Wrinkles are recognized by most people as a simple part of the ageing process, yet they are not something that most people look forward to or aspire to have. Unfortunately there is no cure for wrinkles, however there are many things that can be done to help keep your skin looking young and healthy into your more senior years. This article looks at the most recent and up to date information to tell you about what wrinkles really are and to give you some medical tips on how you can fight the ageing process.
What are they?
Wrinkles are simply defined as creases or lines on the surface of your skin and tend to be most noticeable on your face. They are as already mentioned a very normal part of the ageing process and so it makes sense that the most common cause of wrinkles is simply by getting older. Wrinkles form because as your skin ages it becomes thinner and more frail, alongside this comes the fact that your skin loses some of its elastic quality and as such it tends to crease and wrinkle. Exposure to the sun over many years causes damage to the elastin and collagen in your skin. These are the two major proteins that are responsible for keeping your skin elastic, smooth and firm. It is also widely accepted that smoking causes wrinkles in the skin as cigarette smoke inhibits the production of collagen.
It is important that people who have wrinkles know that this is not an illness and so you will not have symptoms in the way that you do with many diseases. However wrinkles can very much change your appearance and this can have a large impact on the way that you feel about yourself. Wrinkles can generally be seen most easily on the face, especially on the forehead, around your mouth and between your eyebrows. Some other areas where wrinkles like to live are on your hands and on the front of your neck.
There is a lot of money to be made in the treatment of wrinkles as no one really wants them to be there and will spend a lot of money trying to keep them away. There are numerous treatments for wrinkles, however it is important to note that not many of them have been tested. You should always find out about side effects to any of the medicines that you are thinking about trying.
There is pretty good research out there to show that gels and creams containing a product known as a retinoid can be good at reducing wrinkles. Some of the medicines that contain retinoids include tazarotene, isotretinoin and tretinoin. These products are prescription only medications and whilst some beauty products have vitamin A, also known as retinol, this is a milder form and will not work as well. One of the medicines tazarotene decreases the appearance of fine wrinkles in about 40% of people who use it and gets rid of deeper wrinkles in about 10-20% of those who take it. It is important to note that all retinoid medications can make your skin itch, go red, or even peel and as these medications increase your sensitivity to sunlight you should avoid lots of sun exposure while you are on these medications. You should also never put a retinoid medication on skin that is already sun burnt as this may make that skin even more sensitive and you could end up with permanent sun damaged skin. You must never use a retinoid if you are pregnant as they can cause serious harm to the fetus. Contraception should be used if there is any chance that you may become pregnant.
There are many creams that contain numerous vitamins such as C or E and these are sold widely on the premise that they help to get rid of wrinkles. However there is very little research that these are effective. Many beauty products have a small amount of moisturizer or a sunscreen in them and these may have a small effect on wrinkles even if the other ingredients in the product do not. Pills are available that contain an extract of cartilage from fish and the studies on this has mixed results. This product known, as imedeen has been subject to many studies and in fact the largest one showed that it made no difference to the appearance of wrinkles.
Crams and gels are not the only form of treatment; in fact there are numerous treatments out there on the market today. Yet many of them have not been formally tested, so it cannot be said whether they work or not. One of the options is laser treatment and this works by removing the top layer of skin. Another involves the use of chemicals to peel away the top layer of skin. Dermabrasion is the name given to a technique that rubs off the top layer of your skin using a brush made of wire that spins. Facelifts are often done and this involves surgery under a general anesthetic. However there is no good evidence that this works well and many results depend upon the experience of the surgeon performing the operation. Botox and collagen are two substances that are injected into the face to try and rid one of wrinkles. These work to varying degrees, however will not offer you a complete cure and the wrinkles will keep coming back.
Can I prevent them?
There is really no way to prevent wrinkles completely, however there are some things that you can try. Protecting your skin from lots of sun exposure with high-factor sunscreen may help, however there is no research to support this. If you smoke you should definitely give up, as wrinkles are more common in lifelong smokers compared with those who have only smoked for a short period of time.