The Anatomy Of A Wrinkle

No one likes wrinkles. We know we get them as we age. But why? And how?

A key part in the formation of a wrinkle is inflammation, which causes elastin and collagen to deteriorate and eventually collapse. “We know that free radicals are responsible for weakening collagen and elastin in the tissue. When this happens, the skin has less of a healthy support system, making it more susceptible to developing lines and wrinkles,” says Palm Beach, FL, dermatologist Dr. Layne Nisenbaum. So what's the reason for wrinkles? “A byproduct of inflammation is free radicals because the electrons that are generated cannot be properly matched up,” Dr. Nisenbaum says. The sun is enemy number-one in the inflammation game as it causes a chronic cycle of inflammation (due to the free radicals and oxidative stress created), which can lead to premature aging, laxity, crinkling of the skin and even skin cancers, in some cases.

The anatomy of a wrinkle:
Natural protection. Within 10 to 15 minutes of exposure to any type of oxidative stress (sun, smoking, pollution, etc.), natural antioxidants in the skin are activated.

Free radical release. About 15 to 20 minutes later, the cells are affected as the natural antioxidants are exhausted and free radicals are released.

Damage sets in. As free radicals move closer to the cells, genes are activated and damage slowly begins to occur. Free radicals essentially are damagers or stressors, which the body recognizes and tries to attack via an inflammatory response.