As we age and expose our face to the sun, UV rays damage the elastic fibres in the skin and the inherent ‘snap back’ quality becomes impaired.
Wrinkles begin to appear – at first only when the face is in motion, usually as expression lines around the mouth, by the eyes (‘crow’s feet’) and on the cheeks. This occurs commonly in our thirties and forties, but the lines only appear when we talk, smile etc and we still look unlined when our faces are at rest. This is a good time to use muscle relaxing injections such as Botox. If you are a smoker, these signs will start from your mid twenties.
As ageing proceeds, the damage to the elastic fibres becomes more severe. Eventually the wrinkles produced when we move our faces persist, even when the face is at rest. The wrinkles have now been ‘ironed into’ the skin. At this stage, resurfacing procedures such as chemical peeling or laser treatment may be required. Often, non-destructive laser or radiofrequency devices are used to heat up the collagen deeper in the skin. This causes skin tightening, which can improve the appearance of wrinkles.
Eventually the face can be full of wrinkles and the choices of treatment then would lean heavily towards surgical re-draping and lifting procedures.