The Truth About Wrinkles & Fine Lines


Crow’s feet. Worry creases. Laugh lines. It doesn’t matter what you call them, wrinkles and fine lines are an inevitable sign of aging1. While there’s no escaping them, there are ways to slow their appearance by avoiding certain stimuli, and even ways to help reduce the appearance of the ones that are already there. But first, let’s look at what causes them.

What causes Fine Lines and Wrinkles?

Our precious skin is made up of 3 layers – the epidermis, dermis and subcutaneous tissue2. The natural collagen and elastin proteins within these layers are responsible for keeping our skin tight and toned. However, as we age they start to breakdown, and our skin starts to lose its ability to snap back into shape. This loss of moisture results in the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines3. Unfortunately we can’t control this part, but there are other factors that speed up the process.

Sun Exposure – Another huge culprit, the sun can be both friend and foe. Great for helping the skin produce vitamin D4, not so great when it comes to basking in it for hours on end. Prolonged UV exposure can lead to reduced skin elasticity and degradation of skin texture5.

Lifestyle – Leading a healthy one is important, so smoking is a big no-no6. Nicotine in cigarettes causes narrowing of the blood vessels in your skin. Less blood flow means less oxygen and other important nutrients your skin needs to keep its elasticity7.

Diet – Having a well-balanced diet is always a good idea, particularly when it comes to the health of your skin8.  Also, eating foods rich in antioxidant vitamin C can help rid the skin of free radicals (the unstable oxygen molecule that damages collagen)9.

Exercise – We all know the benefits of exercising daily, but when it comes to your skin, regular exercise gets the blood flowing. When the blood flows, more oxygen is present, which is incredible important in keeping skin healthy10.

Is There a Difference Between Fine Lines and Wrinkles?

Though fine lines and wrinkles are often synonymous with each other, there is a difference in level of severity.

Fine lines are generally considered to be the starting point of the much deeper wrinkle and they typically make their debut first, signifying the earliest signs of aging and/or sun damage. 

Wrinkles are considered to run a little deeper, and are caused mostly by muscle contractions under the skin and appear when you make facial expressions, like frowning, squinting or smiling. Over the course of our lives, those repeated movements create folds, or wrinkles11

Within the wrinkle category, there are actually 2 different kinds: dynamic and static. Dynamic wrinkles occur only with movement, i.e. when you smile, little wrinkles (or “crow’s feet”) appear on the outer edges of the eyes. If those crow’s feet stick around after you stop smiling (and your face is resting), that’s considered a static wrinkle12.

Preventing Fine Lines and Wrinkles

As we discussed, keeping your body healthy and happy is the best way to prevent wrinkles and fine lines. So not smoking, exercising and eating a healthy diet will definitely help. Also, if you want to enjoy the great outdoors with minimal wrinkle risk, never leave home without the sunblock13. Using sunglasses, hats and protective clothing are also recommended.

How to Treat Fine Lines and Wrinkles

So, collagen breakdown + repeated muscle movements = wrinkles and fine lines. What do you do now? Everyone’s skin is different and there are many different stages of care. Whether forehead wrinkles or under eye wrinkles are your concern, there are a number of treatment options available to help minimize their appearance.

Retinoids – Moisturizers, creams and serums that contain these ingredients (types of Vitamin A) are believed by many dermatologists to be some of the best in helping tame the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Though they can initially cause redness and peeling, the skin shows visible improvement after the peeling stage. The challenge with retinoids is that for individuals with sensitive skin, these ingredients can be too irritating, cause discomfort and  redness.15

Exfoliation – Doing this regularly can help slough away dead skin cells, improving the skin’s texture and moisture levels. Exfoliating regularly can also help keep skin looking fresh16.  View Dr. Rivers' Glycolic Peel for safe exfoliation on sensitive skin here.

Antioxidants - Topical antioxidants have long shown to boost healthy cell growth in the epidermis which works to visibly smooth lines and wrinkle17,18. However it should be noted that all antioxidants are not created equal. This is because they have varying rates of oxygenation induced decay. An antioxidant which rapidly decays when exposed to oxygen is of little use in skin care. However, some manufacturers have found a solution in "phosphate form antioxidants". These are available in vitamin C and vitamin E. It takes longer for oxygen to degrade these antioxidant forms meaning they are active on the skin for a longer duration19

Chemical Peels – There are many different kinds of peels out there – alpha hydroxy, beta hydroxy, phenol, etc. – and they all work by using a chemical solution to remove the outer layer of old skin. The new skin that surfaces after healing appears smoother and less wrinkled20. This option is best performed by a doctor, however there are milder versions available for at-home treatment.

Laser Treatments – Also performed in a doctor’s office, laser resurfacing treatments can help stimulate the skin’s production of collagen, helping it appear fuller or “plumped up”21. This option usually only requires one treatment and recovery can happen in as little as four days.  

Peptides - Peptides are protein-based compounds specifically designed to be used in topical anti-aging formulations. Despite their intent, these are rarely used in skincare as they are expensive, difficult to source, and challenging to formulate with. 

Injections – Fillers, such as Botox, work by relaxing the muscles that produce lines and wrinkles around the mouth, eyes and forehead. Results typically last several months and must be repeated to sustain improvement22. A doctor’s visit is required here as well.

To find out the best possible treatment option for your skin, book a visit with a dermatologist. They can help you determine what you should use, or what procedure is best for you, based on the severity of your wrinkles and fine lines.


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  1. What Causes Fine Lines and Wrinkles?
  2. Is There a Difference Between Fine Lines and Wrinkles?
  3. Preventing Fine Lines and Wrinkles
  4. How to Treat Fine Lines and Wrinkles