Everyone ages differently, with some people seeing the effects of time’s passage early in life and others experiencing facial changes as late as middle age—or even older. That said, it’s perfectly normal to notice wrinkles (also known by the medical term “rhytides”) from as early as a person’s 20s. But if you’re bothered by these wrinkles or feel self-conscious about the way they look, there are cosmetic methods that can help to address them. The most popular such method, based on annual numbers of applications, is BOTOX®. Appleton, WI’s Excelin Medical Spa team regularly receives questions from patients who want to learn more about what can be done to smooth out their wrinkles—and whether BOTOX® is a good choice for them.
Being aware of how aging occurs and the various ways skin changes manifest can give you a better idea of the measures you can take to target your current trouble spots and prevent them from becoming worse. Telltale signs of aging sometimes seem to appear overnight, but, in reality, a number of complex processes and interactions occur over time, gradually wearing down the skin from the inside out.
Different changes are generally associated with each decade, but it all starts in the 20s. First, there is a decline in the production of connective fibers that provide structure, elasticity, strength, and firmness to the skin. Adding to that, the layer of fat under the skin thins out. If that weren’t bad enough, new skin cell production slows, and there is less hyaluronic acid (a moisture-retaining substance in the skin) to be found. Glands secrete less of the oils essential for skin lubrication. All of this, of course, means saying farewell to a supple, glowing complexion.
Dynamic Wrinkles/Dynamic Expression Lines
Crow’s feet, horizontal forehead lines, elevens, bunny lines—what do these have in common? (Other than being a nuisance, for many.) These are all signs of aging that are the result of facial muscle motion. We convey many complex emotions through our facial expressions as we go through daily life—from happiness and surprise to anger and sadness. Habitual facial movements—made by smokers puckering for a puff, for example—can also contribute to a wrinkled appearance.
These repetitive movements of the facial muscles take a toll. Each time we smile, squint, or move our face a certain way causes lines to appear on the skin. These lines tend to go away when the muscles are at rest, but they can become increasingly pronounced over time. When we get older, the skin doesn’t spring back to its original position as easily. The lines become more severe and eventually permanently etched in.
Unlike dynamic wrinkles, static wrinkles are noticeable even when the face is at rest. Gravity pulling on the skin and underlying fat, a loss of fat and moisture in the skin, and the breakdown collagen and elastin molecules are all factors that contribute to these types of wrinkles. Excess sun exposure, smoking, genetic factors, and a poor diet are other common causes.
Wrinkle Folds/Gravitational Folds
When our face is no longer able to hold up skin and fat, these tissues can droop downward and form deep folds and grooves. In addition, tissues can appear deflated, which leads to “sunken” or “pinched in” areas.
BOTOX® and related botulinum toxin-based neuromodulators are the most popular method of combatting wrinkles in the world—but because they focus on relaxing muscles, they work only to smooth out dynamic wrinkles. For static wrinkles, wrinkle folds, or volume loss in the mid-face region, dermal fillers like Juvederm® are a better option. There are also treatments that use energy to promote renewed collagen production.
The Excelin Medical Spa dermatology team is passionate about all aspects of cosmetic skin care. Anyone interested in learning more about wrinkles, BOTOX®, and other treatments can contact the Appleton, WI, practice directly by calling 920-931-0022 or submitting an online contact form.