Oct 2, 2023

Static Wrinkles 101: Treatment and Prevention

Can you actually prevent the development of fine, static lines? 👀

Formulate user BeBe wrote in with the following question about static lines:

"I have a lot of static wrinkles, and I would like for them to go away! I swear I have so many more than other people who are my age. I don't know how I got them - what are the main causes of these wrinkles? Could I have prevented them, or are they just something that you have to deal with and treat after? What kinds of products work best for them?"

Thanks for writing, BeBe!

 Before we answer your questions, let's do a little static wrinkles 101- then we'll be able to dive into causes, prevention, and treatment with products. 

What are static wrinkles?

To understand static wrinkles, we have to first understand dynamic wrinkles - those are the lines that pop up on your face when you're moving a facial muscle. When that muscle relaxes, the lines go away, and your skin smoothes out.

Static wrinkles, on the other hand. are the wrinkles that live on your face even when all your muscles are relaxed. Hence, why the word static is in the name - these guys don't move. They're there even when your face is totally slack. 

Where on the face do static wrinkles appear?

Static wrinkles typically manifest in facial regions with thinner skin and frequent muscle movement. 

"These wrinkles tend to be more prominent around areas that get more use, such as around the eyes and mouth where we make facial expressions throughout our lives," says plastic surgeon Dr. Vinod Vij. "The most common areas for static wrinkles to form are around the eyes (crow's feet), forehead, and mouth."

This might make it a little confusing - if static wrinkles form where we frequently move our face, then aren't they dynamic wrinkles? The key thing to remember here is that these wrinkles remain even when the face is totally still - while their development was linked to repeated movements of the face over years and years, they're in the static wrinkle category because the lines remain even when all facial muscles are at rest. If they were dynamic, they would go away once the facial muscle that they're linked to relaxed. 

What are the main causes of static wrinkles?

There are several factors that influence the development of static wrinkles - how thick or thin your skin naturally is, if you smoke, if you drink enough water - but the biggest one is time. Because unfortunately, our bodies are on the clock, and at a certain point they slow down production of the skin-friendly protein, collagen.

"As we age, especially once we hit the age of 25, our collagen begins to dramatically decrease," says Limor Weinberg, board-certified nurse practitioner and master trainer in aesthetics. "Think of collagen as a natural skin plumper and so the less collagen, the greater the chance for static lines to develop on the face." 

The amount of sun that you expose your skin to is also a huge contributor to static wrinkles. The more your skin is exposed to the sun, the more that the collagen in your skin breaks down. And if you're already at a point in your life where your body is producing less collagen than it used to, you definitely don't want to lose what you've got left - be sure to wear that SPF!

Are static wrinkles preventable?

It's helpful to have reasonable expectations regarding how much you can prevent the development of wrinkles. Aging is inevitable, and the same goes for the slowdown in collagen production that occurs as we get older. And while there are a lot of great preventative measures that you can take, you can't completely prevent your skin from getting older, and developing at least a few fine lines. 

That being said, taking good care of your skin today might prevent that fine line from becoming a deep fold. 

"Aging is one of the most significant factors contributing to the formation of static wrinkles," says Dr. Vij. "As we get older, our skin loses its elasticity and natural oils which results in an increased risk of developing wrinkles. Eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and avoiding too much sun exposure can all help keep your skin looking younger for longer." 

Yup, all the things that are generally good for your overall health are good for your skin, too! Drink water, eat your veggies, don't engage in restrictive dieting, and move your body - all of these actions will help your body deliver the nutrients your skin needs to thrive. Just be sure to wear your sunscreen if you're doing an outdoor workout.

"My number one advice for anyone young and old: protect your gorgeous skin from the sun and use a daily SPF!!!" Says Nurse Weinberg. "Find an SPF you love and wear it every day. It's an absolute must and don't forget your neck, chest, ears and hands!" Protection from the sun is no joke, and sunscreen is a non-negotiable when it comes to the prevention of wrinkles and other signs of skin aging. 

What skincare products work well for treating static wrinkles? 

To diminish the appearance of wrinkles, Nurse Weinberg recommends a skincare routine rich in skin-loving ingredients like retinoids, antioxidants, and hyaluronic acid. 

"Retinoids are derivatives of vitamin A," she explains. "By increasing collagen production, retinoids can help reduce the appearance of static lines and wrinkles over time. Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring substance in the skin that helps maintain hydration and plumpness. Using skincare products containing hyaluronic acid can help replenish moisture, improve skin hydration, and minimize the appearance of static lines. Antioxidants, such as vitamins C and E, help neutralize free radicals, which are unstable molecules that can damage the skin and accelerate aging."

She also doesn't think that you need an overly complicated skincare routine. "You do not need 18 skin care products, what you need is consistency and quality medical grade skin care with at least one of the ingredients mentioned above. A cleanser, toner, moisturizer and sunscreen is perfectly fine! Once you're comfortable with the basics add a weekly mask, face oil or daily serum."

And, of course, you'll need to regularly apply sunscreen to prevent pre-existing wrinkles from getting worse, as well as the development of new wrinkles.

"If you spend your day mostly inside, applying a chemical sunscreen or lightweight physical sunscreen once per day in the AM is sufficient," continues Nurse Weinberg. "If you spend most of your day outdoors, a physical sunscreen is recommended and should be re-applied once every 2 hours or more often depending on the activity."

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