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Beauty & Style
Cosmetic Surgery
Skin Health

Winning the Wrinkles War

Wrinkles, a natural part of aging, are most prominent on sun-exposed skin, such as the face, neck, hands and forearms.

Although genetics mainly determine skin structure and texture, sun exposure is a major cause of wrinkles, especially for fair-skinned people. Other factors, such as pollutants and smoking, also contribute to wrinkling.

If your wrinkles bother you, you have more options than ever to help smooth them or make them less visible. Medications, skin-resurfacing techniques, fillers, injectables and surgery top the list of effective wrinkle treatments.

Wrinkles are the lines and creases that form in your skin. Some wrinkles can become deep crevices or furrows and may be especially noticeable around your eyes, mouth and neck.

When to See A Doctor

If you’re concerned about the appearance of your skin, see a dermatologist. He or she can assess your skin and help you create a personalized skin care plan. A dermatologist can also recommend medical wrinkle treatments.

Wrinkles are caused by a combination of factors — some you can control, others you can’t:

Age. As you get older, your skin naturally becomes less elastic and more fragile. Decreased production of natural oils dries your skin and makes it appear more wrinkled. Fat in the deeper layers of your skin diminishes. This causes loose, saggy skin and more-pronounced lines and crevices.

Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light. Ultraviolet radiation, which speeds the natural aging process, is the primary cause of early wrinkling. Exposure to UV light breaks down your skin’s connective tissue — collagen and elastin fibers, which lie in the deeper layer of skin (dermis). Without the supportive connective tissue, your skin loses strength and flexibility. Skin then begins to sag and wrinkle prematurely.

Smoking. Smoking can accelerate the normal aging process of your skin, contributing to wrinkles. This may be due to changes in the blood supply to your skin.

Repeated facial expressions. Facial movements and expressions, such as squinting or smiling, lead to fine lines and wrinkles. Each time you use a facial muscle, a groove forms beneath the surface of the skin. As skin ages, it loses its flexibility and is no longer able to spring back in place. These grooves then become permanent features on your face.

When you make an appointment with a dermatologist, it’s a good idea to prepare for your appointment by making a list of questions you want your doctor to answer. For wrinkles, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:

What is the best course of action?

What are my treatment options and the pros and cons of each?

What will the treatments cost? Does medical insurance usually cover these treatments?

What results can I expect?

How often will I need to repeat the treatment?

What kind of follow-up, if any will I have?

Don’t hesitate to ask any other questions you have.

What to Expect from Your Doctor

Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions, including:

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