Recently my baby sister (who's in her twenties) noticed some creases on her forehead that was quite visible when she raised her eyebrows, and she has been distraught and fears that she may be on the verge of developing wrinkles.
Everyone knows wrinkles are associated mostly with aging, So I began to wonder what could cause wrinkles to appear in young people and how it can be tackled particularly those on the face. Below is the result of my research on this issue and it's going be worth your reading time...Let's get into it....shall we???
Looking good, they say is good business. The Face is so unique in that it's not just one of the exposed part of the body but it has a capacity of drawing attention that is why when you meet an individual for the first time facial expressions or facial attributes can actually draw you to that person.
In this day and age most people mostly the females pay close attention to their facial appearance and any visible change may affect either their self esteem or how they interact with other people. This is why you can arguably say the face is also part of one's trademark and people can go to great lengths to take care of it and remain beautiful.
This is so evident with the increasing patronage of a wide range of cosmetic products and other skin/ aesthetic procedures. Having said all this there is an aspect of the face that is vital and is a key piece in this topic..... The skin
The human skin is a large organ, and a protective cover that separates delicate internal organs, muscles and tissues from the external environment. But That's not all; it helps to maintain body temperature, it is a sense organ so it senses and recieves stimuli (e.g touch sensations) that is eventually sent to the brain for interpretation and adequate response is taken, prevents fluid loss(that is why you don't loose fluids via sweat abnormally) and it plays a role in innate immunity (defense against microbes).
Without neglecting all the amazing physiological functions the skin, one cannot also ignore the role it plays in social life. How the skin generally looks (it's structure, texture and colour) can tell a lot about a person's health and general well-being (this explains why one is drawn towards an individual with a healthy and glowing skin and you consider such a person to be in good health).
With the passage of time, Aging which is an inevitable natural life process sets in, equally affecting the body tissues but one organ where this process is quite evident is the skin. Skin aging can either be intrinsic or extrinsic. Intrinsic skin aging is beyond the control of the individual (genetically controlled) and it is in line with the normal course of aging associated with increasing age. Studies have shown what happens during the normal aging process:
The first is an ominous reduction in the production of two essential proteins that makes up the skin- collagen and elastin (Collagen makes the skin firm by giving it great tensile strength while elastin gives the skin elasticity so that no matter the stress put on it, it can always return to its original form).
If we want to shift our discussion a little bit from skin aging and delve a bit into breast sagging, although the major reason why female breast sag is because of the gradual weakness in the ability of ligament known as the Cooper's ligament to hold the breast firmly, a loss or reduction in collagen and elastin has been shown to also play a contributing role.
Once the Cooper's ligament is weak, the breast falls. Other factors that can also contribute to breast sagging indirectly is loss in collagen and elastin due to aging(which we have established above) , Collagen and estrogen deficiency, multiple pregnancy and menopause, larger size of the breast (this puts greater pressure and tension on the Cooper's ligament), habits like smoking which causes increase in oxidative stress leads to faster aging with loss in collagen, high BMI (Body mass index) etc. You might want to ask, why then do some young girls also have sagged breast?
Asking the question above would also mean, you asking; why do some young people also have wrinkles. Both questions are related, so this article will answer both questions at the same time since they have something in common and that is, a reduction in collagen. Read along, you will learn.
Back to our discussion on wrinkles
The second thing observed is the loss of fat cells which gives the skin bulk form (this causes the skin to sag). Probably you didn't know, fat cells also play huge role in maintenance of the smooth nature and firmness of the skin.
According to the research conducted by Uwe Wollina, et al., 2017, a reduction in fat cell, modification of the collagen content of the skin and the force of adhesion between the the dermal and adipose tissue layers have a very huge significant influence on the mechanical stability of the skin and this can lead to development of wrinkles if there is a compromise in the integrity. Let's continue!
