There is a range of factors that contribute to skin ageing that is necessary to understand. Altering these factors can prevent and reduce not only wrinkles but the textural, tonal and colour changes of skin ageing. So what causes wrinkles?
The principal causes of wrinkle formation are sun damage, free radical damage & inflammation in the skin from diet, stress and skin irritants.
1. Sun Damage & Wrinkle Formation.
Ultraviolet radiation is the principal cause of facial aging and wrinkles. These harmful rays:
- break down collagen and elastin fibres
- damage cell DNA
- generate free radicals
- deplete the skin of antioxidants
- lower the immunity of the skin
- create inflammation
Cumulatively over the years, damage leads to wrinkling formation, pigmentation, changes to the skin texture and tone, surface capillaries, enlarging pores and potentially skin cancers.
2. Free radicals and wrinkles.
Free radicals are unstable molecules that are produced by our body cells every day as an integral part of providing energy for their survival. Once formed, these unstable molecules set off a cascade of destruction, called ‘free radical damage’: potentially damaging vital cell structures and triggering an inflammatory response.
- Sunlight, cigarette smoke and pollution speed up the free-radical formation.
- Free radical damage is a significant contributor to wrinkle formation as well as cancer, heart and degenerative diseases.
Anti- Oxidants Essential To Stop Free Radical Damage
Anti-oxidants are a diverse group of substances (found in the food we eat, products we put on our skin and produced by the body) that block free radical damage.
Antioxidants have anti-aging, anti-wrinkle and UV protection benefits. It is best to eat anti-oxidant rich foods and to put a mix of antioxidants on your skin each day for optimum protection.
3. Smoking Speeds Up Skin Aging.
A great reason to give up smoking it causes:
- Increased wrinkle formation.
- Yellow, irregular thickening of the skin.
- Increase in grey hair.
- And all of these effects are more pronounced in women than men!
3. Sugar Causes Wrinkles.
As well as contributing to diabetes, heart disease and a host of degenerative diseases SUGAR, and other high GI carbohydrates are significant contributors to wrinkle formation.
To be used as fuel in the body, these carbohydrates are broken down to glucose. Glucose in excess in the body binds to proteins- a process known as glycation. These glycated proteins thus form bridges between themselves, so instead of smaller flexible proteins you have stiff, inflexible structures, causing hardening of the arteries, and you guessed it wrinkles.
Excess sugar=glycalation=AGE = wrinkles
The end products of glycation – or Advanced Glycation End-products – are known as AGE for short. As it happens, AGE is what they do to our bodies and our looks.
4. Stress and wrinkles.
Stress in the body both physical and emotional cause changes to our hormonal system, adversely ageing by increasing inflammation at a cellular level.
In modern life, we are subjected to enormous amounts of mental stress with prolonged periods of elevated stress hormones, which cause inflammation, damage and premature ageing.
5. Air Pollution
Speeds up ageing by producing free radicals in the skin. In large amounts, free radicals damage cell membranes and interact with the genetic material. Free radicals contribute to the formation of wrinkles and other skin disorders.
5. Skin Irritants & Inflammation
It is well recognised that repeated small insults on the skin in the way of physical trauma, skin diseases and chemical trauma cause inflammation. Imperfect healing of this injury accumulates to increase ageing of the skin and wrinkle formation.
Many skin products contain ingredients that are known skin irritants. Alcohol, fragrances and essential oils added for fragrant qualities such as menthol, eucalyptus and citrus oils are all highly irritating for the skin.
Like sun damage, the impact of these may not be immediately visible, although some people develop instant breakouts, or allergy reactions, many people, have a micro-inflammation that cumulatively over time increased ageing of the skin.
In summary the answer to the question ‘what causes wrinkles?’ is multifactorial. However, there are measures to prevent them and treatments including anti-wrinkle injections and dermal fillers once they have formed.
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