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What Causes Face Wrinkles?

It’s no surprise to anyone who’s ever considered their options for getting a younger-looking face: The best-known cosmetic treatment for wrinkles is BOTOX®. St. Louis-based West County Plastic Surgeons of Washington University often fields questions from people who have heard the brad name and want to learn more—about the injectable and what it can do for their unwanted lines.

No one wants to look “old” before their time or permanently angry or fatigued, especially when they inwardly feel young and vibrant. When someone first notices the appearance of crow’s feet (the small lines that appear around the outer corners of the eyes) or elevens (furrows between the eyebrows), the unwanted changes can prompt a simple thought: “Just yesterday my skin was smooth and radiant—so what happened?”

Intrinsic aging is a primary factor that causes wrinkles. For some people, lines in the skin are signs of a life well-lived. Every wrinkle is said to reflect our inner character, our laughter, our tears, and—hopefully—our wisdom and experience gained over many years. Between the ages of 20 and 30, production of collagen in the skin decreases by roughly 10 percent. In fact, the natural process of aging results in overall diminished levels of collagen and elastin, a slower rate of new skin cell regeneration, thinning outer layers of skin, increased fragility, and reduced oil production.

As skin dries out and loses its elasticity, it not only causes fine lines to form, it also creates conditions that make it easier for creases and wrinkles to become increasingly visible as we make facial expressions. Eventually, the constant pull of facial muscles leads to the permanent etching of lines in the face. BOTOX® relaxes those muscles, reducing the appearance of those lines. Non-muscle-related wrinkles can be addressed with dermal fillers and other treatments.

But age-related skin changes aren’t the only contributing factors. Maintaining a nutritious diet is vital for getting a healthy complexion. Next time you’re snacking on processed foods and artificial sugar, think of your skin. A chronic high glucose intake weakens the fibers, like collagen and elastin, which keep your skin strong and springy. Excessive glucose may also cause inflammation in the body, which can make wrinkles worse. Your skin also takes a beating from UV radiation from the sun, which more rapidly breaks down important proteins and carbohydrates.

Want to find out more about BOTOX® or other cosmetic wrinkle treatments? West County Plastic Surgeons of Washington University is here to assist. Fill in an online contact form or call (314) 996-8800 for more information.