Why we get wrinkles – and what to do to combat them

We all have them - but what are they really trying to tell us about our health, skin and the way we look after ourselves?

Let us start by saying that a lined face is often a sign of a life well-lived. If laughter lines are the price to pay for nights spent chuckling over wine with our oldest friends, we’ll take them.

But while we’re all for faces full of character, we also appreciate that that deeper wrinkles and sagging skin can affect confidence. So what can we do to keep wrinkles at bay without resorting to surgery – or limiting our facial expressions…

Why do wrinkles occur?

While some don’t experience their first crease or line until their 40s, others will start to notice small lines and creases in their 30s – or even their 20s. The onset of wrinkles is a natural part of the ageing process, and is generally down to a lack of collagen fibre or injured elastic fibre as we grow older. However, that doesn’t mean that we wouldn’t all like there to be a little less of them!

But there are also environmental factors that can contribute to wrinkles worsening. Smoking, pollution, and sun damage can all affect the composition of our skin, and how many wrinkles we have. So ensure you cover up, douse your face in SPF 50+, and stay as healthy as possible, if you want to try and reduce the amount of wrinkles you have.

MORE: The best sheet masks for glowing skin

Dehydrated skin can also be more prone to developing wrinkles, so its key to stay hydrated both inside and out.

Dieting can also have an effect on the appearance of wrinkles. People who have lost drastic amounts of weight, or those who have yo-yo dieted throughout their lives, are likely to have more.

So why do wrinkles appear where they do?

Crows feet – aka laughter lines

Crows feet – one of the most well-known wrinkles – usually radiate out from the corner of your eyes. Most noticeable when you squint, they’re actually caused by habitual squinting and laughter.

Other common causes include dryness around the eye area, given that the skin around the area secretes the least oil.

The skin around our eyes is of course much thinner too. In fact, some of the thinnest skin on our bodies is around our eyes. And so that, paired with the lack of sebum, is a hot bed for laughter lines.

So how can you try and stop them from occuring?

Retinol based products are some of the best on the market to help tackle crows feet. Retinol contains collagen-boosting properties, helping to plump up your skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines around the eyes.

Lines under eyes

Wrinkles under your eyes, as opposed to radiating out of your eyes, develop in similar ways. They can also be caused by continual creasing of the face, and regularly heading out in the sun without sunglasses.

But how to combat them? Serums specifically targeted for under-eye use can certainly be helpful, in that they can help keep the area hydrated and moisturised.

Frown lines

Frown lines – perhaps some of the most dreaded wrinkles there are. These pesky little things usually occur as lines across the length of our forehead. However, they can also put in an unwelcome appearance between our brows too.

Generally, when we’re younger, these types of lines appear on our faces when we frown, but go away when we stop frowning. However, as we get older, many of us notice that these wrinkles take up a permanent spot on forehead, even if we aren’t frowning.


While forehead lines are a natural part of getting older, many people assume that they come as a result of over-active facial expressions, such as by launghing, yawning, or, in fact, frowning. But actually, that theory is considered to be incorrect by most dermatologists.

However, frown lines can be made worse with various environmental factors. These specific wrinkles may be trying to tell you that your face has been exposed to too many adverse lifestyle factors. For example, it’s widely known that smoking damages your DNA, meaning skin can’t repair itself. Stress and pollution can also reduce the amount of collagen in your skin – a protein we need to keep skin looking smooth and supple.

So what can you do about forehead lines? If you’re willing to undergo treatment for yours, there are a variety on offer. Botox and injectable fillers can of course be very effective methods. However, you can also opt for less invase treatments, such as chemical peels, laser skin treatments, and microdermabrasian. These all work to rid your skin of its top layer, allowing it to replenish itself.

However, more holistic treatments can also work. Some suggesting applying regular drops of castor oil to the area, or even an investment in a rich moisturiser.

Smile lines

Smile lines are the creases you see that travel from the outer edges of your nose down to the outer edges of our mouth. Generally smile lines become more pronounced as we get older, although they’re often visible in younger people when they smile.

These wrinkles, like all others, comes from a lack of collagen and elastin in your skin as you age. Smoking and sun damage can also worsen these lines, making them deeper than they may have been.

As we age, we also experience a loss of volume in our face, meaning skin is more likely to sag and drop – which is what happens with the skin above our smile lines.

How to get rid of wrinkles

Unfortunately, there is no foolproof way to rid yourself of wrinkles completely – unless you are willing to resort to more extreme measures, such as botox.

Other than ensuring you stay hydrated, protect your skin from the sun and attempt to wipe away the effects of pollution at the end of the day, topical treatments such as creams and serums can help to reduce the appearance of fine lines.

Retinol, or skincare products which are rich in peptides and collagen-building proteins, are generally the best if you’re looking to smooth out your skin.

Read more: Our favourite retinol products

But if you don’t want to splash out on expensive creams, making sure you use an effective, but not necessarily costly, moisturiser should help considerably. Dawn French has previously revealed that she favours the Nivea Q10 plus anti-wrinkle energising day cream, to help give her her wrinkle-free complexion. The cream is available for just £5 at Tesco at the moment – a bargain!

So how do you help combat wrinkles?

Most Popular