What are Wrinkles and Lines on the Skin?
Your skin is made up of three layers, namely, the epidermis or the outermost layer, the dermis is the second layer and the hypodermis which is the deepest layer. As we age, the supportive components of our skin such as elastic fibers, collagen fibers, and hyaluronic acid, a substance that maintains the skin texture get destroyed slowly. As a result, our skin becomes thinner, drier, and less elastic and starts to sag. Wrinkles begin to develop in the areas such as the forehead, and around the eyes and lips.
A wrinkle is a fold or crease in the skin. Wrinkles also called rhytids can be classified into three types as fine lines, medium wrinkles, and deep wrinkles. Fine lines develop as a result of changes in the epidermis layer. Medium wrinkles extend into the middle layer and the deep wrinkles also called furrows or folds, extend into the deeper layer.
Treatment for Aging
Aging, frequent exposure to the sun and smoking can increase the wrinkling of the skin. Skin wrinkling can be minimized by avoiding excessive exposure to the sun, using sunscreen daily and wearing protective clothing, quitting smoking and by leading a healthy lifestyle. Several topical creams and cosmetic techniques are available to get rid of the wrinkles. Early wrinkles are easily treated through chemical peel or laser resurfacing.
Chemical peeling: Chemical peeling causes an evenly controlled shedding of several layers of damaged cells. This exposes a new fresh layer of skin with a more even color and a smoother texture. In addition, the peel stimulates new cells to grow, thereby tightening the skin, which decreases wrinkles. Different chemical solutions such as glycolic acid, trichloroacetic acid (TCA), or salicylic acid may be used. The area to be treated is cleansed and then the chemical solution is applied. This is usually associated with a burning and stinging sensation for a short period of time. There are three types of peels, light, medium and deep peels. Light peels reduce the pore size and improve the texture of the damaged skin. Medium peels generally use trichloroacetic acid and penetrate the deeper layers of the skin to remove deep wrinkles and precancerous lesions. Deep peels use phenol and treat much deeper layers of skin and skin damage. When the old skin has peeled off, a new layer of skin with smoother texture and more even color is revealed.
Laser resurfacing: Laser skin resurfacing treatment helps to rejuvenate the skin. This is used on skin to treat wrinkles, blemishes, acne scars, lines around eyes and mouth, brown spots, and sun-damaged skin. It offers good results and can be used for all skin types. Carbon dioxide (CO2) and Erbium (Er: YAG) lasers are commonly used for laser resurfacing. CO2 lasers help in tightening the skin, whereas Er: YAG lasers help in resurfacing the skin. The laser light is absorbed by water present in the skin cells and immediately causes vaporization of the top layers of the skin. When the laser light passes over the skin, a mere 30 millionth of an inch of tissue is removed at a time. This allows the physician to treat only as deeply as needed, from removing wrinkles to merely refreshing overall skin appearance. After removing the damaged skin, new skin quickly re-grows in its place.
Botulinum toxin (Botox): BOTOX is a purified protein toxin produced by the clostridium botulinum bacteria. A few drops of BOTOX are injected with a tiny needle into the muscle that creates a wrinkle. When BOTOX is injected into a muscle, it blocks the nerve impulse from reaching that area, and as a result, the muscle weakens. As the muscle weakens, the skin overlying the muscle relaxes and the wrinkles in the skin gradually soften and often disappear.
Plastic surgery such as a facelift can be very helpful for selected patients.
Facelift: It is a surgery that treats visible signs of aging such as sagging, drooping, and wrinkled facial skin and neck. A facelift can be performed in conjunction with nose reshaping, forehead lift or eyelid surgery. An incision begins above the hairline at the temples, continues around the ear and ends in the lower scalp. Your surgeon may remove and lift some of the fatty tissue underlying the skin. The skin is pulled and the loose skin is removed. The underlying muscle and fascia are tightened. Excess body fat and sagging jowls are removed by suction using special equipment. The wound is then closed with sutures.