For most people, wrinkles are one of the first physical manifestations of the ageing process. In this article we try and explore how wrinkles form including the role of genetics, environment, skin color and what we can do to minimize their appearance.
Role of genetics
Genetics are the single biggest determinant of our skin structure and texture. In fact up to 50% of the way we age can be attributed to the genes we inherited from our mother or father.
To explain, the quality and color of the skin we have is largely due to genetic influences. The lighter the skin we have, the thinner it usually is. Thin skin is more prone to wrinkles. Again, dry skin mean fewer oils which in turn means lesser Vitamin E reserves. Vitamin E is known to be a natural wrinkle inhibitor which makes dry-skinned more prone to wrinkles.
Be it a turkey neck or puffy eyes there is nothing we can do but work with what we have inherited. But thankfully, there is another 50% of skin aging that we do have control over. Read on.
The environment we subject our skin to plays a major role in aging. Of all the environmental factors, the primary culprit is the sun. Firstly, the ultraviolet rays from the sun pretty much kill our skin cells, also referred to as photo-aging. Secondly, they cause the degradation of the protein collagen in our skin. Collagen is a protein that gives the skin its structural integrity and when this protein degrades, wrinkles form.
The condition of our skin as we age is also dependent on the natural humidity of the area where we live. Dry areas like deserts and mountains cause the moisture in our skin to evaporate. Without enough moisture, the skin gets less oil from the oil glands of the skin. While this may be good for reducing acne it is not good for your complexion. Dry skin is hard with closed pores which in turn exacerbates wrinkle formation.
Going back to what we covered under genetics, darker skin tones usually do not wrinkle as much as lighter skin tones. Darker skin is much less susceptible to damage from the sun and usually retains its elasticity and shape as time goes on.
Steps to take to minimize wrinkle formation
There are many steps we can take to prevent wrinkle formation. The most important is to minimize the harmful effects of photo-damage from the harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun. In other words, wear sunscreen of 15 SPF or greater and reduce sun exposure especially during peak hours. Another great tip is to use topical creams that enhance our natural collagen production. There are great products that penetrate the skin and help our skin repair itself by promoting collagen growth.
Apart from wrinkle prevention techniques there are surgical procedures like skin resurfacing and face lifts. All surgeries have severe risks so they need to be thoroughly understood. A dermatologist can help you understand what the best wrinkle treatment and prevention will be for your specific skin type.