April 21, 2011 Wrinkles are creases, folds or ridges in the skin. Most commonly, wrinkles appear as we get older. However, they may develop after our skin has been immersed in water for a long time. The first wrinkles to appear on our face tend to occur as a result of facial expressions. Sun damage, smoking, dehydration, some medications, as well as a number of other factors may also cause wrinkles to develop. Wrinkles are caused by a combination of factors — some you can control, others you can’t: Wrinkles are an inevitable part of the natural aging process. As we become older our skin gets thinner, drier and less elastic. Our skin’s ability to protect itself from damage is also reduced as we age. Eventually, wrinkles, creases and lines form on our skin. Apart from the factors mentioned above, a person’s genetic makeup also influences how wrinkly we become, and when and where wrinkles start appearing Age. As you get older, your skin naturally becomes less elastic and more fragile. Decreased production of natural oils dries your skin and makes it appear more wrinkled. Fat in the deeper layers of your skin diminishes. This causes loose, saggy skin and more-pronounced lines and crevices. Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light. Ultraviolet radiation, which speeds the natural aging process, is the primary cause of early wrinkling. Exposure to UV light breaks down your skin’s connective tissue — collagen and elastin fibers, which lie in the deeper layer of skin (dermis). Without the supportive connective tissue, your skin loses strength and flexibility. Skin then begins to sag and wrinkle prematurely. Smoking. Smoking can accelerate the normal aging process of your skin, contributing to wrinkles. This may be due to changes in the blood supply to your skin. Repeated facial expressions. Facial movements and expressions, such as squinting or smiling, lead to fine lines and wrinkles. Each time you use a facial muscle, a groove forms beneath the surface of the skin. As skin ages, it loses its flexibility and is no longer able to spring back in place. These grooves then become permanent features on your face. Dr. Lawrence Jaeger is a well known and respected board certified dermatologist and dermatologic surgeon who is the medical director of Advanced Dermatology Associates of New York. Dr Lawrence Jaeger specializes in all aspect of medical, cosmetic and surgical dermatology.