On a good day, we call them laugh lines. On a bad day, we call them crow’s feet! Do you have a love-hate relationship with the wrinkles on your face too? These lines may tell the story of a life well-lived, but there are times when we just want a magic eraser to clean them all away!
What are wrinkles?
Wrinkles form for all the right reasons — when we laugh, frown, cry, smile, and express the full range of human emotions available to us. These lines, called dynamic wrinkles, typically occur around the eyes, on the forehead, between the brows, from the nose to the corners of the mouth (nasolabial folds), and around the lips.
Dynamic wrinkles disappear easily when we are young and the skin is supple. But with repeated muscle movements, gravity, and age, these creases and folds grow permanent and turn into static wrinkles, which are present even without movement.
We tend to start noticing our wrinkles in our 30s. That is when bone resorption kicks in: Bone tissue is absorbed by the body, and the bone mass that props up our flesh and skin shrinks, causing our features to droop. Photo-aging also contributes to the wrinkles, folds, and loose skin that start to show on our faces in the jowls, brow, and undereye areas.
What can be done?
For starters, please don’t stop laughing! Go ahead and live out a full life and wear the evidence on your face.
There are lines that we can prevent. Smokers should consider giving up smoking, for example — the act of smoking requires us to constantly purse our lips, which produces that rim of wrinkles around the mouth that eventually becomes permanent.
For the lines we cannot prevent, we can adopt healthy skincare routines and moisturise regularly so that the dynamic wrinkles don’t easily turn into static ones. Avoid sun exposure as much as you can, and apply sunblock as a habit.
We can also “neutralise” the lines by using botulinum neuromodulators such as Botox®, Dysport®, and Xeomin® to relax the muscles on the face. This reduces the formation of deep wrinkles around the eyes, on the forehead, and between the brows.
What are botulinum neuromodulators?
Botulinum Toxin A (Botox, Dysport or Xeomin) relaxes the muscles, and it is commonly administered treatment for relaxing the muscles on the face for the treatment of dynamic wrinkles. Following the Botox, Dysport or Xeomin treatment, the muscles that produce frown lines will relax and the wrinkles will reduce in appearance. Botox, Dysport or Xeomin can be used to treat frown lines, forehead lines, and crow’s feet. It is also effective in face contouring, where the jawline can be slimmed through when the jaw muscles are relaxed. Botulinum neuromodulators are also applied in face and neck rejuvenation treatments for the easing of wrinkle lines.
What happens if the wrinkle becomes static wrinkles?
A combination of therapies may be needed. We might recommend botulinum neuromodulators first to relax the muscles to prevent them from further creasing the skin. This may then be followed by facial rejuvenating therapies like lasers and Ultherapy® to smoothen out the lines and encourage the body to form its own collagen, which volumises the face. Laser skin resurfacing treatments (e.g. the Fraxel® Dual laser) may also be required to further reduce the facial wrinkles by removing skin, layer by layer in a controlled manner, hence ironing out irregularities. At times, dermal fillers may be required to fill up the deep lines that have formed.
Wrinkle treatment for the neck
The aged appearance of the neck is contributed mainly by loosening of the neck skin due to photo-ageing. There is also weakening of a thin sheet of muscle called the platysma, a muscle located just below the skin of the neck.
This process creates a “turkey neck” appearance as one age. That is why the platysma muscle is one of the muscles treated during a “Nefertiti lift” – a wrinkle treatment for the neck – where multiple injections of botulinum neuromodulators are given along the lower jawline as well as down the side of the neck along the platysma muscle. This improves the definition of the jawline and rebalances the underlying muscles, smoothening the bands and folds on the neck.