The accumulation of wrinkles is one of the most obvious physical indicators of the passage of time on our bodies as we age. [1]

Understanding & Preventing Wrinkles: Signs, Science, & Solutions

Maintaining a young appearance and accepting aging as a normal process requires an awareness of the warning signs and symptoms of wrinkles.

This article discusses the common signs and symptoms of wrinkles, explores the science behind them, and offers advice on how to avoid them in the first place.

The Science Behind Wrinkles

The skin is an intricate organ with several layers, each of which is essential to preserving the skin's structure and appearance.

Two vital proteins that give skin its firmness, flexibility, and support are collagen and elastin. This combination gives skin a smooth, young appearance.

Wrinkles are a result of several internal and external factors, such as age, sun exposure, smoking, and environmental pollution. [2]

According to Dr. Anna Chacon, wrinkles are creases, folds, or ridges in the skin that primarily appear as a result of the aging process. They are caused by a combination of factors including the natural aging process, sun damage, smoking, dehydration, and certain facial expressions. As we age, our skin loses elasticity and becomes thinner, making it more prone to damage. The most common signs of wrinkles are visible lines and creases in the skin, typically more prominent on the face, neck, hands, and upper arms.

Common Signs of Wrinkles

Fine lines: The first whispers of aging
The initial signs of aging often manifest as fine lines, particularly around the eyes, forehead, and mouth, where muscle movement is frequent.

Deep creases: Markers of prolonged exposure
Over time, fine lines can deepen into more prominent creases, signaling prolonged exposure to various factors that accelerate the aging process. [3]

Crow's feet: Tales of laughter and expression
The crinkly lines that radiate from the corners of the eyes, known as crow's feet, are a testament to a life filled with laughter and expressive moments.

Neck wrinkles: A sign of neglected skincare
The delicate skin on the neck is often overlooked in skincare routines, leading to the development of horizontal or vertical creases, commonly referred to as “necklace lines.”

Lip lines: The aftermath of constant movement
The constant movement of the lips during speaking, eating, and expressing emotions can lead to the formation of vertical lines above and around the lip area.

Under-eye wrinkles: Windows to sleep deprivation
The thin, delicate skin under the eyes is particularly vulnerable to wrinkles, which can be exacerbated by factors such as lack of sleep, dehydration, and stress.

Forehead furrows: The burden of stress
Deep horizontal lines on the forehead, commonly known as “furrows,” can be indicative of chronic stress, as well as repeated facial expressions like frowning or squinting.

Symptoms of Wrinkles

Dryness and dullness: A precursor to wrinkle formation
As the skin ages, it loses its ability to retain moisture, leading to dryness and a dull, lackluster appearance, which can exacerbate the appearance of wrinkles.

Loss of elasticity: The skin's diminishing resilience
The breakdown of collagen and elastin fibers within the skin causes a loss of elasticity, making it more susceptible to sagging and the formation of wrinkles.
Sun damage: The silent contributor to premature aging
Prolonged exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun can accelerate the aging process, contributing to the development of wrinkles, age spots, and uneven skin tone. [4]
Uneven skin tone: Reflections of age-related changes
As the skin ages, it may develop areas of hyperpigmentation or hypopigmentation, resulting in an uneven skin tone that can make wrinkles more prominent.
Reduced skin thickness: A lesser-known symptom
With age, the skin's thickness gradually diminishes, making it more fragile and susceptible to wrinkles and other signs of aging.
Increased susceptibility to bruising: Fragility of aging skin
The thinning of the skin and weakening of blood vessels can lead to an increased tendency for bruising, which can further contribute to an aging appearance.

Recognizing Early Warning Signs

Importance of self-examination
Regular self-examination of the skin can help identify early signs of wrinkle formation, allowing for timely intervention and preventative measures.

Consulting a dermatologist
If you notice significant changes in your skin's appearance or texture, it is advisable to consult a dermatologist for professional evaluation and guidance.

Lifestyle modifications for prevention
Adopting a healthy lifestyle, including protecting the skin from sun exposure, maintaining proper hydration, and managing stress, can go a long way in preventing premature wrinkle formation.


Although wrinkles are an inevitable aspect of growing older, being aware of their warning signs, symptoms, and causes enables us to take preventative measures to keep our appearance young.

Wrinkle onset can be postponed and overall skin health can be enhanced by embracing a thorough skincare regimen and making healthy lifestyle choices. Even while wrinkles are an inevitable part of growing older, it's crucial to embrace each stage of life's distinct beauty and age with grace and confidence.

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We review published medical research in respected scientific journals to arrive at our conclusions about a product or health topic. This ensures the highest standard of scientific accuracy.

[1] Liang Y, Su W, Wang F. Skin Ageing: A Progressive, Multi-Factorial Condition Demanding an Integrated, Multilayer-Targeted Remedy. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 2023 May 9;16:1215-1229. doi: 10.2147/CCID.S408765. PMID: 37192990; PMCID: PMC10182820.
[2] Manríquez JJ, Cataldo K, Vera-Kellet C, Harz-Fresno I. Wrinkles. BMJ Clin Evid. 2014 Dec 22;2014:1711. PMID: 25569867; PMCID: PMC4278179.
[3] Swift A, Liew S, Weinkle S, Garcia JK, Silberberg MB. The Facial Aging Process From the "Inside Out". Aesthet Surg J. 2021 Sep 14;41(10):1107-1119. doi: 10.1093/asj/sjaa339. PMID: 33325497; PMCID: PMC8438644.
[4] "Photoaging (Sun Damage)." Yale Medicine, 19 Oct. 2023,
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MaryBeth Parisi, MD

Dr. MaryBeth Parisi is a board-certified Harvard trained Dermatologist. She has over 18 years of experience in the field of skin care.