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Wrinkles are the main visible characteristic of skin ageing.
Wrinkles are a few micrometres to a few millimetres deep and form deep furrows on the surface of the skin.
There are different types of wrinkles: expression wrinkles and static wrinkles.
These depressions are the result of a decrease in the number of fibroblasts in the skin.
Fibroblasts are key star-shaped skin cells that create supporting fibres (like collagen and elastin) and water-retaining molecules such as hyaluronic acid.
Collagen ensures skin firmness, elastin its elasticity, and hyaluronic acid its hydration.
Think of your skin like a network of fibres that constitute its structure. This network floats in a kind of gel, where the fibroblasts cells continue to thrive and multiply.
Over the years, the production of fibroblasts decreases and their density in our skin diminishes. Since fibroblasts are the building blocks of elastin and collagen, our skin is also left with less of these essential cells, which are responsible for the youthful bounciness and elasticity of our skin.
The quantity of hyaluronic acid is also reduced. This macromolecule, which normally grows in size with water, no longer fulfils the role of plumping the skin.
In addition, under the influence of UV radiation, fibroblasts are disrupted and their capacity for production is damaged. The elastic and support fibres produced are then of poor quality and fragmented. They no longer play their supportive role properly. What's more, prolonged sun exposure tends to thicken our skin and cause wrinkles to appear more visibly because the wrinkled skin that's folded is also thicker.
Expression wrinkles form the earliest. They're the result of repeatedly contracting our facial muscles. Over the years and under the influence of environmental factors, the skin loses its elasticity, causing expression lines to eventually become permanent.
Your eyelid's blinking muscles are responsible for the appearance of crow's feet (the wrinkles at the corners of the eyes).
The muscles we use to smile deepen the nasolabial fold the more they're contracted, connecting the wings of the nose to the outer corners of the lips.
The frequent raising of the eyebrows is the reason for horizontal wrinkles on the forehead. Frowning, on the other hand, manifests the famous lion's wrinkle (the vertical fine line between the two eyebrows).
Static wrinkles are thinner and are caused by skin tissues that start sagging due to collagen loss and the pull of gravity. They can be found everywhere, even in areas that aren't exposed to the sun. Initially, they disappear when you touch your skin with your finger, then become more pronounced over the years until they turn into persistent furrows.