The third thing that is observed, is the loss in the ability of the skin to retain moisture. This ultimately leaves the skin dry all the time. The final thing observed is a reduced production of new skin cells to replace worn-out cells. The skin looses its regeneration power. The two above culminates to having a scally and dried skin.
However, under some conditions, the body may be exposed to some factors which can trigger aging abnormally and at this point we say skin aging is premature and this forms the basis of extrinsic skin aging. These factors are most times influenced by the individual and so can be controlled.
Amongst the numerous signs of skin aging, one that is worthy of note is wrinkles. So what are wrinkles?
Wrinkles are folds or lines on the skin that you can easily see but let's not confuse this with lines that occur naturally on the skin. Normally, one's skin surface is not flat but there are numerous shallow line patterns (you may not even take note of them) crossing each other that runs along it, called the Skin microrelief (take a look at your wrists and forearms).
How they are formed is a natural process largely related to the structure of the dermis and other external forces on the skin tissue that may come into play. However, the lines and folds of wrinkles are usually deep, readily visible and not so plenty when compared with skin microrelief.
Wrinkles can occur on different parts of the body like the neck, chest, arms etc but that of the face is always obvious and its presence most times signals the aging process.
Wrinkles can be in two forms: Fine Lines or furrows (coarse wrinkles). Fine Lines signifies the earliest stage of skin aging so they appear first. They are so small and usually restricted to the skin surface, so you may not readily see them. Scientifically, the lines are said to be less than 1mm in width and depth.
However when fine lines are left untreated, they can develop into the noticeable deep seated folds of skin we then refer to as Wrinkles (Furrows).
Premature skin aging can happen in young people and one of its initial sign is the fine line wrinkles. All things being equal, Fine line wrinkles should occur from age 30 and above, however studies has also reported its presence in people in their twenties which is not normal - it only signifies one thing; premature skin aging process is in play. You can see this form of wrinkles mostly on the forehead and around the eyes and unfortunately it can add years to your facial appearance.
What then can cause and influence the formation of this form of wrinkles in young people?
If an individual in their 20s begin to develop fine line wrinkles, it means that such a person may have been exposed to oxidative stress factors that hastens their formation (wrinkle formation in this case is hugely influenced by the individual's lifestyle behavior and thus can somewhat be controlled). Such factors include:
Sunlight is an integral element of nature that humans can't escape from. Infact, do you know that sunlight is needed for the synthesis of vitamin D (which maintains the level of calcium and phosphate in the blood) by the skin?
Amongst the radiatons emitted by Sunlight, the most popular with destructive effects is the ultra-violet rays. A large amount of the UV rays from sunlight does not reach the earth. Do you know why??? It's because of the filtering actions of the ozone layer. But now, the reverse is the case because a lot of environmental changes has caused the depletion of the ozone layer.
When you are continuously exposed to sunlight for years with no form of protection, skin cells dry out and the underlying structures especially the Collagen and elastin fibres are destroyed. What you have left is a weakened skin prone to develop wrinkles (This is called photoaging). The longtime effect of sunlight exposure is clearly visible mostly on the face, why??? Because it's mostly exposed to this factor and on a regular basis.
The human body is a complex entity made up of living cells. So, they can be in a pretty bad state if they are not supplied with adequate nutrients. Same goes for the skin. Antioxidants, moisture, proteins, good fat and oil helps keep the skin structure intact and reduce oxidative stress.
Since most nutrients are obtained from our meals, when you don't eat right, the essential nutrients needed by the skin to remain healthy will not be available and the result is a weakened skin with wrinkles.
Smoking and exposure to other pollutants
Ideally, a healthy skin regenerates. In other words worn out skin cells are shed/replaced, old collagen is broken down and replaced with new ones. When one smokes, harmful substances are introduced into the body that causes oxidative stress which studies have shown can reduce collagen production. When the level of collagen in the skin reduces, wrinkles is next in line.
