What is a Wrinkle?

Some people may not realize that a wrinkle is something that affects the four different layers of our skin as we age. It is another skin condition that many deal with. As we age, and each layer of skin loses some of its youthful properties, a fine line on the surface of the skin becomes a deeply grooved wrinkle that becomes more noticeable and widespread as time goes on.

A wrinkle is essentially a groove that is caused from years of repetitive muscle movements in the deepest layer of skin, and the loss of collagen and elastin that supports the ever drying layer of the upper or outermost layer of skin, until it finally appears as a wrinkle on the surface that gets deeper as the loss of support from the underlying areas worsen with time.

This has prompted the plethora of wrinkle reducing and anti-wrinkle treatments that are on the market today. Unless they deal with the underlying problems, the wrinkles will superficially be moisturized and reappear once they dry out. For this reason, wrinkle treatment not only has to deal with the outer layer, but also the underlying layers to keep the wrinkles in control.


The outer layer of skin, the epidermis, is where the wrinkles are noticed because by the age of 30, less sebum, or natural oil and moisturizers are produced and the outer layer of skin becomes dry and dull.

The lower layer of the epidermis is where skin color is produced and the sun causes the melanocytes to become more active. Blotchy discolorations can occur and larger freckles begin to appear as we get older. The superficial epidermal cells on the surface of the skin accumulate and thicken causing a dull, lifeless look.

Several treatments like bleaching, fine line therapy, exfoliation, hydration and use of sunscreen are recommended to reduce the appearance of surface wrinkles and discoloration.


Below the epidermis is the dermis level which contains tiny veins, sweat gland, hair bulbs and nerve endings. The collagen and elastin fibers are in this layer and as we age the slower blood flow causes breakdown of collagen and elastin which leads to sagging, and wrinkles that form, due to lack of collagen support. Spider veins may appear and the cellular components start to break down.

Treatments for deeper wrinkles often include antioxidants, which help to rebuild the dermis and stimulate cell regeneration. This is also the layer of skin that is affected by laser treatments to stimulate collagen, fillers for the deep lines to plump the cells, Amino Acid peptide therapy to kick start collagen production and other collagen treatments like Vitamin A or Retin A treatments, which have been used with success.

The Fat Layer

Directly below the dermal layer is a layer of fat, which becomes thinner as we age on the face and neck, except on the jowls and sagging lower cheeks, which make us look older.

To treat this layer, fat transplants, filler agents, and liposuction are used.

The Muscle Layer

This deepest layer is responsible for deep wrinkles caused by the buildup of grooved wrinkle lines caused from overuse for smiling and frowning. Chronic puckering and smoking cause deep lines around the mouth.

Treatments for this layer can involve more serious things like BoTox, brow lifts, filler agents, and a feather lift or face lifts.

By understanding the anatomy of a wrinkle, you will be better able to determine the most effective treatment and understand what layer is responsible for the wrinkles appearing.

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