What are Wrinkles?

You may wonder why some people have more wrinkles than others, and there’s no single answer. Genetics play a large part in wrinkle production and placement, but so do sun exposure, smoking, and pollutants.

Wrinkles are a natural part of aging and are most commonly found on sun-exposed skin, like your face, hands, neck, and forearms. Wrinkles are a common dermatological complaint and Rochester Regional Health’s expert dermatologists have options to help you make them less visible or help smooth them out.

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Causes of Wrinkles

Several factors cause wrinkles. Some you can control and work toward preventing, and others are uncontrollable. These causes include:

  • Age - your skin becomes less elastic and more fragile as you age. As you begin to produce fewer natural oils, your skin dries and becomes more wrinkled. Fat deep in the layers of your skin diminishes over time. This causes your wrinkles to be more pronounced and is the cause of saggy, loose-looking skin.
  • Exposure to UV (ultraviolet) light - exposure to the sun or tanning beds is the primary cause of early wrinkling. This light breaks down your skin’s connective tissues (collagen and elastin fibers), which causes your skin to lose strength and flexibility. This, in turn, causes your skin to sag and wrinkle prematurely.
  • Repeated facial expressions - repeated facial expressions, like squinting, smiling or frowning, all lead to wrinkles and fine lines. Each time you use a facial expression, a small groove is formed beneath the surface of your skin. As your skin ages, the diminished flexibility means it’s no longer able to bounce back into place. These grooves then become permanent lines on your face.
  • Smoking - smoking affects your skin’s collagen production, and accelerates the normal aging process of your skin, causing fine lines and wrinkles. 

Taking every precaution to avoid wrinkles will go a long way in saving your skin from premature aging. Aging is perfectly natural, but your provider can help when/if it’s time to make your skin look more youthful.

Preventing Wrinkles

Some simple actions will go a long way in protecting your skin and minimizing the appearance of wrinkles. 

Limiting the time you spend in the sun, especially when it’s the highest in the sky, protects your skin from harmful UV rays. Protective clothing, like hats (worn to cover your face), sunglasses, and long-sleeved shirts can all provide excellent protection from the sun. Whenever you’re going to be outside for more than a few minutes, sunscreen is also a must-have. Read more about what sunscreen to choose →  

Eating a healthy diet full of powerful nutrients and vitamins is also an excellent way to help your skin maintain collagen and fend off aging. The right combination of moisturizer for your skin type, a healthy diet, and staying hydrated, can keep you looking young for years to come.

Treating Wrinkles

We can, of course, also treat your wrinkles to make them less noticeable or smoother.

Non-Surgical Wrinkle Treatments

Creams and topical medications can work, over time, to smooth wrinkles and reduce roughness in your skin’s appearance. 

Non-Prescription Wrinkle Creams

Anti-wrinkle creams from your favorite skin-care company or the drugstore depend on their active ingredients for effectiveness. Retinol, antioxidants, and some peptides can result in modest improvements to your wrinkles.

Because these non-prescription wrinkle creams contain fewer active ingredients than prescription creams, results are usually short-term and limited.

Topical Retinoids

Retinoid, which is derived from vitamin A, works to reduce roughness, splotches, and fine wrinkles when applied to the skin. Your Rochester Regional Health dermatologist can prescribe topical medications with retinoids as a non-surgical option. Improvements will not happen overnight–it may take a few weeks or months before you notice a difference. 

Retinoids make your skin burn more easily, so it’s vitally important to use a daily broad-spectrum sunscreen and protective clothing while using. 

Botox (Botulinum Toxin Type A)

Botox works to keep muscles from contracting, and is especially useful on frown lines between your eyebrows, across your forehead, and on crow’s feet (those pesky lines at the corners of your eyes). When your muscles can’t tighten (or contract), the skin appears less wrinkled and smoother. Results are typically seen in one to three days.

While the effects of Botox usually last a few months, repeat injections are necessary to maintain results.

Chemical Peels

One of our expert providers or our phenomenal medical Esthetician, Christine, will apply a chemical solution to your skin to remove the top few layers. This helps with wrinkles because the skin that grows back after being peeled is smoother.

It may take several peels for you to see a difference in the smoothness of your skin, and the redness following the treatment may last up to a few weeks. There are a few possible side effects with a chemical peel, including infection, scarring, or a change in skin color (lightening or darkening).


Using a rapidly rotating brush, our providers use dermabrasion to sand down the surface layer of your skin. This allows new, smoother skin to grow in its place.

You may need several dermabrasion appointments to see results. There are also side effects, which include swelling, temporary redness, and scabbing.

Laser Resurfacing

Our highly experienced providers have undergone additional fellowship education to be laser experts. This allows us to offer the largest number of laser devices in the region, as well as the most years of experience using laser devices. 

We use laser resurfacing to destroy the outer layer of your skin, while also heating the underlying skin of your dermis. This stimulates the growth of more collagen, allowing smoother, tighter skin to form. Unfortunately, laser resurfacing is unable to eliminate sagging skin.

There is a slightly longer healing time with laser resurfacing, and redness can last months. The risks of laser resurfacing, and fractional lasers, include a change in skin color and scarring.


Microdermabrasion removes a very fine, thin layer of skin over several months of treatments. The results are subtle, and best for someone with fine wrinkles. People with rosacea should not receive microdermabrasion, as it can make your condition worse. 

Soft Tissue Fillers

A temporary treatment option, soft tissue fillers composed of collagen, fat, and hyaluronic acid can be injected into your wrinkles to plump and smooth them. You may experience bruising, redness, or swelling following the injections.

Whatever treatment you and your provider decide upon, you’ll be in good hands. Our providers prioritize continuing education, ensuring they’re at the forefront of new treatment options and well-prepared for whatever your skin may bring.

Surgical Treatments

Before moving forward with a surgical wrinkle treatment option, your provider will talk with you about what is most important to you, the results you’re looking for, and your overall health. This will help them choose the best treatment option or options, as a combination of several can sometimes work best. 

Face Lift

A face lift works at tightening the muscles and tissues beneath your skin’s surface. Healing can be lengthy, with swelling and bruising for weeks after your surgery. Your face lift results are not permanent, and you may have to have another lift several years later. 

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Conquer Skin Concerns

The first step towards taking care of your skin is a full skin exam. We’ll examine your skin, looking for obvious and sneaky concerns before we come up with a personalized dermatological plan for you. Don’t wait – schedule a consultation today.
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