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Home > Condition & Ailment Index > 

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General Skin Wrinkles / Face Wrinkles / Lip Wrinkles Information
The skin is the largest organ in the body. It helps regulate body temperature, removes excess fluid and is the bodyís first defense against disease and infection, so it is important to take care of skin and keep it healthy. Unfortunately, the normal process of aging can reduce its elasticity and vibrancy, creating skin wrinkles and lines. As long as the skin is supple, any creasing in the skin immediately disappears as soon as an expression disappears from the face, but when skin thins and loses its elasticity, it retains the creases formed by facial expressions. Over time these creases deepen into wrinkles. Everyone experiences skin changes as they age, but the natural process of aging isnít the only thing that can change the way skin looks. Family history, genetics and behavioral choices all have a profound impact on the onset of aging-skin symptoms. American society places a premium on youthfulness, so the emotional ramifications of aging and the related effects on the skin have a profound impact on self-esteem. This is evidenced by the billions of dollars Americans spend each year on cosmetics and treatments to cover and reduce the signs of aging and wrinkles.

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Possible Causes of Skin Wrinkles / Face Wrinkles / Lip Wrinkles
As a person ages, skin undergoes significant changes that lead to wrinkles. The cells divide more slowly, and the inner layer of skin (the dermis) starts to thin. Fat cells beneath the dermis begin to atrophy (diminish). In addition, the ability of the skin to repair itself diminishes with age, so wounds are slower to heal. The thinning skin becomes vulnerable to injuries and damage.

The underlying network of elastin and collagen fibers, which provides scaffolding for the surface skin layers, loosens and unravels. Skin then loses its elasticity. When pressed, it no longer springs back to its initial position but instead sags and forms furrows. The sweat- and oil-secreting glands atrophy, depriving the skin of their protective water-lipid emulsions. The skin's ability to retain moisture then diminishes and it becomes dry and scaly. Frown lines (those between the eyebrows) and crow's feet (lines that radiate from the corners of the eyes) appear to develop because of permanent small muscle contractions. Habitual facial expressions also form characteristic lines. Gravity exacerbates the situation, contributing to the formation of jowls and drooping eyelids. (Eyebrows, surprisingly, move up as a person ages, possibly because of forehead wrinkles.)

Aging is inevitable, but there are factors that assist in increasing or reducing the rate in which our skin loses its elasticity and suppleness, many of which are under an individualís control. These factors include exposure to the sun, diet, nutritional intake, muscle tone, consistent or habitual facial expressions, stress, anxiety, skin care, exposure to pollutants, lifestyle choices, smoking and heredity.

  • Overexposure to Sunlight & Ultraviolet Radiation
    Of all the risk factors for aging skin, exposure to UV radiation from sunlight is by far the most serious. Indeed, the vast majority of undesirable consequences of aging skin occur in individuals who are repeatedly exposed to the sun, including outdoor workers (such as farmers, fishermen, construction workers, and lifeguards), outdoor enthusiasts and sunbathers. Ultraviolet Radiation, sunlight, and photoaging are the most important cause of prematurely aging skin (called photoaging) and skin cancers. Overall, exposure to ultraviolet (referred to as UVA or UVB) radiation emanating from sunlight accounts for about 90% of the symptoms of premature skin aging, and most of these effects occur by age 20. Even small amounts of UV radiation, which can occur during everyday activities in all seasons, trigger processes leading to skin wrinkles.

    Long-term repetitive and cumulative exposure to sunlight appears to be responsible for the vast majority of undesirable consequences of aging skin, including basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas. Melanoma is more likely to be caused by intense exposure to sunlight in early life.

    Sunlight consists of ultraviolet (referred to as UVA or UVB) radiation, which penetrates the layers of the skin. Both UVA and UVB rays cause damage leading to wrinkles, lower immunity against infection, aging skin disorders, and cancer. They appear to damage cells in different ways, however.

    UVB is the primary agent in sunburning and primarily affects the outer skin layers. UVB is most intense at midday when sunlight is brightest. Slightly over 70% of the yearly UVB dose is received during the summer and only 28% is received during the remainder of the year.

    UVA penetrates more deeply and efficiently. UVA's intensity also tends to be less variable both during the day and throughout the year than UVB's. For example, only about half of the yearly UVA dose is received during the summer months and the balance is spread over the rest of the year. UVA is also not filtered through window glass (as is UVB). Both UVA and UVB rays cause damage, including genetic injury, wrinkles, lower immunity against infection, aging skin disorders, and cancer, although the mechanisms are not yet fully clear.

    Even small amounts of UV radiation trigger the process that can cause wrinkles. Sunlight damages collagen fibers (the major structural protein in the skin) and causes accumulation of abnormal elastin (the protein that causes tissue to stretch).

    In response to this sun-induced elastin accumulation, large amounts of enzymes called metalloproteinases are produced. (One study indicated that when people with light to moderate skin color are exposed to sunlight for just five to 15 minutes, metalloproteinases remain elevated for about a week.)

