What Causes Wrinkles & What are the Best Treatment Options?

If you click a link on this page and make a purchase, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Learn more.

There’s nothing wrong with gracefully accepting the many changes that occur in the skin as it ages, but there’s also nothing wrong with trying to stave off the onslaught of fine lines, wrinkles, and loose skin for as long as possible. This is especially the case if you’re dealing with premature aging – ie. wrinkles that start to develop in your 20s and 30s.

Of course, the only way to really tackle those creases and slow down the skin aging process is to first understand what causes facial wrinkles in the first place, and that’s what we’re here to explain. Read on to learn more about the reasons behind your fine lines and wrinkles, along with the most effective ways to turn back the clock on aging skin.


What Exactly are Wrinkles and What Do Wrinkles Look Like?

Wrinkles are creases that develop on the skin. At first, they look like very light lines that are barely noticeable. However, over time, they deepen, resulting in permanent furrows.

What are Wrinkles Caused By?

Wrinkles form due to the skin aging process. As we grow older, our skin begins to produce less of its structural proteins. Even worse, the collagen and elastin fibers that are already in our skin degrade with age.

woman happy in mirror

These fibers are what hold the skin up from beneath – think of them like scaffolding. Once they start to deteriorate and loosen, the skin loses its firmness and volume, which causes it to fold and wrinkle.

What Causes Premature Wrinkles? The Environmental Factors Responsible for Your Face Creases

It’s easy to blame wrinkles solely on the aging process – a natural part of life that’s out of our control. However, the skin aging exposome encompasses many external factors too, and each one contributes to wrinkles in its own way. By protecting your skin from the following environmental factors, you’ll be able to slow down the development of wrinkles, even as your skin ages.

Sun Exposure

under the sun

UV rays are responsible for up to 80% of facial aging [1], including fine lines and wrinkles. UVA rays are the main culprit – they penetrate deep into healthy skin cells, where they then cause serious damage. Not only does sun damage weaken collagen fibers, leading to wrinkles, but it also triggers dark spots and other skin issues.

Smoking & Pollution

woman commuting

Both smoking and pollution leave your skin vulnerable to free radical harm, which causes skin damage and accelerates aging. Even worse, the nicotine in cigarette smoke also constricts blood vessels and disrupts blood flow. This suffocates skin cells and deprives them of vital nutrients, which can cause the skin to wrinkle prematurely.

Repeated Facial Expressions: Does Squinting Cause Wrinkles Between Eyes? Does Raising Your Eyebrows Cause Wrinkles?

It’s true – repeated facial expressions lead to wrinkles. Frequently squinting causes crow’s feet, while consistently frowning or raising your eyebrows will result in forehead lines. The same applies to pursing your lips, such as when drinking through a straw – this causes lines to appear around the mouth.

Does Makeup Cause Wrinkles?

While makeup itself doesn’t cause wrinkles, there are a few makeup-related habits that can lead to premature aging. One example would be raising each eyebrow when applying mascara – these repeated muscle contractions will slowly lead to wrinkles.

Likewise, if you often forget to remove your makeup before bed, then all of that product residue and congestion will only speed up the rate at which your skin ages.

Now That You Know What Causes Skin Wrinkles, Here are the Best Treatment Options

Ready to put a stop to those pesky wrinkles? Here are some of the most effective anti-aging treatment options available:

Retinoid Products to Improve Elasticity & Tighten Wrinkling Skin

beauty product

Retinoids are an anti-aging classic. These vitamin A derivatives are capable of helping with even deeper wrinkles in just four weeks, with studies showing that they also strengthen the skin to protect it from future harm [2].

There are plenty of over-the-counter retinoid products to choose from, but if your wrinkles are severe, speak to a board-certified dermatologist about a prescription retinoid.

An Antioxidant Blend to Firm Up Sagging Skin & Reduce Wrinkles at Young Age

wiping face with cotton

Antioxidants are fantastic at neutralizing free radicals, preventing them from damaging your skin cells and protein fibers. They’ll also encourage new collagen production, which will diminish fine lines and give your skin a firmer and bouncier finish.

Some of the best antioxidants out there are vitamin C, vitamin E, resveratrol, niacinamide, and green tea.

Botox and Other Injections for Forehead Wrinkles & Crow Feet

Aesthetic clinic client being treated

Botox and hyaluronic acid injectables are great for treating dynamic wrinkles, meaning those that have been caused by facial movements and expressions.

Some dermatologists have noticed that getting these injections almost “trains” a person to stop making those expressions quite so often, which means that they need fewer injections over time.

Laser Treatment to Boost Collagen Production & Improve Skin Moisture Levels

beautiful woman getting treatment

There are various laser treatments out there, but they all work to stimulate collagen production in the skin. This leads to firmer, fuller, and more elastic skin in the treated area.

Another benefit of this increase in collagen is a rise in skin moisture levels, making this one ideal for people with dry skin.

