The Difference Between Dynamic and Static Wrinkles and How to Treat Them

February 24, 2021
Samantha Holender
By: Samantha Holender | by L'Oréal
The Difference Between Dynamic and Static Wrinkles and How to Treat Them

While a good skin-care routine or in-office treatments like Botox, filler and lasers can keep your skin looking youthful, wrinkles and fine lines will inevitably start to show on the skin as you age. To minimize their appearance, it’s important to understand that not all wrinkles are the same. There are two main types: dynamic wrinkles, which are visible with expressions, and static wrinkles, which are visible when the face is at rest. To get the breakdown on how these wrinkles form, the difference between the two types and how to reduce their appearance, we turned to Dr. Jennifer MacGregor, a board-certified dermatologist at Union Square Laser Dermatology in NYC.


How Do Wrinkles Form?

As we age, the skin loses collagen and elastin and cell turnover slows down. Add years of repetitive muscle movement (think: smiling, frowning, laughing) and a loss of bone, fat and muscle to the mix, and it’s natural for wrinkles to form. “Think about it like placing a smaller table under the same sized tablecloth,” says Dr. MacGregor. “As the table gets smaller, the cloth on it either wrinkles or hangs off the edges.” In the same vein, as the skin thins and facial structure is lost over time, deeper folds will start to form in the skin. 

The Difference Between Dynamic and Static Wrinkles 

There are two main types of wrinkles, dynamic wrinkles, which disappear when the face is at rest, and static or etched lines, which are deeper and remain on the skin even when the muscles are relaxed. “Dynamic wrinkles occur only with movement or expression like when you smile, frown or raise your eyebrows,” says Dr. MacGregor. “But the lines will go away completely when you stop the expression.” 

On the other hand,  “etched lines start very fine like a hair and you have to look carefully to even see them,” says Dr. MacGregor. “With time, these static lines get deeper and can develop criss-crossing of the lines and folds.” According to Dr. MacGregor, it’s by no means necessary to reduce the appearance of static wrinkles,but it should be noted that fine etched lines are easier to reverse with treatments than deep folds.  

How to Reduce the Appearance of Wrinkles 

While there’s no magical serum or moisturizer that will keep skin forever young, effective skin-care really is key for keeping skin plump and smooth as you age. “The pillars in your routine should be a mineral sunscreen, antioxidants and retinoids,” says Dr. MacGregor. We recommend the La Roche-Posay Anthelios Melt-in-Milk SPF 100, Vichy LiftActive Peptide-C Anti-Aging Ampoules and the IT Cosmetics Hello Results Daily Retinol Serum-in-Cream



If you have noticed dynamic wrinkles or fine, etched lines on your skin, neuromodulators, like Botox, are designed to relax the muscles. If you’re losing bone, fat or volume, adding back small amounts with filler can help thicken and smooth the skin. “We are seeing younger people start early with preventative treatments, small tweaks with early intervention skin care, light lasers or sprinkles of injectables that make a huge impact,” says Dr. MacGregor. “It’s much easier to treat early and maintain results than to try to reverse sun damage or deeper static wrinkling.” 

Design: Hannah Packer

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