Aging Hair/Skin Problems

What Causes Wrinkles?
Age. With age, it seems everything slows. This includes the body’s ability to make collagen (keeps skin firm). With less collagen, the skin loses elastin (makes skin resilient) and hyaluronic acid (allows skin to retain water). By our 40s and 50s, the skin has lost firmness, spring, and moisture. We see fine lines and wrinkles.

Pale skin tends to wrinkle earlier than dark skin. People with pale skin also tend to develop more wrinkles and fine lines. When lines develop in dark skin, the lines tend to be deeper.

Constant muscle movement. Lines and wrinkles may be deep in areas with lots of muscle movement, such as on the forehead or around the mouth.

Sun, tanning beds, and sun lamps. Lying out, using a tanning bed or sun lamp, and even going outdoors without sunscreen cause wrinkles. Each time you do any one of these, you expose your skin to harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. Exposure to UV rays accelerates the breakdown of collagen and elastin, which causes many people to see wrinkles and fine lines before they reach their 40s and 50s. UV rays also can cause skin cancer.

Smoking. People who smoke expose their skin to toxins that accelerate the aging of their skin. And, the repeat puckering to inhale can cause deep lines around the lips. Frequent squinting to avoid getting smoke in one’s eyes can cause noticeable crow’s feet.

woman on beach

Tanning accelerates skin aging, causing premature age spots and wrinkles.

At-home Wrinkle Remedies
The following can help diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles:

Use moisturizer developed especially for the face. This plumps up fine lines, which makes them less noticeable. Moisturizer is the secret ingredient in many anti-aging products that promise fewer wrinkles.

Wear sunscreen every day, even on overcast days. This helps to protect your skin from further damage. Apply sunscreen to all skin that will not be covered by clothing. For best results, you should apply sunscreen 20 minutes before going outside. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends using a sunscreen that offers a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30 or greater and broad-spectrum (UVA/UVB) protection.

Repair skin at night. Gently washing your face every night and then applying a product that contains retinol, followed by a good facial moisturizer. The retinol can stimulate the skin to make collagen, and the moisturizer seals in water.

Stop smoking. Many people notice significant improvements after they stop smoking.

Eat a healthy diet. A diet rich in fresh vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and other healthy foods can lead to healthier skin. Be sure to include some protein in your diet. Our skin is made of protein, so some protein is necessary for healthy skin.

About Do-It-Yourself Procedures
Two procedures that dermatologists use to treat wrinkles are microdermabrasion and chemical peels. Today, at-home versions of these treatments are available. To help ensure safety, the active ingredients in these at-home treatments are much less potent. Less-potent ingredients produce less dramatic results. People with very fine lines may see younger-looking skin.

At-home products generally contain less-potent ingredients, but improper use can cause problems. If you have questions about how to use an at-home product or concerns about the safety of a product, be sure to talk with your dermatologist before trying the product.

About Non-prescription Wrinkle Creams, Lotions, and Serums
Some people say they see results with regular use. These people tend to have fine lines that sit near the surface of the skin. Active ingredients that may diminish wrinkles include:

  • Retinol

  • Alpha hydroxy acid

  • Salicylic acid

Non-prescription products generally work by sloughing off the outermost layer of skin or hydrating the skin to plump it. Wrinkles return when you stop using the product.

Keep in mind that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers these products to be cosmetics. This means the products are required to undergo clinical trials as are drugs. Advertising claims such as “100% of women noticed results” often means that the product was given to a group of women, and when asked about the results, all of the women said they noticed a difference.

Wrinkle Treatments Dermatologists Offer
Thanks to ongoing research, dermatologists offer several treatments that can diminish the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and even deep lines. These treatments are:

  • Prescription-strength wrinkle creams, serums, and lotions

  • Botulinum rejuvenation (Botox® and Dysport™)

  • Chemical peel

  • Dermabrasion or microdermabrasion

  • Fillers

  • Lasers

  • Plasma skin resurfacing

  • Radiofrequency

More Information
10 Questions to Ask Before a Cosmetic Procedure
Age-Fighting Topicals
Cosmetic Procedures

American Academy of Dermatology, “New Study Evaluates Effectiveness of Vitamins for the Treatment of Sun-Damaged Skin.” News release issued April 12, 2010. Last accessed May 21, 2010.


American Academy of Dermatology, “Saving Face 101: How to Customize Your Skin Care Routine With Your Skin Type.” News release issued November 10, 2009. Last accessed May 21, 2010.


American Academy of Dermatology. “Enhanced Cosmetic Procedures Plus New At-Home Treatments Give Patients More Options.” News release issued November 13, 2008. Last accessed May 21, 2010.


American Academy of Dermatology. Keep Father Time From Marching On: New Laser Treatments Offer Gentle and Effective Skin Resurfacing in a Flash.” News release issued February 3, 2008. Last accessed May 21, 2010.


American Academy of Dermatology, “Skin Care Tips From the Top: Dermatologists Share Their Secrets for Maintaining Healthy Skin, Hair And Nails.” News release issued November 8, 2007. Last accessed May 21, 2010.


American Academy of Dermatology. “Hormones and the Skin: The Role Hormones Play As We Age.” News release issued October 18, 2006. Last accessed May 21, 2010.


American Academy of Dermatology. “Plump Up the Volume.” News release issued July 28, 2006. Last accessed May 21, 2010.


American Academy of Dermatology, “The Right Filler is Key to Successful Treatment.” News Release issued March 3, 2006. Lasted accessed May 21, 2010.


Sadick, N. “Structural Approach to Aesthetic Rejuvenation.” In: Hirsch, Sadick, and Cohen. Aesthetic Rejuvenation. China, McGraw-Hill Companies; 2009. 17 – 30.

All content solely developed by the American Academy of Dermatology

hypodermic needle

For Your Safety
You should never self-inject fillers. Serious side effects can occur, including infection and permanent scars. Fillers should only be injected in a medical doctor’s office.





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Page last updated 6/17/10

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