minimize direct sun exposure where possible by seeking shade and wearing protective clothing. Also, apply broad-spectrum SPF 15 or higher every day and reapply at least every two hours.
Dynamic Expression Lines
Dynamic expression lines are oriented in a stereotyped pattern according to the forces imposed by facial muscles. Frown lines and crow’s feet are common examples of dynamic expression lines. These wrinkles are caused by repeated contractions of the same facial muscles and become progressively permanent.
What You Can Do: Aside from never showing expression again, there’s not much you can do to avoid expression lines from appearing on your complexion. We don’t recommend swearing off smiling forever, but if you are making habitual movements—like furrowing your brow or looking down at your phone—do your best to kick the habit..
Gravitational folds—as its name suggests—are lines that occur due to the effects of gravity, becoming increasingly more obvious as skin begins to fold and sag. These wrinkles are associated with the thickness of the skin. According to research, a plumper face may show the appearance of fewer gravitational wrinkles than a lean one.
What You Can Do: Gravitational folds are a natural occurrence. Since gravitational folds are related to the strength of your skin’s structure, dramatic weight loss may make them more obvious or likely to occur. Skin-lifting procedures are the best plan of action to help diminish the appearance of them.
While there are different types of wrinkles, what they all share in common is the need for a good management plan. You can’t fully control the appearance of wrinkles that occur as a result of natural aging, but you can control your lifestyle habits.
1. Reduce Your Sun Exposure: If you’re a sun-worshipper, you may want to reconsider how much time you spend exposed to UV rays. Excessive sun exposure is one of the top causes of the appearance of wrinkles. If you must be outside, avoid the sun’s peak hours from 10 am to 2 pm. Cover up with protective clothing when possible. Lastly, never (ever!) leave home without applying broad-spectrum SPF 15 or higher on exposed areas of skin.
2. Quit Smoking: Smoking damages your skin’s natural collagen and elastin, which can result in the appearance of loose, sagging skin. The more you smoke, the more skin wrinkling you’re likely to notice. You may not see it now, but it can certainly creep up on you with time. Not to mention, the habitual facial expressions made while smoking—pursed lips and squinting eyes—can contribute to the appearance of wrinkles around your mouth and eyes. If you smoke, the best way for you to protect your skin and decrease your chances of smoking-related visible wrinkles, is to quit.