Everyone hates wrinkles. These bothersome little lines sooner or later affect just about everyone, including men and women of all different skin types and tones. Still, many of my patients have questions about this extremely common sign of facial aging. Understanding how wrinkles form in the first place, and what you can do to help prevent them, can help delay the point at which plastic surgery and facial rejuvenation procedures may become necessary and keep your skin looking naturally young and healthy for as long as possible.
Your skin is basically made up of two layers: the outermost layer, or epidermis, which is mainly composed of dead, hardened skin cells that protect the body from outside elements, and an underlying layer called the dermis, which contains a network of flexible fibers that give skin its elasticity. Over the course of your life, as old dead skin cells are shed from the epidermis, new skin cells are formed, continually replacing the ones that are lost. However, over time, the rate at which the cells divide gradually slows down, and eventually new cells are no longer formed as quickly as old cells are lost. As a result, the dermis becomes thinner and less able to hold moisture, leading to fine lines in the skin’s surface. At the same time, fat starts to disappear from the skin’s deepest layers while vital collagen and elastin start to break down, weakening the skin’s support structure. Slowly, the skin becomes less elastic, losing the ability to stretch and spring back into a firm position.
Once the skin starts to lose its youthful ability to continually renew and rejuvenate itself, a lifetime of shifting facial expressions begins to take its toll. Just like in a piece of paper that has been folded, crumbled, and flattened over and over again, creases begin to form, gradually growing worse with time. Loss of elasticity eventually leads to a general sagging of the facial tissues, which creates the deeper facial wrinkles like frown-lines and furrows. While this process is a natural part of aging, it can be significantly accelerated by external environmental factors. Exposure to ultraviolet light, for example, directly breaks down the collagen and elastin fibers that make up the skin’s connective tissues. Similarly smoking, which alters the pattern of blood flow to the skin’s surface, damages the skin’s collagen, causes inflammation, and leaves telltale lines around the mouth. Studies have shown that smokers are statistically five times more likely to have wrinkled facial skin than non-smokers.
Fortunately, there are several facial rejuvenation procedures that can alleviate the appearance of wrinkles and help restore the skin to a more youthful appearance. Cosmetic injectables can temporarily relax the muscles in the upper third of the face that are responsible for the formation of frown-lines and crow’s feet, while facial fillers use hyaluronic acid to replace lost fat and moisture from the skin, restoring its volume along with a degree of elasticity. Other non-surgical procedures, such as laser resurfacing and chemical peels can also help rejuvenate the skin’s appearance by gently removing layers of damaged cells on the skin’s surface. Finally, plastic surgery procedures like a full or partial face lift, brow lift, or neck lift, can gently lift and smooth the face to achieve natural looking plastic surgery results that are both subtle and long-lasting.
If you are interested in discussing what approach would be best suited to your specific facial rejuvenation needs, I would welcome you to contact me, Dr. Fernando Burstein, to schedule a consultation. Keep up with the latest plastic surgery news and events by connecting with me on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.