Repetitive facial expressions
Ever wonder why people are advised not to frown often or reduce squinting (when you just step out under the scorching sun, how does your eyes react???). This is because it can cause you to develop wrinkles. For every facial expression (smile, frown, squinting), movements of the facial muscles occurs and since these muscles lie beneath the skin, the facial skin moves with them.
Because the skin on the face especially on the forehead and under the eyes are thin, every facial movement made can be seen as a visible wrinkling that goes away when the facial muscles return to normal. When a particular facial expression becomes habitual , over time, the facial skin gets used to it and impact of this together with gravity can cause you to develop permanent wrinkles.
This is particularly how frown lines (in between the eyebrows), glabellar lines and crow feet wrinkles (occurs around the corner of the eyes) are formed.
Due to an increased demand on how to slow down wrinkling and skin ageing, a lot of research has now been targeted into understanding the molecular and genetic basis associated with it. Differences in the appearance of wrinkles amongst individuals have been shown to be hereditary, however the specific gene variants have not been identified yet.
Previous studies done revealed that located on chromosome 16 was the MC1R gene that encodes a receptor that plays a major role during melanogenesis (melanocortin 1 receptor) and it had a considerable effect on the skin aging independent of sun exposure. Variants of MC1R genes was shown to influence other skin aging signs like pigmented age spots but there was no significant association between MC1R variants and wrinkles, suggesting they had no clear role in facial wrinkle formation.
Nevertheless, because Wrinkles appear on the skin due to rapid breakdown of collagen and eventual loss of skin elasticity, studies have also been done to understand the signaling pathway that leads to collagen breakdown and wrinkle formation.
When the skin is exposed to stress factors like UV rays, multiple signaling pathways involving the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFr), interleukin-1 receptor (IL-1r), tumor necrosis factor receptor (TNFr), platelet-derived growth factor receptor (PDGFr) and platelet-activating factor receptor (PAF-r) are activated.
A chain line reaction is in turn triggered leading to the activation of tyrosine kinase and the associated adapter proteins, which transfers the signal to the transcription factor activation protein 1 (AP-1), eventually leading to the production of Matrix metalloproteinases, MMPs (enzymes that are capable breaking down or degrading collagen)
The net effect is an imbalance between between MMPs and MMP inhibitors (they limit or block the actions of MMPs from degrading collagen) in favour of MMPs, and the result is the rapid breakdown of collagen. As a consequence, sun-exposed skin is characterized by a decrease in collagen types I, III and VII.
The role our sleeping habits play in wrinkles formation
Do you know that a wrong sleeping position can also cause wrinkles??? When you sleep with your face pressed against the pillow repeatedly, it compresses the skin. Over time, this compression can leave your skin weakened in some places and causes wrinkles to appear. (Changing your sleeping position can help alot, preferably sleeping on your back)
What then can be done to prevent/ slow the appearance of wrinkles amongst young people???
Fine lines are what you can call baby wrinkles and once you begin to notice it, It's a sign that your skin is under undue duress (what science terms as oxidative stress) and requires appropriate attention. Don't forget, fine lines that are unattended to can develop into Wrinkles. Below are some useful suggestions to tackle this problem:
Protect yourself from the sun : Since sunlight is basically unavoidable, wear protective gears like sunglasses and most importantly use sunscreens, as it will help protect the your eyes skin by filtering out harmful UV rays, hence, you don't always have to frown or squint your face under sunlight.
Eat right: Take lots of fruits and vegetables rich in natural antioxidants like vitamin A, C, E. Antioxidants protects the skin from oxidative stress. Protein rich meals should be included in your diet (aids collagen synthesis and other cellular activities). Eat foods rich in saturated fatty acids especially Omega 3 fatty acids( e.g. salmon, nuts, avocados).
Omega 3 fatty acids has anti aging properties- it helps to keep the skin healthy, soft and reduces moisture loss. Try to reduce your sugar intake because increased sugar level in the blood can bind and reduce the quality of collagen through a process called glycation and it also may encourage the inflammation and release of enzymes that breakdown of proteins.
