Fine Lines & Wrinkles

Fine lines and wrinkles are one of the five key signs of skin aging.

90 percent of skin aging occurs from the sun.

Smoking has a negative effect as well, adding an additional free radical stress to the skin. Our skin is normally made up of 80 percent collagen, with a fine meshwork of elastic fibers that make up about 4 percent of the dry weight (weight without water) of the skin.

Fine lines and wrinkles occur because the sun damages the natural architecture of your skin. So, what exactly goes wrong in the skin that needs repairing?

When the sun hits your skin over long periods of time, it stimulates genes in the skin to digest away the natural, collagen-rich skin or dermis (the skin layer underneath the surface), and replace it with skin that’s filled with abnormal clumps of elastic tissue. This elastic tissue is called solar elastosis, and it is not functional the way normal elastic fibers are. Healthy elastic fibers act like rubber bands to allow the skin to stretch and recoil. Solar elastotic fibers, on the other hand, are like rubber tires, not rubber bands. They take up space in the skin without providing any of the qualities usually associated with healthy skin. As a result, fine lines and wrinkles become more and more visible, and the skin gradually loses volume.

A microscope slide of normal sun-protected skin shows collagen in red and elastic fibers in green.
Sun-damaged skin from the same individual showing how the sun destroys the normal arrangement of collagen and elastin in the skin.
Sun-protected skin at the top, sun-damaged skin at the bottom

Wrinkles As Signs of Skin Aging

Before & After

To repair the changes in the sun-damaged skin, you can use topical products such as retinoids (Retin-A and its cousins), as well as alpha-hydroxy acids (glycolic acid).

Other treatment options to repair sun-damaged skin include: