Lines vs. Wrinkles: What You Need to Know

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Lines vs. Wrinkles: What You Need to Know featured image

We often hear the phrase “lines and wrinkles,” as though the two are one in the same. The fact is, lines and wrinkles are as unique as the factors that cause them. Here, we’ve unraveled the differences behind these two major agers and narrowed down the most appropriate treatments for each to help you achieve your most youthful look ever.

Small and fine, a line tends to occur from repeated muscle movement that etches a slight mark into the skin. “Those who frequently smile, frown or squint develop fine lines earlier than those who don’t make these facial expressions as often,” says celebrity aesthetician Dangene. “When skin is young it snaps back into place, but as we get older it loses elasticity, so that ability to spring back becomes harder and less frequent, causing more permanent lines.”

Where are they located? Underneath and around the corners of the eyes; on the forehead; on the cheeks; between the brows; at the sides of the mouth

Thicker and more dramatic in nature, wrinkles are noticeable folds, ridges and creases in skin. Wrinkles can be caused by age, collagen and elastin breakdown, too much sun exposure, medications and dry, dehydrated skin. “Wrinkles are different from lines in that they are more diffuse throughout the face, however, lines can become more prominent,” says San Francisco facial plastic surgeon David W. Kim, MD.

Where are they located? Almost anywhere on the face; on the neck & chest; on the arms & hands

When a line turns into a wrinkle:
A line can turn into a wrinkle, especially when left untreated. New York dermatologist Amy Wechsler, MD, explains that a fine line occasionally deepens over time, turning into a wrinkle due to further breakdown of collagen. “Just like how a line can develop into a wrinkle, a wrinkle can reverse into a line when it’s reduced with the right treatment, making it less apparent,” says Dangene.

The secret weapon:
Chances are, you probably already use a moisturizer. “The most important thing you can do is stay hydrated, which prevents the formation of lines and wrinkles,” says Dangene. “I have a saying, ‘Never let a line come, never have a wrinkle.’” That’s because hydrated skin is plump and smooth and lines and wrinkles are less obvious. Using sunblock and not smoking are the best ways to prevent and minimize them. “A good moisturizer is the best anti-ager. It will prevent against chapping and dryness and keep skin looking smooth so that it appears youthful and dewy,” says Dr. Wechsler.

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