A Chemical Peel to Tackle Wrinkles + Other Signs of Aging

woman asleep during therapy

Chemical peels are available in various strengths. Superficial peels, meaning the ones that you can use at home, will only really help with fine lines.

For deep wrinkles, you would need to consider a deeper peel. These should always be carried out by a professional, as they come with a greater chance of side effects. However, the plus side is smoother, firmer, and brighter skin.

Don’t Forget SPF to Protect Your Face, Neck, and Hands

sunblock on pretty face

As mentioned earlier, UV light and sun damage is a huge contributor to wrinkles. So, in addition to picking from the treatment options above, it’s imperative that you also constantly wear sunscreen to keep your skin protected. Look for a broad-spectrum formula – this will shield you against both UVA and UVB rays.

Don’t forget that long and protective clothing, along with sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat, will also help big time in physically blocking UV rays.

RELATED: Does Coffee Cause Wrinkles


Q: How can I prevent wrinkles?

To prevent wrinkles, you should be following a daily anti-aging skincare routine, eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, sleeping enough each night, drinking enough water, and keeping your skin protected from the sun.

Q: Can your wrinkles go away?

Yes, it’s possible for wrinkles to go away.

Q: At what age do wrinkles start?

This depends on so many different factors. Some people start to notice wrinkles in their 20s, while others only see them in their 40s.

Q: What is the best home remedy to remove deep wrinkles?

The best home remedy to remove deep wrinkles would be to treat your skin to some homemade anti-aging products. Everything from bananas to honey to aloe vera deliver some serious anti-aging benefits.

Q: What can permanently remove wrinkles?

Laser resurfacing and chemical peels can help to permanently remove wrinkles.

Q: What kills wrinkles on face?

Laser treatments are a good way to get rid of face wrinkles.

Q: What is the cheapest way to get rid of wrinkles?

The cheapest way to get rid of wrinkles is to use classic and proven, yet inexpensive, anti-aging ingredients, such as retinol, niacinamide, and peptides.

Q: Does Retinol get rid of deep wrinkles?

Yes, retinol has been proven to get rid of deep wrinkles.

Q: What causes wrinkles around the mouth?

Wrinkles around the mouth are most commonly caused by muscular movements in this area. Pursing, puckering, or any other repeated movements around the mouth lead to wrinkles.

Q: What causes forehead wrinkles?

The aging process, sun exposure, and facial movements/expressions are the most common causes of forehead wrinkles.

Q: What causes wrinkles under the eye?

Wrinkles under the eyes are caused by a combination of factors, including natural aging, sun exposure, pollution, free radical damage, and more.

close up of eyes

Q: What are some wrinkle treatments?

Retinoids and antioxidants are great topical wrinkle treatments, while Botox and laser resurfacing are cosmetic procedures that work well to treat wrinkles.

Q: How do retinoids reduce static wrinkles?

By boosting the production of collagen and elastin in the skin, retinoids are able to reduce static wrinkles.

Q: What causes wrinkles around the neck?

Wrinkles around the neck are a natural part of aging, but they can be accelerated by environmental factors, such as UV damage, an unhealthy lifestyle, and pollution. Constantly looking down at electronic devices also leads to neck wrinkles – this is now commonly referred to as tech neck.

Q: How does botox work to prevent and treat fine lines?

Botox blocks the nerves that cause certain muscles to contract. As a result, it prevents lines from appearing in that part of the skin.

Q: What chemical in our body degrades and causes wrinkles?

Once the collagen in your body degrades, this causes wrinkles.

Q: Why do I have wrinkles at 20?

Premature aging can sometimes be hereditary.

Q: Why do wrinkles form?

Wrinkles form when the collagen and elastin in your skin deplete, which leads to folds and creases developing in the skin.

Q: What causes wrinkles on face?

Wrinkles on the face are caused by aging, UV light, and pollution, among other factors.

Q: What causes fine lines?

Fine lines are caused by several different things, including UV damage, smoking, squinting, and an unhealthy lifestyle.

Q: If wrinkling of the skin is due to the loss of collagen, can I reverse it by using skincare products containing collagen?

Unfortunately, no. The collagen used in skincare products has a molecular size that’s too large to be absorbed by the skin. However, these products are still great for boosting skin hydration.

Q: How do wrinkles form?

Wrinkles form when the skin doesn’t have enough protein fibers to keep it taut and firm.

RELATED: Does Alcohol Cause Wrinkles


As you can see, there are so many different factors that contribute to the onset of wrinkles. While some of them may be out of your control, there are several others that you can heavily influence, from UV damage to smoking.

Fortunately, even if your wrinkles seem to have gotten ahead of you and it’s too late for prevention, there are plenty of treatment options out there that’ll enable you to bid farewell to those folds and creases.

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3790843/
[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6791161/

Avatar for Megan Foley

Megan has been a freelance writer and editor since 2016. In that time, she’s penned a diverse collection of articles for online publication, with a focus on skincare and beauty. From in-depth product reviews to concise marketing content, Megan is passionate about developing content that informs, entertains, and inspires.