fine lines

Knowing the Difference Between Fine Lines and Wrinkles

Over a lifetime, our experiences begin to show themselves on our faces. Our skin loses moisture and elasticity, and lines start to form when the fat under the surface of our skin breaks down. But long before we get there, we are inundated with products that promise to rescue us from fine lines and wrinkles. We aren't shaming the aging process, only to say that it's okay to prolong our skin's youthful appearance for as long as possible.  

But what are fine lines and wrinkles? The two are always paired together or used interchangeably but are they the same things? 

Related: All About Exfoliation: How Much is Too Much?

What are Fine Lines? 

These will likely show up first as your skin begins to age. Fine lines are superficial, meaning they're only as deep as the top layer of your skin. Their appearance is subtle at first, hence the name 'fine,' and can form as early as your twenties. 

Their formation doesn't necessarily cause alarm at first. They show up near your eyes and mouth as a result of smiling, laughing, and frowning. In addition to laugh lines, you may also notice fine lines as a crease between your eyebrows and furrows on your forehead.  

As more time passes, fine lines get deeper and more pronounced. Our body naturally decreases its production of collagen and elastin, so our skin can't smooth back out after repetitive facial expressions. Deep lines have a hardening appearance on the face.

What are Wrinkles?

Fine lines allowed to deepen, become wrinkles. They tend to form in particular places on your face where you form the most frequent expressions - at the corners of your mouth and eyes, vertical lines between your eyebrows, and horizontal lines across your foreheads. Anywhere your face loses fat and volume is prone to wrinkles and sag. Wrinkles lead to deep and permanent creases. 

There are two kinds of wrinkles:

  • Dynamic wrinkles - show only when you are making a facial expression like laughing, smiling, or frowning, then they disappear.
  • Static wrinkles - show all the time, even when you aren't making any facial expressions at all. Over time, dynamic wrinkles become static ones. 

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Causes of Fine Lines and Wrinkles

We have already talked about repetitive facial expressions and age as natural causes of fine lines and wrinkles. But there are other reasons for their formation. 

Causes of Fine Lines

  • Fair skin. People with fair skin are at greater risk of fine lines and wrinkles without adequate sun protection.  
  • Drinking from a straw. The puckering of your lips to hold the straw causes fine lines all around your mouth.
  • Repetitive facial expressions. Smiling, laughing, frowning, and even squinting.
  • Genetics. Your skin's resilience and whether or not you develop fine lines have to do with your genes. 
  • Smoking. Smoking hinders blood flow to your skin, and holding the cigarette between your lips causes fine lines to develop around your mouth.  
  • Sun exposure. Too much UV exposure without adequate protection will cause your skin tissue to weaken, sag, and cause long-term skin damage. 

Causes of Wrinkles

  • Fine lines. Fine lines that deepen can become wrinkles.
  • Age. You produce less elastin and collagen as you age, which causes your skin to sag and become less supple.  
  • Environmental factors. These factors include sun damage, genetics, dehydrated skin, and even a lack of proper skincare.

Related: DIY Exfoliating Masks and Scrubs

How You Can Prevent Fine Lines and Wrinkles

If you don't yet see fine lines or wrinkles on your face, there are a few things you can do to prevent them or at least prolong their appearance. 

  • Wear sun protection. A study demonstrated that wearing sunscreen regularly can slow down the skin aging process. Use between SPF 30 to 50 every day for maximum protection, even on cloudy days. Your sunscreen should contain at least one physical blocker like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. And when you must be out in direct sunlight, wear sunglasses, a wide-brim hat, and sleeves to cover your arms.
  • Moisturize your skin. Moisturizers will hydrate and nourish your skin as you age. Dry skin is more prone to wrinkles. Moisturizers that contain hyaluronic acid and vitamin C are remarkably effective.  
  • Use retinoids. Retinoids, also called retinol, come from vitamin A and have been found to boost skin regeneration and increase collagen production. They improve the overall look and feel of your skin.   
  • Stay hydrated. Water is vital to every function in your body, so drink plenty of water. A study showed that the more water participants drank, the more hydrated their skin. This study demonstrated that water consumption was linked to healthy skin. 
  • Sleep on your back. When people sleep on their front or side they are prone to compression forces, which cause wrinkles to form—sleeping on your back remedies this. Silk pillowcases are also better for your skin (and hair) than cotton ones.
  • Relax your face. Holding tension in your face will cause the premature formation of fine lines and wrinkles. So relax the muscles of your face with yoga, meditation, mindfulness, regular exercise, and deep breathing exercises. 
  • Don't smoke. Smoking harms your collagen and elastin and causes it to sag prematurely, and the process of holding the cigarette in your lips causes lines to form all around your mouth.

How to Treat Fine Lines and Wrinkles

Since fine lines are superficial, they are easily treated. Prevention is the way to go, but if you already have a few fine lines, here are a few things you can do. 

  • Keep up with all of your prevention practices. It will keep you from developing more fine lines or the ones you already have from getting worse. 
  • Invest in skincare treatments. We say invest because they may cost you something, but they will be well worth the costs. Consider dermal fillers, Botox, and exfoliating treatments. 
  • Use high-quality skincare products. Find products that are specifically formulated for your skin type as well as any issues you may have. Ensure you use a moisturizer every day.
  • Use retinol. Find an anti-aging cream that contains retinoids (retinol) to encourage your skin to regenerate and exfoliate. 
  • Chemical peels. Peels use gentle acids to clarify your skin and cause exfoliation. They remove dead skin cells and cause the skin to heal and renew itself.

Related: The Benefits of Chemical Peels on the Body

Final Thoughts on Fine Lines and Wrinkles

Fine lines and wrinkles are not the same things. Unhealthy or careless practices can cause fine lines to appear prematurely, but they can also show up despite your best efforts. Some fine lines and wrinkles are unavoidable, but you may prevent or delay their appearance with a bit of diligence and guidance. 

Did you know you can have a professional strength chemical peel at home? We bring the spa experience to your home! Visit Perfect Image to learn more. 

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