We hear the expression “fine lines and wrinkles” almost daily. It’s on television commercials, on skin care labels, and even on the radio. But what’s the difference between fine lines and wrinkles, and does it make a difference in which types of treatments and products you try to ward of the signs of aging?

What’s the Difference Between Fine Lines and Wrinkles?

While you have probably heard fine lines and wrinkles referred to interchangeably, there is actually some difference between the two. Not only do they appear in different areas of the face, they are also treated differently, both in the types of facial rejuvenation procedures and products we recommend to you. Understanding the differences before you begin researching different treatment options will help you plan your first ever appointment to our practice a little bit better.

Fine lines often indicate the beginning of your skin’s aging process. They are small and shallow and may be hard to see initially. Fine lines on the face are often associated with repetitive movements, such as squinting, smiling, laughing or frowning. Fine lines are so superficial that they respond to treatments faster and easier than deeper wrinkles would. Wrinkles form when fine lines are not treated quickly and begin to deepen, but they also tend to form in different areas of the face more quickly, often progressing into facial folds.

Fine Lines and Expression Lines

Expression lines are so called because they are commonly caused by the facial expressions that you make. They are so superficial that they usually involve only the topmost layer of your skin. You might think nothing of them when you first notice them.

Fine lines are most frequently found around the eyes and the mouth. You may see them at the outer corners of your eyes and in the very thin skin under your eyes. You may also notice small creases at the corner of your mouth or around your lips, a slight crease between your eyebrows, and tiny lines beginning to show the furrows in your forehead.

Causes of Fine Lines

  • Smoking: You may find that you are more prone to expression lines if you smoke. Not only is the blood supply to your skin affected, but your repeated mouth puckering could lead to fine lines around the mouth.
  • Fair Skin: If you have very fair skin, you may be at increased risk of fine lines and wrinkles if you don’t use adequate sun protection.
  • Sun Exposure: Increased sun exposure without proper protection can cause skin damage quickly.
  • Genetics: Keep in mind that your family’s genetics can increase or decrease your chances of developing any type of fine lines or wrinkles.

Fine lines stay on your face and deepen as you get older because the collagen and elastin beneath the surface of your skin begin the breakdown that is typical with aging. This means that your skin can no longer pop back into place after you smile or make another facial expression.

How to Treat Fine Lines and Expression Lines

You have many options when it comes to treating your fine lines.

  • Retinols & Chemical Peels: With superficial expression lines, you may be able to start with an anti-aging cream that contains retinol. Retinols and retinoids have been proven to help reduce fine lines. However, your best option is often a gentle peeling of the top layer of skin. A chemical peel often uses alpha or beta-hydroxy acid to remove the same top layer of skin. Stronger chemical peels with glycolic acid or tricholoroacetic acid may be used for more heavily damaged skin. Chemical peels work well on many signs of aging, including sun-damaged skin as well as fine lines and wrinkles.
  • Wrinkle Relaxing Injectables: Another option is a wrinkle relaxer. We offer several options, including the ever-popular Botox. Botox is derived from botulinum toxin but is exceedingly safe and effective on fine lines and wrinkles caused by repetitive muscle movements of the face. It temporarily paralyzes these small muscles to relax the wrinkles. Dysport and Xeomin also use botulinum toxin A to block the nerves running to tiny facial muscles. Each of these FDA-approved wrinkles relaxers must be used every three to six months to keep up its good results.
  • Collagen Induction Therapy: Also called Microneedling, this newer treatment has shown benefits for fine lines and wrinkles, in addition to other common signs of aging. During this procedure, you will have very tiny holes poked into your skin in the treatment area. These holes will then stimulate the collagen beneath them to repair itself, smoothing out your lines. Be sure to use the serum provided by the Aesthetic Injection Specialist after your treatment, along with other directions to ensure best results.

Wrinkles and Folds

Folds are deeper wrinkles found in the face and neck. They often settle into the areas where untreated lines were or where the face has gradually suffered volume loss. Over time, you may notice wrinkles and folds developing almost anywhere on the face and neck. Your skin may begin to sag in places, leading to deep creases. Nasolabial folds are common deep wrinkles located between the corners of the mouth and the nose.

Causes of Wrinkles and Folds

  • Aging: As we age, collagen and elastin continue their inevitable breakdowns beneath the surface of your skin. This causes your skin to become less supple, smooth and elastic. Collagen creates the scaffolding beneath the skin, holding it up, while elastin maintains skin elasticity. As they both break down, you’ll begin to see facial hollows and sagging skin.
  • Environmental Factors: Constant sun damage, dehydrated skin, heredity and a poor skincare regimen can also contribute to faster-than-normal wrinkle formation. Your skin will no longer snap back into place after you make an expression, and the wrinkles will not smooth out when your face is at rest. Wrinkles are more noticeable and much deeper than fine lines are.

How to Treat Wrinkles and Folds with Dermal Fillers

Several treatments give you options for improving and, in some cases, erasing your face’s folds and creases. While microneedling may be an option for these wrinkles, FDA-approved dermal fillers are your best bet.

Juvederm is one of the most frequently discussed fillers. It is similar to Restylane in that both options use hyaluronic acid to increase fluid in the injected area. This will make your skin appear plumper and will smooth out deep wrinkles and folds. Juvederm Volbella uses a special combination of hyaluronic acid molecules that work particularly well beneath the skin and can provide results for up to a year. Restylane Silk is particularly formulated for fine lines and wrinkles around the mouth; it lasts for approximately six months.

How to Prevent Fine Lines and Wrinkles

Prevention is definitely the best option when it comes to fine lines and wrinkles on your face and neck. Protect and care for your skin well while you are young; this will help diminish the rate at which you age later in life.

  • Sun Protection: Be sure to apply sunscreen every day, even if you have no plans to be outside. Make sure your sunscreen contains a physical block ingredient, such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.
  • Abandon Bad Habits & Adopt Healthy Ones: Giving up smoking, drinking less alcohol, and eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables can decrease premature skin aging. Most importantly, stay hydrated!
  • Invest in Good Skin Care Products: Use skincare products that are formulated for your facial concerns. Moisturize, but use a facial moisturizer that is right for your skin type. Get recommendations from a skin care expert, such as a dermatologist, aestheticians, or Aesthetic Injection Specialist.
  • Invest More in Skin Care Treatments: Use in-office skin care treatments to ward off fine lines and wrinkles early on. You can use Botox, dermal fillers and exfoliating processes, such as chemical peels; these help prevent fine lines from appearing or to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Microneedling treatments can improve collagen production at any age.

Get Help with Fine Lines and Wrinkles at Skin by Lovely in Los Angeles and Portland

Skin by Lovely offers high-quality, FDA-approved medical facial aesthetics for any of your concerns regarding fine lines and wrinkles. We provide non-surgical solutions that will have you in and out of our office in no time with fabulous results. As a top 1% account for Allergan, the makers of Botox and Juvederm, we provide a safe, secure and effective atmosphere in each of our offices. Contact us at Skin by Lovely in Santa Monica, CA, or Portland, OR, for a consultation.