Wrinkles And Women

  • Ayesha Ingham FolamiMaster of Science (MSc) – Biomedical Engineering, University of Southampton, England
  • Geraint DuffyMSc, Medical Biotechnology and Business Management, University of Warwick, UK


Wrinkles are the creases and folds on the skin. These folds occur for various reasons such as ageing, environmental factors and lifestyle. Wrinkles can occur on any part of the skin – but they are often associated with the face, neck and hands.1 

The topic of wrinkles is significant and is linked to ageing.  Wrinkles depict the passage of time but can also have physical and emotional implications. They are a reminder of how genetics, environment and personal choices impact our health and appearance. Wrinkles hold societal importance – due to their links with beauty standards, self-esteem and cultural attitudes to ageing, especially for women.

This article aims to explore the causes and types of wrinkles, their effects on women physically and psychologically, prevention and management and connection to health overall.

Causes of wrinkles in women

Wrinkles occur as a natural result of ageing, and they are influenced by intrinsic and extrinsic factors. Understanding the causes of wrinkles can allow women to make good choices for their skin.  


Through the natural ageing process, a woman’s skin will undergo several changes, including:

  • Reduced collagen and elastin production: Collagen and elastin are proteins that give the skin elasticity, smoothness and support. As a woman ages, the body makes less of the proteins – whereby the skin loses firmness and wrinkles form.
  • Thinning of the epidermis: The outer layer of the skin (epidermis) gets thinner with time. – which makes the skin more easily damaged and prone to wrinkling
  • Slower cell turnover: Skin cell turnover reduces with age, requiring more time for damaged cells to be replaced – contributing to wrinkle formation2 

Genetics impact how women age and their likelihood of wrinkling. Some women have genetic factors, meaning they are prone to premature ageing, in comparison to others3 

Sun exposure

Prolonged and unprotected ultraviolet (UV) radiation exposure causes wrinkling due to:

  • Elastin and collagen fibres in the skin degrading, resulting in less elasticity and, therefore, wrinkle formation
  • UV exposure forms free radicals – that harm cells and accelerate ageing

It is very important for women to protect their skin from the harmful effects of UV radiation through:

  • Daily application of broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30
  • Wearing protective clothing (e.g., sunglasses)
  • Staying in the shade during peak sun hours


Smoking is strongly linked with premature skin ageing and wrinkles (particularly areas of skin around the mouth and eyes). Smoking-related factors include:

  • Reduced blood flow: Smoking lowers blood flow to the skin, depriving it of oxygen and nutrients and causing premature ageing
  • Increased free radical production: Smoking causes harmful free radicals to be released – damaging collagen and elastin fibres4 

Poor diet and nutrition

An unhealthy diet lacking nutritious value can:

  • Promote inflammation in the body - accelerating skin ageing
  • Deprive the skin of crucial nutrients for repair and maintenance

For healthy skin, a woman’s diet should be balanced and nutrient-dense. The following are required for healthy as well as to help slow down the ageing process of the skin:

  • Antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables (e.g., berries, leafy greens)
  • Omega-3 fatty acids (e.g., oily fish)
  • Vitamins C and E – to promote collagen production (e.g., avocadoes, oranges)

Knowing the causes of wrinkles allows women to be proactive in their lifestyle and skincare routines to reduce the impacts of ageing and maintain healthy skin.

Types of wrinkles in women

Fine lines

Fine lines are the earliest form of wrinkling and appear as shallow, subtle creases on the skin. These wrinkles are most obvious during facial expressions, such as during smiling and then fade when the face is at rest. Fine lines tend to gradually deepen into more obvious wrinkles with time.

Fine lines are usually prevalent in areas of the skin under repeat movement and expression, such as:

  • The eyes (crow’s feet)
  • The forehead
  • The mouth (smile lines)

Dynamic wrinkles

Dynamic wrinkles are from repetitive facial movements and expressions. During the contraction of facial muscles to form expressions, the skin is folded and creased. This repetitiveness causes dynamic wrinkles. Dynamic wrinkles are more obvious when the face is in motion but can also be seen at rest.

Dynamic wrinkles can be treated with non-invasive or minimally invasive procedures:

  • Botox: these injections relax facial muscles that cause dynamic wrinkles and temporarily reduce their appearance
  • Dermal fillers: these fillers can smooth and plump dynamic wrinkles – to restore skin volume and elasticity
  • Skincare products: topical treatments, such as retinoids, can gradually improve dynamic wrinkles

Static wrinkles

Static wrinkles are more pronounced than dynamic wrinkles and remain visible when the face is at rest. These wrinkles are deeper and can occur from a combination of various factors, such as ageing and environmental stresses (e.g., UV exposure and smoking).

