6 Causes of Wrinkles


What are the most common causes of wrinkles?

There are 6 main causes of wrinkles: chronological aging, damages from sun exposure, damage from free radicals, effects of gravity, hormonal changes, and muscle use with facial expressions.



1. Chronological Aging

All living beings experience aging. Our mental and physical function along with our regenerative capacity declines with aging. Chronological aging is also known as intrinsic aging, which is a process that all living beings experience. A huge part of chronological aging is decline in our cellular activity and functional status over time. By our mid to late 20s, we start to experience loss of collagen of skin and lips due to decreased production of hyaluronic acid, elastin and collagen. Additionally our cell turnover rate slows down and our capacity to repair damages also declines. One of the signature cellular events of intrinsic aging is the shortening of our telomeres, an integral part of our DNA structure. Progressive decline in antioxidant capacity coupled with natural accumulation of reactive oxygen species from oxidative metabolism in skin cells leads to visible changes in our skin as we age: thinner skin, sagging, dull complexion, fine lines, less luminosity, drier skin and overall less resilience.

The rate of chronological aging is largely dependent on genetic factors. While we can not stop chronological aging, we can age gracefully through a combination of personalized skin care, healthy lifestyle and balanced mindset towards aging. In the present “selfie” culture, feeling insecure or experiencing discrimination based on aging (ageism) cause a lot of stress and negative emotions, that often times lead to unnecessary cosmetic procedures. Women in particular experience ageism which is probably why women are the main consumers of skincare products and cosmetic/plastic procedures. On the other hand, there are people who completely reject modern aesthetics and advances in preventative aging. To us, aging gracefully is about achieving a balance between “self-help” through lifestyle modifications, skin care and aesthetic procedures AND self-acceptance of the aging process and our ever evolving physical state and appearance. It is natural to age and grow old; aging brings personal growth and wisdom that we should be grateful for. At the same time, it is completely within our rights to feed our body and take care of our skin using the latest knowledge and advances. This is the inspiration behind BIALife, as mentors, we are here to support you throughout the journey of making that mind-body-skin connection, and ultimately helping you to cultivate the beauty in you.


2. Hormonal Changes

Hormonal fluctuations and changes that occur as we go through life stages of puberty, adolescence, pregnancy and menopause all impact our skin function and quality, particularly the speed of aging. The topic of hormonal impact on skin is complex; a myriad of hormones such as estrogen, testosterone, progesterone, thyroid hormone, insulin and cortisol all affect our skin. For example, cortisol, a hormone triggered by stress, irregular sleep or poor diet, speeds up the aging of skin by increasing cellular damage via free radical oxidative stress. Cortisol also increases inflammation, which leads to higher rate of collagen and elastic fiber breakdown. Additionally cortisol can exacerbate acne, rosacea and make our skin more sensitive to the environment. Estrogen decline over time also leads to skin aging, such as thinner, drier skin, decreased elasticity, and crepey texture. On the other hand, estrogen imbalance or surge can lead to brown spots and uneven skin tone, which also makes us “look” older. While a lot of hormonal changes in our body associated with intrinsic aging are inevitable, we can mitigate the ups/ downs with a healthy lifestyle, and making conscious efforts in connecting our skin with mind and body. Studies have shown that meditation helps to lower cortisol levels and regulate our estrogen fluctuation, which in turn help to promote healthier and more functional skin. Strict sun protection with the right sunscreens helps to control the pigment generated in part from hormone imbalances.


3. Sun Damage

Cumulative exposure to sunlight is probably the biggest factor (and most easily preventable) in aging skin. The UVB portion of sunlight lead to DNA damage of skin cells that over time increase our risks for skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma.

The UVA portion of sunlight also induces DNA mutations through oxidative stress on our cells, and one of the key features of UVA damage is shortening of our telomeres, a specific region of our cellular DNA that relate to aging and senescence. Telomere shortening is a signature cellular change associated with intrinsic aging, and the speed and degree of shortening is influenced by multiple genetic factors. The way UVA exposure induces oxidative damage and shortens our telomere over time leads to visible signs of aging such as deep wrinkles, brown spots, age spots, loss of translucency, loss of elasticity, and a sallow color. Therefore sunscreen and sun-smart behavior is really the best preventative measure against extrinsic, environmental induced aging of the skin.

Another important cellular process in our skin stimulated by sun exposure is the activation of enzymes in the dermis that breaks down collagen and elastin, called metalloproteinases (MMPs). These enzymes can be effectively regulated in part by promoting faster clearance of the damaged collagen and elastin in the skin by using an effective skincare routine.

A lot of people have difficulty or have been frustrated by not finding the right sunscreen. Instead of giving up on such an important element of preventative skin care, BIALife can help you to pick the right sunscreen or sunblock that best suits your skin type, needs and lifestyle.


4. Free Radicals

Free radicals generated through environmental pollution in addition to sun exposure are another source of aging. Studies have shown that women living in urban/ metropolitan areas with higher particulate air matters (e.g. pollution through fuel exhaust) age a lot more rapidly than women who live in less polluted cities, in terms of having more brown spots and fine lines. Free radical damage through smoking, excessive alcohol and drug abuse are other major factors that speed up chronological aging. We have seen examples of this phenomenon in twin studies, where the twin with a healthier lifestyle looks more youthful than their counterpart, even though they were born with identical genetic makeup. These examples of how free radicals affect our skin cells and our skin aging highlight the need to approach aging graceful with a combination of skincare, lifestyle and environmental awareness.


5. Muscle Use

Each time we have a thought or feeling cross our minds, our body responds naturally with a microexpression or a combination of expressions associated with that thought or feeling. When we are happy or sad or have other emotions, we create a more active and exaggerated expression that requires more facial muscle use. And as we emote, the facial muscles contract and relax, and this process leads to dynamic wrinkles. These lines and folds are what we sometimes call frown lines, crow’s feet or smile lines. With repetitive expressions, some of these will become etched-in lines on the face which we call static wrinkles. We can prevent exaggerated muscle use in office by injecting neuromodulators like Botox, Dysport, Xeomin or Jeuveau. Additionally, we can reinforce the skin’s strength and improve its’ elasticity using a combination of medical grade skin care personalized for unique skin needs so that our skin can better resist the signs of mechanical stress from facial muscles. A good skincare routine is the foundation for creating healthy skin – and this is what we do at BIALife.


6. Gravity

Gravity is the downward force that pulls your body towards the center of the earth, and similar to muscle use, is an additional mechanical stress that contributes towards the creation of wrinkles and folds. Gravity is constant and no one is immune from the downward pull of gravity on our body. As we lose elasticity, the effect of gravity becomes more apparent with the creation of sagging. Within the anatomic framework of what creates our facial shape, we have fat pads that help to maintain our facial shape and contour. Over time, the bulk of the fat held within these fat pads creeps towards the bottom of it, creating irregular contours such as sagging of the cheek, worsening of the nasolabial folds, and jowling. While there is nothing we can do to avoid gravitational forces on earth, we can give our skin strength and elasticity by keeping it healthy with a medical grade skincare routine. Using topical creams from a customized skin regimen that target our collagen and elastin to produce a healthier dermis capable of withstanding the downward pull, will help with minimizing wrinkles from this inevitable force.

With love, Janelle & Shasa

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