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Fine Lines and Wrinkles

We all have to grow older; it is an inevitable fact of life. And part and parcel of growing older or aging is the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles all over our body but in particular, our face, hands, neck, arms, and legs. Thanks to aesthetic medicine, there are ways to slow down this ageing process to ensure we look good at every stage of our lives.

What are fine lines and wrinkles?

Fine lines and wrinkles are similar but differ in their depth. Fine lines are mild and shallow while wrinkles are deeper and more pronounced. Both are natural and part of the body’s process of aging. 

At the beginning, you may notice some fine lines in high crease areas like the mouth and eyes. These lines occur when we smile or show different types of emotions. Over-time as we age, these fine lines become deeper and more pronounced, eventually turning from a fine line into a wrinkle.

What causes fine lines and wrinkles?

Our skin is the largest in our body and it is constantly exposed to both internal and external elements. It is made up of 3 layers, the epidermis, the dermis, and the hypodermis; each layer has different functions, but all are affected as we age. 

New cells to replace old ones are made in the epidermis (topmost layer of the skin), as our old cells get replaced, our skin takes on a more youthful appearance. The dermis is responsible for the production of collagen and elastin; these help in keeping our skin cells strong and our face flexible and elastic2 . And lastly, the hypodermis has many connective tissues; these connect our dermis layer to our tissues and bones.

Since we have so many factors that contribute to maintaining the youthfulness of our skin, the causes of aging and how it affects each layer of skin is also multi-fold, these are:

  • Less production of new cells to replace old cells
  • Thinning of the epidermis, dermis, and hypodermis
  • Reduced collagen production
  • Dry skin as skin ages
  • Degeneration of elastin
  • Habitual actions such as smiling, frowning, and squinting
  • Sun damage due to over exposure to harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation
  • Smoking
  • Air pollution

What are the symptoms of fine lines and wrinkles?

Wrinkles can occur anywhere on our body that is covered by skin, but they occur most predominantly and obviously on our face. Much of the causes of fine lines and wrinkles tend to be focused on our face such as habitual actions, sun damage, and smoking. 

There are 3 main types of fine lines and wrinkles:

• Forehead wrinkles: occurs when we frown or raise our eyebrows

• Smile lines: occurs on the side of our mouths and are more pronounced when we smile or laugh

• Crow’s feet: lines that form around the outer corner of the eyes often when we squint, smile, or laugh

It is important to note that in addition to the different types of fine lines and wrinkles, there is a further sub-category of static wrinkles and dynamic wrinkles. Static wrinkles are visible even when you are expressionless, while dynamic wrinkles are only visible when making a facial expression. If a dynamic wrinkle happens often enough, they eventually become a static wrinkle.

How are fine lines and wrinkles diagnosed?

Your dermatologist will have a visual examination of your face to determine the presence of fine lines and wrinkles. Once their presence is found, a personalised treatment plan will be developed for you.

What are the treatment options for fine lines and wrinkles?

There is a plethora of treatment options for fine lines and wrinkles, you just need to find the right one that works best for you. This depends on your lifestyle and the severity of your fine lines and wrinkles. 

Treatment options for fine lines and wrinkles:

• Retinol which removes old skin cells to and help new skin cells to emerge

• Anti-wrinkle creams that improve skin hydration and help support collagen production

• Microdermabrasion that removes old layer of skin to reveal new skin cells beneath

• Chemical peels also remove old layers of skin to reveal new skin cells beneath

• Light therapy that helps improve the appearance of wrinkles and smoothens skin

• Botox® which helps muscles contract and gives the skin a smooth appearance

• Fillers with hyaluronic acid that fill-up sunken or deep wrinkles

• Facelift which removes excess skin and fat to tighten the skin 

Ultimately, since fine lines and wrinkles are a natural part of aging, it is impossible to prevent. But we can delay and soften their appearance by having a proper skin care regime such as, applying sunscreen, moisturising your skin daily, staying hydrated, avoiding alcohol and smoking, and having a healthy and well-balanced diet.

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