To reduce static wrinkles, women can consider certain cosmetic procedures, such as:

  • Dermal filler: these fillers add volume to deeper wrinkles – to smooth them
  • Chemical peel: chemical peels remove the outermost layer of skin to stimulate collagen production and improve skin texture
  • Laser treatment: lasers can resurface specific areas of damaged skin – to make static wrinkles less visible
  • Microdermabrasion: a non-invasive procedure to exfoliate the skin to prompt smoother skin cells to grow

Effects of wrinkles on women

Wrinkles can have a large impact on a woman’s body image and self-esteem. Visible signs of ageing can create feelings of self-consciousness and reduced self-confidence. Women can compare themselves to societal concepts of beauty – creating a negative idea of their appearance. This poor self-image can largely impact self-esteem and influence various areas of their lives, such as relationships and their career.5 

Wrinkles can also impact mental health. Women can experience anxiety, stress and depression regarding their appearance and ageing concerns. These emotional challenges can affect general well-being and require further support.6

Beauty standards, ageism and societal pressures

Societal beauty standards prioritise youthful beauty and flawless skin – placing unrealistic expectations on women. The media commonly depict wrinkles negatively – promoting the idea that ageing should be hidden or reversed. This places immense pressure on women to keep a youthful look, contributing to their sadness about ageing.

Ageism occurs in various aspects of society – for example, healthcare and employment. This discrimination can heighten the negative impact of wrinkles and make women feel undervalued or unseen in society. Therefore, addressing and combating ageism and challenging these stereotypes is important.

Prevention and management of wrinkles

The development of wrinkles can be delayed by making lifestyle changes. These can include:

  • Cleansing: removing the build-up of dirt, makeup, pollutants and unclogging pores
  • Moisturising: keeping the skin hydrated and supple, which makes the skin less prone to wrinkling
  • Wearing sunscreen: high SPF, broad-spectrum sunscreen will protect the skin from UV rays and accelerated ageing
  • Eating nutrient-dense foods: fruits, vegetables, and antioxidant-rich foods provide nutrients for skin health
  • Staying hydrated: adequate water consumption hydrates the skin – reducing fine lines
  • Improving blood circulation: exercises that  increase blood circulation help with delivering oxygen and nutrients to the skin, reducing wrinkle formation
  • Quitting smoking: Smoking contains harmful chemicals that reduce blood flow to the skin and accelerate ageing.4
  • Reducing alcohol consumption: alcohol consumption causes your body, including your skin, to become dehydrated. Reducing alcohol consumption can reduce the effects of dehydration on your skin and reduce the formation of wrinkles.

Wrinkles and women's health

 The skin provides valuable insight into your overall health. As the largest organ, it plays a crucial role in protecting the body. The state of your skin can give clues to the general status of certain important functions within the body, including: 

  • Hydration
  • Nutritional status
  • Hormonal balance

By monitoring your skin, it can provide clues to the state of your underlying physical and emotional health.

Menopause and its impact on skin

The menopause alters a woman’s hormones, causing lower levels of oestrogen to be produced. Oestrogen is involved in the healthy function of skin, ensuring it maintains a healthy thickness and contractility while also providing some protection from UV radiation. As oestrogen levels are lower during menopause, this can result in:7 

  • Thinner skin
  • Dryness
  • Reduced elasticity

Together, the combination of these factors as a result of lower oestrogen levels during menopause can cause more wrinkles to develop. Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) can be given to menopausal women to balance the levels of oestrogen in the body. Although the effects of HRT are more established in treating other effects of menopause (mood changes, vaginal dryness, reducing the risk of osteoporosis), there is some evidence to suggest that HRT helps improve skin thickness and elasticity, reducing the development of wrinkles.8    


This article explores various aspects of wrinkles, how they are caused, their impacts and management techniques, such as:

  • Wrinkles are a natural part of ageing – influenced by genetics, UV radiation, diet and smoking
  • The types of wrinkles include fine lines, dynamic wrinkles and static wrinkles
  • The negative emotional impact of wrinkles on women
  • Skincare routines, lifestyle choices and wrinkle treatments
  • HRT to minimise wrinkles

Wrinkles are a natural part of ageing, but they do not define a woman’s beauty or worth. It is important for women to prioritise self-care and well-being whilst embracing ageing.


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This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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Ayesha Ingham Folami

Master of Science (MSc) – Biomedical Engineering, University of Southampton, England

Ayesha is a Biomedical Engineer with a Master of Science (MSc), with a passion for improving the lives of others with cutting-edge medical solutions. Having earned her MSc from The University of Southampton, Ayesha honed her skills in medical device design, bioinformatics and biomechanics. Ayesha brings a distinctive blend of scientific acumen and passion for writing, making her work enlightening, engaging and accessible.

With an unwavering commitment to bridging the gap between engineering and healthcare, Ayesha continues to utilise her knowledge and dedication to improving healthcare.

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