As ageing occurs, a person's skin cells divide more slowly, and the inner skin, or dermis, starts to thin. Wrinkles develop as we get older because natural substances such as collagen (the major structural protein in the skin), elastin (the protein that causes tissue to stretch) and hyaluronic acid (which gives skin volume), which provide the skin with structure and volume decrease with age. The skin's ability to retain moisture diminishes; the sweat and oil-secreting glands degenerate, depriving the skin of their protective water-lipid emulsions. As a consequence, the skin becomes dry and scaly. Skin loses its elasticity; when pressed, it no longer springs back to its initial position but instead sags and forms furrows or wrinkles. In addition, the ability of the skin to repair itself diminishes with ageing, so wounds are slower to heal. Frown lines (lines between the eyebrows) and crow's feet (lines that radiate from the corners of the eyes) appear because of persistent small muscle contractions. Habitual facial expressions also form characteristic lines and contribute to the formation of jowls and drooping eyelids. Anti-ageing skin care, as recommended by Australian cosmetic clinics, is designed to combat some of these skin ageing processes, and to reduce wrinkles.
The skin can also age prematurely as a result of prolonged exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun (called extrinsic ageing or photoageing). Sun damage is one of the most important causes of skin ageing and skin disorders such as skin cancers. Overall, exposure to ultraviolet (referred to as UVA or UVB) radiation from sunlight accounts for about 90% of the symptoms of premature skin ageing, and most of these effects occur by age 20. Both UVA and UVB rays cause damage leading to wrinkles, lower immunity against infection, ageing skin disorders, and skin cancer. Even small amounts of UV radiation damage collagen fibres and cause accumulation of abnormal elastin. During sun damage, large amounts of enzymes are produced. These enzymes remodel the sun-injured tissue by synthesising and reforming collagen. As part of the process, however, some of the enzymes actually degrade collagen. The result is an uneven formation (matrix) of disorganised collagen fibres called solar scars, which eventually result in wrinkles. Effectively protecting the skin from sun damage is one of the most important ways to reduce wrinkles and prevent skin cancer.
Other environmental factors, including cigarette smoke and pollution, may hasten ageing by producing free radicals. In large amounts, free radicals can damage cell membranes and interact with genetic material, possibly contributing to the development of a number of skin disorders, including wrinkles and, more importantly, skin cancer. Rapid weight loss can also cause wrinkles by reducing the volume of fat cells that cushion the face. This can cause the skin to sag.
If you are interested in treatments to reduce your wrinkles, you may want to find a medical professional with experience in wrinkle treatments, including injectables and chemical peels, and someone familiar with Cosmetic Rejuvenation Techniques. To make the selection process easier, consider using our Clinic Finder. Clinics listed here have medical professionals who focus on wrinkle treatment and facial aesthetics, with a detailed knowledge of facial anatomy and the ageing process that causes wrinkles. They are currently practising Cosmetic Rejuvenation Techniques and may be able to answer any queries.