Wrinkles are a part of the natural process of ageing. With age, the skin becomes dry and thin, and its elasticity reduces, making it unable to naturally restore itself from damage quickly. This leads to small folds and creases on it, which deepen and increase with age. Skin folds when muscles are used. In the young, collagen and elastin fibers under the skin bring the fold back to normal immediately. These fibers break down with age, and skin folds cannot spring back as fast, leading to wrinkle formation.
The process of wrinkling is hastened by a number of factors. Exposure to UV rays of the sun leads to degradation of the elastin and collagen fibers, speeding up the wrinkling process. Smoking and drinking regularly also significantly increases the process of wrinkling. Smoking reduces blood supply to the skin and makes it loose its natural flexibility. Alcohol causes dehydration of the body which makes the skin dry and more susceptible to wrinkle formation.
Treatment options available to treat wrinkling of skin are available in the form of topical ointments and invasive methods including surgery. Treatment follows one or more of four pathways: skin stretching, changing the ageing collagen, filling in skin depressions, or paralyzing skin stretching muscles. All topical as well as invasive procedures follow one or more of these methods.
Treatment for wrinkles of skin follows one or more of four methods. Among topical medical treatments, a sunscreen forms a line of defense against the UV rays of the sun. Topical ointments containing Vitamin A are prescribed medically to treat skin wrinkling. Ointments with alpha hydroxy acids, also called fruit acids contain glycolic and lactic acids and are extensively used. Antioxidant containing ointments are also used to reduce the skin ageing process. Ordinary moisturizers rehydrate the skin and reduce the appearance of wrinkles.
Invasive and non invasive procedural methods are also used to treat wrinkles. Most prominent among these are peels. They use mild chemicals to remove dead and dry skin cells from the surface so that the underlying younger skin is exposed which is relatively free from wrinkles. Another procedure followed is Abrasion, where the surface layer is removed by mechanical abrasion. Microabration uses aluminium or silica crystals to rub off the surface layers, while dermabration is a surgical procedure performed under anesthesia using instruments to rub on the skin surface. Laser resurfacing is another procedure where laser beams are used to stimulate new skin formation with new and healthy collagen. Injections of Botulinum Toxin A, also called Botox is a very popular invasive procedure to treat skin wrinkles. Botox paralyzes the muscles causing creasing around the site of injection providing effective treatment for wrinkles of the skin. Fillers like collagen, hyaluronic acid, etc. are also used to fill up the folds of the skin by adding volume. Plastic surgery is also used in certain cases to treat wrinkles.
Wrinkles usually appear on the skin with age and anybody developing wrinkles can go for its treatment. Those who smoke or drink regularly may want to be treated for wrinkles as a preventive measure. A large number of people worldwide undergo one or the other form of treatment for wrinkles.
Wrinkling increases with age, but it may appear in young people too with repeated frowning or smiling gestures. These are usually not permanent and do not need treatment. People with sensitive skin and people allergic or reactive to injective treatments cannot go for these treatment procedures. Overuse of treatment procedures is not advised.
Treatments for wrinkling may have a large number of side effects, ranging from an allergic reaction to ointments or injectives, to poisoning from Botox. Abrasion therapies have an associated risk of scarring and discolouration of skin. Fillers under the skin may leak into the bloodstream and cause great damage to the body.
General post treatment guidelines include protecting the skin from exposure to sunlight by covered clothes and sunscreen, quitting smoking, and abstaining from alcohol. Invasive and non invasive procedures need stricter care and longer time to allow healing and recovery.
Topical medications do not need a recovery period. Invasive and non invasive procedures need time to recover, and this time can range from a few days to one or two months.
Topical ointments to manage wrinkling are available for as low as Rs. 100 in the market. Other procedures cost significantly more. Botox treatment costs about Rs. 300- Rs. 400 for each unit and total cost depends on the number of units used.
Skin wrinkling is a part of ageing and is inevitable. No treatment for skin wrinkling is permanent. The effects of treatment lasts for varying lengths of time, rarely going over six months, and continuous use of a procedure is needed to keep away wrinkles for longer periods of time.