Women with a shocked expression and wrinkles on her forehead

What happens to skin when it starts to wrinkle?

In simple terms, a wrinkle is a line or fold in a person’s skin. We all get them as we age, it’s a fact of life, but for many people wrinkles are something they wish they didn’t have.

What causes wrinkles?

As we age our skin gets thinner, less firm and isn’t as flexible so it can’t protect us as well as it did before. Most people get their first wrinkles from their facial expressions. Generally, the more you smile, frown and squint, the more wrinkles you’ll get. It’s impossible to stay completely wrinkle free as we all move our faces thousands of times a day!

The most wrinkle prone parts of your body are your face, neck, arms and hands. Wrinkles can be caused from exposure to UV rays, smoking, drinking alcohol, your skin being dehydrated and being on certain medications like Valium and Xanax. If your parents have lots of wrinkles, chances are you will too.

What happens to our skin?

Nine out of 10 wrinkles are caused by sun damage. When your skin is exposed to UV rays from either the sun or from a sunbed, the collagen and elastin in your skin cells is broken down. This can cause wrinkles because collagen and elastin work together to give your skin its firmness and shape. Frown lines are created when the fat beneath your skin’s surface begins to disappear.

When your skin is dehydrated (either due to alcohol or not drinking enough water), you get wrinkles because your skin isn’t as supple. Dehydrated skin often makes the wrinkles look more prominent too.

Smoking causes wrinkles by breaking down the collagen in your skin. Nicotine can also narrow your blood vessels and reduce the blood flow to your skin. This results in your skin not receiving all the oxygen and nutrients it needs to stay healthy, which ultimately causes wrinkles to appear.

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