Stay hydrated: Drinking lots of water will help keep the skin healthy, fresh and prevents it from looking dry. The benefits associated with taking enough water cannot be overemphasized. Take enough water to stay refreshed.
Use good skin care products: Go for skin care products that have the following ingredients (you can look up others) :
-Antioxidants: Most notable are; Vitamin C or ascorbic acid ( it can protect your skin from the UV damage and stimulate collagen production), Vitamin E ( it can delay sun induced damage and repairs the damage already done), Vitamin A and it's derivatives Retinol and Retinoid (it prevents wrinkles by stimulating replacement of worn out skin cells, increase the thickness of the skin and improves its texture).
-Hyaluronic acid: helps to reduce moisture loss from the surface of the skin, keeping it hydrated continuously. Check out the creams you buy most of them contain this chemical. Preferably look for creams that have them as components.
-Peptides: This basically favours the production of collagen, assists in other cellular activities that fight against wrinkle formation.
-Natural acids (alpha hydoxy acids): Aids the removal of worn-out skin cells, so that the young healthy ones can be exposed. This can in turn favour collagen synthesis, thus preventing wrinkle formation. Some of these acids are found in out Fruits and nuts we consume. For more details about this, visit the reference section this article.
Avoid alcohol excessive consumption and smoking and above all Seek professional help: There are lots of cosmetic procedures (Peeling, Botox etc) that can be recommended to you by a dermatologist.
Any treatment available?
Obviously, there is. Advancement in science has made things easier. This treatment might actually shock you, but it is reality. What if I told you that a bacterial toxin can be used to treat premature or early wrinkles formation, would you believe me?
The bacteria - Clostridium botulinum produces the most dangerous and lethal toxins under low oxygen conditions, in other words, it is an anaerobic bacteria. It produces botulinum toxins and this toxin is very notorious in blocking nerve functions and this ultimately can lead to respiratory and musclular paralysis.
The mechanism of action of this toxin is exploited in the treatment of early wrinkles formation. Though it is not approved for treatment of all wrinkles types, it's mainly for the treatment of glabellar lines (the 11 line sign formed by the muscles between the region of your two eyebrows due to frowning).
The injection is known as Botox injection. When injected under the muscles in question, it treats wrinkles formed by these muscles by relaxing or immobilizing them. Once these muscles are relaxed, the resultant effect is the smoothening of the skin overlaying the muscle and by this way, the wrinkles are eliminated. It takes roughly one week to have maximum effect of the treatment using this toxin injection.
The use of Botox injection also extends to elimination of the forehead creases, crow's feet found near the eyes and also the thick bands on the neck. There are other treatments options that can be made available to you, so also seek for professional help and advice.
In conclusion, wrinkle formation is not strictly evidence or sign of old age. You could develop wrinkle at early age of your life if you are engaged in strenuous activities that makes you age faster. This is why it is Important to take foods and edibles that contain high concentration of antioxidants or anti aging molecules.
Sometimes they are hereditary and inevitable at some early age. It all depends on the gene you inherited from your parents.
To look younger and healthier, eat right and observe all the highlighted tips above, you will be good to go.
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Until next time.
¶Research gate journals- Skin agimg and treatment
¶Research Gate journals ; Wrinkles origin and treatment
¶Research gate journals - Wrinkles
¶Facial lines and wrinkles
¶Fine line Wrinkles around the Eyes
¶Fine Lines And Wrinkles: What's The Difference And How To Care For Each
¶Role of adipose tissue in facial Aging
¶Treating saggy breast
¶From skin microrelief to wrinkles. An area ripe for investigation; Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology
¶WHO- facts sheets about botulism
¶Indian journal of Dermatology; Modeling signaling pathways leading to wrinkle formation: Identification of the skin aging target
¶National library of medicine; Facial Wrinkles in Europeans: A Genome-Wide Association Study
¶Research Gate journals; The MC1R Gene and Youthful looks