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Ross A. Clevens, MD, FACS

Although they certainly aren't the only sign of aging on your skin, wrinkles tend to be what people think about when they think about getting older. While most people have seen wrinkles, either on their own skin or on the skin of other people, not everyone understands what causes them or what can reduce them. Getting the full story on wrinkles can help you better understand not only how to treat the ones you've got, but how to keep new ones from developing.

Types of Wrinkles

Wrinkles can be divided into two major and four smaller types. Dynamic wrinkles are those that develop as a result of repeated movements over the course of a person's life. Static wrinkles don't develop because of movements, but form as a result of skin changes, gravity and other factors.

Dynamic wrinkles, also known as dynamic expression lines, include the "11s" between the eyebrows, crow's feet, and forehead creases. They typically form after years of frowning, smiling and laughing.

Atrophic crinkling rhytids are an example of static wrinkles. They form all over the face and are usually fine lines that run parallel to each other. Typically, this type of wrinkle forms as the skin loses collagen and becomes less elastic. A similar type of wrinkle is a long-lasting elastic crease. Usually, long-lasting elastic creases develop above the upper lip, on the cheeks, and the neck. The fourth type of wrinkle is a gravitational fold, which forms as a result of gravity, usually in areas where the skin is thin.

What Causes Them

The cause of wrinkles depends in large part on the type. Dynamic lines are generally produced by movements. That means that people with limited facial expressions or facial movements are less likely to see dynamic wrinkles, compared to people who have very expressive faces.

Sun exposure contributes to the formation of most wrinkles. The ultraviolet rays from the sun play a part in the breakdown of collagen, making atrophic crinkling rhytids more visible. The sun's rays can also make long-lasting elastic creases more prominent or visible. Smoking also plays a part when it comes to wrinkles, as does how well a person takes care of his or her skin. Skin that is nourished and moisturized is less likely to show wrinkles early on.

How to Prevent Wrinkles

There are a number of things you can do to keep your skin smooth and relatively wrinkle-free for as long as possible. Your habits play a part in determining the extent your skin wrinkles, as do your genes. One habit that is worth cutting out, at least for the sake of your skin, is spending a lot time in the sun.

Excessive sun exposure is the top external cause of wrinkles. Luckily, it's relatively easy to reduce your exposure. Avoid spending a lot of time outdoors during the hours when the sun is at its brightest, usually late morning to mid-afternoon. If you do spend time outdoors, slather on sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. Wear sunglasses with UV protection to shield your eyes from the sun and to keep you from squinting in the brightness, which can lead to the formation of crow's feet.

Along with being cautious about sun exposure, you'll keep wrinkles away for longer if you give up smoking. Like the sun, tobacco smoke depletes and destroys collagen, leading to earlier wrinkles. The motion of pursing your lips when you inhale can also lead to the development of fine lines around your mouth.

How you care for your skin can help slow down the progression of wrinkles, too. Moisturizer can keep your skin hydrated, making wrinkles less noticeable, while a product that contains retinol can actually help keep new wrinkles from developing. Occasional skin treatments such as microdermabrasion and facials can also help minimize wrinkles.

What to Do About the Ones You Have

While an ounce of prevention can be worth a pound of cure, you might want to deal with the wrinkles you already have. Luckily, there are a number of treatments designed to reduce or remove wrinkles, from injections to surgery and from laser treatments to chemical peels. The treatment that is best suited for you depends on a number of factors, including your health, lifestyle, schedule and the types of wrinkles you have.

For example, if you're beginning to notice frown lines between your brows or crow's feet by your eyes, Botox or similar injections can be perfect. The injections provide results for about three months without a lengthy recovering time. Fillers can help reduce the appearance of creases and folds on your face. They typically last between six months and a year.

Dr. Ross Clevens, voted “Best in Brevard, is the an award-winning, Double Board Certified Facial Plastic Surgeon in Central Florida and can help you choose the treatment that best meets your needs and lifestyle. To learn more about what you can do about treating signs of aging, call (321) 727-3223 to schedule a consultation today.

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