Apr 29 2011
Although sun damage is the major cause of ageing and wrinkles, there are a number of other influences.
Movement and expression lines
Many wrinkles and furrows are caused by exaggerated expression lines. As you watch people speak it is easy to see how they develop expression lines.
Both horizontal and vertical lines on the forehead are due to frowning, and it is interesting that people even frown when they are speaking on the phone, when no-one can see them. Wrinkles around the mouth are very common in smokers. This is partly related to the movement of smoking and partly related to the effects of nicotine. This is obviously completely preventable.
In order to minimize movement and expression lines, you can learn to control the way you speak. It is often helpful to watch your own facial expressions in a mirror while you are talking on the phone. This way you can privately observe your expressions and learn to modify them.
Wrinkles around the eyes readily develop through squinting and smiling. Because the skin around the eyes is so fine, wrinkling occurs very easily. Squinting can be avoided by wearing ultraviolet A blocking sunglasses such as Rayban and Polaroid Glarefoil during all outdoor activities and while driving. These sunglasses will also protect the skin around the eyes from the ageing effects of ultraviolet A light, and will minimize the risk of developing cataracts on the eyes themselves. Regular sunglasses do not block out ultraviolet A rays unless they are labeled as providing 100 per cent ultraviolet protection.
Sleeping on one side of the body can create vertical lines which are most pronounced on the forehead. Unless the skin is sun damaged these sleep lines do not contribute significantly to ‘ageing’
Overweight people often have more youthful and less wrinkled skin. Sudden or rapid weight loss often leads to the loss of fatty tissues in the cheeks, allowing the skin to be pulled down further by gravity. It is best to lose weight slowly and not to overdo it.
Smokers tend to have noticeable lines around their lips, but elsewhere their skin also ages prematurely. Nicotine contributes to skin damage, although the reasons why remain unclear.
Loss of oestrogens during menopause seems to contribute to premature ageing of the skin, although the reason for this is not well understood. There is currently a trend to prescribe oestrogens for menopausal women to prevent osteoporosis and heart disease, and this may also help prevent ageing of the skin. At this stage, however, there is insufficient data to validate the association with premature ageing.
Gravity pulls the skin downwards, creating jowls around the jaw-line, hooding and bags around the eyelids. The effects of gravity are more pronounced in sun-damaged skin.
True biological ageing
Even areas of the body which have never seen the sun alter over time. The skin becomes thinner, more transparent and the effects of movement and gravity cause sagging and creases.