    The normal function of these metalloproteinases is generally positive, to remodel the sun-injured tissue by manufacturing and reforming collagen. This is an imperfect process, however, and some of metalloproteinases produced by sunlight actually degrade collagen. The result is an uneven formation (matrix) of disorganized collagen fibers called solar scars. Repetition of this imperfect skin rebuilding over and over again causes wrinkles.

    An important event in this process is the over-production of oxidants, also called free radicals. These are unstable molecules that are normally produced by chemical processes in the body, a process called oxidation. With environmental assaults from sunlight, they are produced in excessive amounts and damage the body's cells and alter their genetic material. Oxidation may specifically contribute to wrinkling by activating the specific metalloproteinases that degrade connective tissue.

    There is a possible upside to wrinkles and sun exposure. A 2001 study reported that people with more wrinkles were less likely to develop basal cell carcinomas, even among high-risk groups. Some experts suggest that people prone to wrinkles may respond to sun exposure with biologic mechanisms that protect against basal cell carcinoma. More research is needed confirm this.

  • Childhood Sun Exposure: It is estimated that 50% to 80% of skin damage occurs in childhood and adolescence from intermittent, intense sun exposure that causes severe sunburns. In spite of this, many people still believe that a child's tan signifies health. Parents who are concerned about sun exposure, should apply sunscreen and insure their children are wearing protective clothing.

  • Tanning Salon Use
    People who regularly attend tanning salons or use tanning beds tend to have more wrinkles than those who do not. A 2002 study indicated that regular use significantly increases the risk for nonmelanoma skin cancers. Fair women under age 50 are at particular risk.

  • Smoking
    It is estimated that heavy smokers are almost five times as likely to have wrinkled facial skin than nonsmokers. In fact, heavy smokers in their 40s often have facial wrinkles more like those of nonsmokers in their 60s. Studies of identical twins have found smokers to have thinner skin (in some cases by as much as 40%), more severe wrinkles and more gray hair than their non-smoking twins. Cigarette smokers are more prone to skin cancers, including squamous cell carcinoma and giant basal cell carcinomas. Smoking produces oxygen-free radicals, which are known to accelerate wrinkles and aging skin disorders and increase the risk for nonmelanoma skin cancers. Studies also suggest that smoking and subsequent oxidation produce higher levels of metalloproteinases, which are enzymes associated with wrinkles.

  • Air Pollution
    Ozone, a common air pollutant, may be a particular problem for the skin. One study reported that it might deplete the amount of vitamin E in the skin; this vitamin is an important antioxidant.

  • Rapid Weight Loss
    If weight loss occurs to rapidly, the volume of fat cells that cushion the face are also decreased before chemicals in the skin can react. This not only makes a person look gaunt, but can cause the skin to sag.
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    Possible Symptoms of Skin Wrinkles / Face Wrinkles / Lip Wrinkles
    First signs if wrinkles on the face usually appear around the eyes and are known as "crows feet". These wrinkles occur first because of the delicate nature of the skin in these locations, the regular movement of the eye lids and the subsequent movement of the upper areas of the face. It is believed that women are at greater risk for wrinkles than men; however, evidence suggests that, given the same risk factors, men and women in the same age groups have comparable risks for skin photoaging. In fact, some studies report that men are more likely to develop nonmelanoma skin cancers.

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    Possible Lifestyle Changes for Skin Wrinkles / Face Wrinkles / Lip Wrinkles
    Eat a well-balanced diet that includes raw vegetables and fruits, whole grains, seeds, nuts and legumes. Drink at least two quarts of water each day to hydrate the skin and flush away toxins. Do not smoke. Not only does cigarette smoke dry the skin, but the consistent action of pursing the lips while inhaling from a cigarette causes deep wrinkles around the mouth. Avoid alcoholic beverages and caffeine, two products that dry out the skin and promote wrinkling. Protect skin from the sun by using sunscreen with an SPF factor of 15 or greater regardless of season or weather. Make exercise a way of life. Not only does regular exercise enhance mood and physical appearance, but it also increases circulation of the blood to the skin. Choose makeup and skin care products carefully. Use a mild cleanser and a moisturizing moisturizer daily, and avoid harsh soaps and alcohol-based toners.

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    In accordance with FDA regulation, we do not make any therapeutic claims for any Dietary Supplements in accordance with the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act.

    Beneficial Dietary Supplements
    MSM has been shown to prevent wrinkles of the skin and may be used as a lotion and an internal supplement.

    Essential Fatty Acids and Linolic Acid are good healers of the skin tissue. These are found in Primrose Oil.

    Vitamin A is needed for the development of new skin tissue and repair of damaged skin tissue.

    Vitamin B Complex is an anti-aging and anti-stress vitamin.

    Calcium, Magnesium and Zinc are important for skin strength and repair.

    Copper has been found to support collagen repair.

    Alpha Lipoic Acid, DMAE, Vitamin C, Ester and Tocotrienol provide an all-natural antioxidant program for skin protection and repair.

    Alfalfa, Borage and Burdock are good for the hair skin and nails.

    Aloe Vera soothes, heals and moisturizes skin.

    Comfrey hydrates dry skin when used topically.

    Witch Hazel has astringent and healing properties.

    REFERENCES: Prescription for Nutritional Healing, 3rd Edition, Phyllis Balch, CNC; James F. Balch, M.D.

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