How Do Wrinkle Treatments Work?

Chemical peels, laser, dermabrasion, and skin care are all guided by the same principles. But to understand them, you first must know a little something about your skin.

Your skin is made up of damaged superficial cells and healthier deep cells. Every day, your old superficial cells die, shed, and are replaced by younger cells. When you are born, the process of shedding a new skin cell takes about 30 days. By the time you are 60, the process takes about 60 days. Thus, as you get older, your complexion becomes dull and lifeless because the cells on your skin's surface are, in fact, older.

Each treatment mentioned above causes uniform destruction and shedding of your old damaged superficial skin cells. This allows healthier deep cells to surface while they are still young and fresh. Each of these treatments organizes and expedites the process of skin turnover and helps you reclaim the skin of your youth. As a result, you will see improvement in some or all of the following skin problems: large pore size, loss of skin vitality, roughness, discoloration, fine wrinkles, acne scars, dynamic wrinkles, and loss of skin tone. (Fillers and Botox are guided by other principles).

Despite their similarities, each treatment works slightly differently and therefore yields a different degree of improvement. No one treatment solves all problems. In general, deeper treatments yield greater improvement but impose longer recovery. To optimize their results, many people employ two treatment options that complement one another, such as laser resurfacing and Botox injections.

What are Dynamic Wrinkles?

Doctors call them dynamic wrinkles. Everyone else simply calls them smile lines and frown lines. No matter what you call them, they are the most troublesome of all wrinkles and often are the most difficult to treat. They are our crow's feet, scowl lines, forehead creases, and lip wrinkles. They develop because each time we smile, laugh, or frown, our skin creases or folds in the same way. After making the same expressions time after time, our skin "remembers" these creases even when they are not there. These wrinkles can be improved through laser resurfacing, dermabrasion, deep peels, Botox, and fillers. However, even if these treatments could vanish your dynamic wrinkles will return, because you will continue to make the same facial expressions that caused them in the first place. Interestingly, if you have ever seen anyone who has had one half of their face paralyzed, you may have noticed that the paralyzed side appears younger. This is because they do not move that side of the face, so there are no dynamic wrinkles.

What are Fine Wrinkles?

Fine wrinkles are seen on dry crepe paper skin (usually on the cheeks). These wrinkles are superficial and their removal is relatively easy through skin care, micropeels, and other simple treatments. (See table).

What are Skin Fold Wrinkles?

Skin fold wrinkles are the wrinkles that go from the corner of our noses, around our mouths, and down to our chins. They look like big parentheses around our mouths. They develop within the skin fold (called nasolabial fold by doctors) which is due to sagging cheeks. Because these wrinkles are due to sagging skin, the only way to treat them is by tightening the skin...through a facelift. Just look in the mirror while you are pulling your cheek skin back toward your ears. You will see a dramatic improvement in your nasolabial folds, as well as the skin fold wrinkles.