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  • Writer's pictureDr Husham Al-Shather

What causes wrinkles and sagging skin?

Updated: Nov 18, 2023

The largest organ in our body is the skin. It has a surface area of approximately 20 square feet.

The skin consists of 3 layers:

  • The epidermis, the outer layer of the skin that provides protection and forms the waterproof.

  • The dermis, the layer underneath the epidermis. It has dense connective tissue with a large concentration of collagen, elastic fibers and reticular fibres. Collagen constitutes nearly 70 % of the skin weight and gives the dermis its flexibility and structural integrity. Elastin only makes up to 1% of the weight of the skin, however, it plays an essential part in maintaining the skin elasticity. The dermis also contains important substances that help in keeping our skin hydrated, like Hyaluronic acid and glycoproteins.

  • The hypodermis, is the deeper layer of the skin and is made of connective tissue, elastin and fat.

What causes wrinkles and fine lines?

Skin specialists usually describe wrinkles as lines with more than 2 millimeters in depth and caused by repeated facial muscles contraction and movement. Fine lines described as being less than 2 millimeters in depth and usually caused by lax and sagging skin.

Over the time, the skin starts to lose its flexibility and strength due to breakdown of elastin and collagen, and with repeated muscle contractions and relaxations, lines and wrinkles begin to appear along the line of muscle movement. With time the skin becomes dry due to decreased production of the Hyaluronic acid, which is responsible for maintaining the moisture of the skin.

The main causes behind wrinkles and lines include the following:

  • Breakdown of collagen and elastin and reduction of Hyaluronic acid production due to normal aging process.

  • Prolonged exposure to sunlight due to the damaging effect of UV radiation

  • External causes, like smoking, alcohol, and environmental factors.

  • Genetic related skin conditions.

  • Excessive facial expressions can also contribute to deep wrinkles.

What are the ways to keep our skin healthy?

  • Avoid direct exposure to the sun and wear sun cream

  • Make sure you get enough sleep as insufficient sleep causes skin cells breakdown due to excessive cortisol production.

  • Apply moisturiser regularly and keep your skin clean.

  • Drink plenty of water and consume healthy food that contains essential skin ingredients, like fruit, vegetables, egg, salmon, cocoa, olive oil and soy.

  • Use Retinoids products to repair sun damage and reduce wrinkles.

  • Apply vitamin C skin products to stimulate collagen production and protect the skin from UV rays.

  • Botox (botulinum toxin) injections relax the facial muscles and smooth the skin

  • Dermal fillers (contain Hyaluronic acid) injections to enhance the facial contours, soften wrinkles and smooth lines.

  • Additional care like chemical peels, microneedling and laser treatment.

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