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Wrinkles

 

Wrinkles are creases in the skin. They are also called rhytids.

Considerations

Most wrinkles come from aging changes in skin. Aging of the skin, hair and nails is a natural process. There is little you can do to slow down the rate of skin aging, but many things in the environment will speed it up.

Frequent exposure to sunlight results in early skin wrinkles and dark areas (liver spots). It also increases the chances of getting skin cancer. Exposure to cigarette smoke can also make the skin wrinkle sooner.

Causes

 

Common causes of wrinkles include:

  • Genetic factors (family history)
  • Normal aging changes in the skin
  • Smoking
  • Sun exposure

 

Home Care

 

Stay out of the sun as much as possible to limit skin wrinkles. Wear hats and clothing that protect your skin and use sunscreen when you are outside. Avoid smoking cigarette and passive smoking.

 

When to Contact a Medical Professional

 

Wrinkles are not usually a cause for concern unless they occur at an early age. Talk to your health care provider if you think that your skin is getting wrinkled faster than normal for someone your age. You may need to see a skin specialist (dermatologist) or a plastic surgeon.

 

What to Expect at Your Office Visit

 

Your health care provider will ask questions, such as:

  • When did you first notice that your skin seemed more wrinkled than normal?
  • Has it changed in any way?
  • Has a skin spot become painful or does it bleed?
  • What other symptoms are you having?

Your provider will examine your skin. You may need a skin lesion biopsy if you have any abnormal growths or skin changes.

These are some treatments for wrinkles:

  • Tretinoin (Retin-A) or creams containing alpha-hydroxy acids
  • Chemical peels or laser resurfacing work well for early wrinkles
  • Creams with growth factors may make fine lines and wrinkles look better
  • Botulinum toxin (Botox) may be used to correct some of the wrinkles that are caused by overactive facial muscles
  • Plastic surgery for age-related wrinkles (for example, a facelift)

 

 

References

Habif TM. Light-related diseases and disorders of pigmentation. In: Habif TP, ed. Clinical Dermatology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Mosby; 2009:chap 19.

Rohrer TE, Wesley NO, Glogau R, et al. Cosmetic surgery. In: Bolognia JL, Jorizzo JL, Schaffer JV, et al, eds. Dermatology. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Mosby; 2012:chap 152.

 
  • Skin layers

    Skin layers - illustration

    The skin is the largest organ of the body. The skin and its derivatives (hair, nails, sweat and oil glands) make up the integumentary system. One of the main functions of the skin is protection. It protects the body from external factors such as bacteria, chemicals, and temperature. The skin contains secretions that can kill bacteria and the pigment melanin provides a chemical pigment defense against ultraviolet light that can damage skin cells. Another important function of the skin is body temperature regulation. When the skin is exposed to a cold temperature, the blood vessels in the dermis constrict. This allows the blood which is warm, to bypass the skin. The skin then becomes the temperature of the cold it is exposed to. Body heat is conserved since the blood vessels are not diverting heat to the skin anymore. Among its many functions the skin is an incredible organ always protecting the body from external agents.

    Skin layers

    illustration

  • Facelift - series

    Facelift - series

    Presentation

    • Skin layers

      Skin layers - illustration

      The skin is the largest organ of the body. The skin and its derivatives (hair, nails, sweat and oil glands) make up the integumentary system. One of the main functions of the skin is protection. It protects the body from external factors such as bacteria, chemicals, and temperature. The skin contains secretions that can kill bacteria and the pigment melanin provides a chemical pigment defense against ultraviolet light that can damage skin cells. Another important function of the skin is body temperature regulation. When the skin is exposed to a cold temperature, the blood vessels in the dermis constrict. This allows the blood which is warm, to bypass the skin. The skin then becomes the temperature of the cold it is exposed to. Body heat is conserved since the blood vessels are not diverting heat to the skin anymore. Among its many functions the skin is an incredible organ always protecting the body from external agents.

      Skin layers

      illustration

    • Facelift - series

      Presentation

    A Closer Look

     

    Self Care

     

       

      Review Date: 12/2/2014

      Reviewed By: Richard J. Moskowitz, MD, dermatologist in private practice, Mineola, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

      The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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