What Are The Top Ten Causes of Wrinkles?

Wrinkles, fine lines, crow's feet, expression lines… It doesn't matter what you call them. For many women, wrinkles are the bane of their existence; for many beauticians, they're the reason they're still in business. Counting the lines in the mirror may depress you but understanding the reasons behind wrinkles can only help you.


1. Sun Exposure

When you're sixteen, getting a tan is a top priority. But once you reach maturity, all the excess sun exposure is going to make you look older than you really are. The sun's UV rays destroy the collagen and elastin that keep skin firm yet flexible. Once the supporting tissue is weakened, the skin starts sagging, and wrinkles appear. This is why many moisturizers and wrinkle creams contain sunscreen.


2. Free Radicals

By itself, exposure to the sun can damage skin, but with the UV rays comes another factor: free radicals. Free radicals are basically rogue oxygen molecules that are missing an electron. In the process of trying to find their other half, they end up breaking down collagen and damaging cells. Free radicals can be influenced by sun exposure, air pollution, and smoking.


3. Smoking

Smoking is one of the worst habits to have if you want to stay forever young. There's a long list of ways that lighting up can cause wrinkles. Nicotine narrows blood vessels, making it harder to get blood, nutrients, and oxygen to the outermost layer of skin. Smoke damages collagen and elastin fibers. The jury is out on whether or not heat from a lit cigarette can damage your skin, but the repeated smoke-sucking face certainly does.


4. Facial Expressions

As a kid, did anyone ever tell you that your face may freeze in whatever weird expression you were making? They were wrong, but they were also right: Repetitive facial expressions do leave their mark on your skin. If you make a face and look in the mirror, you'll notice that temporary furrows form; years of repetitive expressions reduce skin's elasticity and make these furrows permanent. These expression lines are called frown lines when they're on your forehead, crow's feet when they're around your eyes, and laugh lines when they're around your mouth but for many women, they're just dreaded wrinkles.


5. Gender

This one is just unfair. Women are much more likely to have wrinkles than men, just because they’re women. While the stereotype may be the “wrinkled old wise man”, the truth is that women are more likely to have wrinkles than men. Women have fewer sweat glands and less oily skin than men, which is great when they're young; however, less oily skin wrinkles much faster than skin that is saturated with sebum. (Try saying that five times fast!) If you notice, men never seem to have wrinkles around their mouth because they have more blood vessels around there. As I said before, this is so unfair.


6. Age

Aging is the most obvious cause of wrinkles, and for good reason. As we age, the collagen and elastin that support our skin breaks down. Decreased oil production, thinning skin, and loss of subcutaneous fat just add to the decline. All of these factors combine to cause age-related wrinkling. By itself, aging can lead to plenty of wrinkles; when combined with sun damage or smoking, you can expect to look older than the age on your birth certificate.


7. Hormones

Another factor related to aging is changes in hormones. When women go through menopause, their body decreases estrogen production. A lack of estrogen can lead to thinning skin and decreased collagen.


8. Gravity

By itself, gravity can't cause wrinkles; however, skin that is already sagging will be helped along by gravity. Gravity amplifies age-related thinning and sagging to cause drooping eyelids and deeper lines.


9. Sleeping Position

The way you sleep can also contribute to wrinkles. As strange as it sounds, years of burrowing your face into your pillow makes the lines you wake up with permanent. People who sleep on their sides tend to have more wrinkles on their cheeks and jawline, while those who sleep facedown have more wrinkles on their forehead.


10. Poor Nutrition

While eating right is no guarantee that your skin will age gracefully, eating poorly definitely contributes to the number of wrinkles you have. Several studies have suggested that too much sugar, especially if it's processed, can break down collagen. People with vitamin deficiencies can also expect to see wrinkles younger than those with a healthy, balanced diet. On the other hand, eating foods that are high in antioxidants can help combat free radicals.

What Can You Do About Wrinkles?

Now that you know the top ten reasons for wrinkles, you may be wondering what you can do about them. To find out more about how to make your wrinkles disappear, check out our product review chart.