Wrinkles are creases in the skin. The medical term for wrinkles is rhytids.
Most wrinkles come from aging changes in skin. Aging of the skin, hair and nails is a natural process. There is little you can do to slow the rate of skin aging, but many things in the environment will speed it up.
Frequent exposure to sunlight results in early skin wrinkles and dark areas (liver spots). It also increases the chances of getting skin cancer. Exposure to cigarette smoke can also make the skin wrinkle sooner.
Common causes of wrinkles include:
Stay out of the sun as much as possible to limit skin wrinkles. Wear hats and clothing that protect your skin and use sunscreen daily. Avoid smoking and secondhand smoke.
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Wrinkles are not usually a cause for concern unless they occur at an early age. Talk to your health care provider if you think that your skin is getting wrinkled faster than normal for someone your age. You may need to see a skin specialist (dermatologist) or a plastic surgeon.
What to Expect at Your Office Visit
Your provider will ask questions, such as:
Your provider will examine your skin. You may need a skin lesion biopsy if you have any abnormal growths or skin changes.
These are some treatments for wrinkles:
Baumann L, Weisberg E. Skincare and nonsurgical skin rejuvenation. In: Peter RJ, Neligan PC, eds. Plastic Surgery, Volume 2: Aesthetic Surgery. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 4.
Patterson JW. Disorders of elastic tissue. In: Patterson JW, ed. Weedon's Skin Pathology. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone; 2016:chap 12.
Review Date: 10/14/2018
Reviewed By: Michael Lehrer, MD, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Dermatology, University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, Philadelphia, PA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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