Another evil in the world of aging ungracefully is the emergence of crinkly skin.
This is a different subject than sagging, turkey wattles. Sagging skin that you see on your neck or under your eyelids is another issue for a separate post. They can often go together, but need to be approached differently. Crinkly skin is a skin problem, sagging skin is an underlying muscle/skin problem and various instruments are helpful;
Crinkly skin. Imagine you had thirty pounds to lose, suddenly did so in one month, but forgot to tell your skin. The resulting look is much like wadded up parchment paper that someone tried to smooth out. It often, but not always, happens all over not just the face. Crinkles.
It looks detached, unconnected, thin like crepe paper and when faced with this in the mirror: evil.
It often is accompanied by spots and discolorations, more noticeable in northern European skin types.
There is a certain amount of genetic predisposition toward this condition so you will have to look back in time at the family photos to see how much of this is Nature having her way. Women seem to have this more than men and to a more noticeable degree. The onset can be quite rapid over the course of a year or two, in some cases, much less.
What, you ask calmly, while growling like a starving cat, is going on?
Physical condition can be an issue. If you do not exercise then you are asking for trouble. If you eat poorly bad things can happen. Weak muscles and so-so conditioning are going to have visible results.
But let’s say that is not your situation. You are fit and suddenly your skin has the cracks, crevices and crinkles of an ancient lava flow.
Hmmm, let’s look at your visible geologic history.
Baked in the sun decades ago? Still? Don’t think for a moment that sunscreens will prevent this or help reverse it. Solar elastosis is the textbook description of the problem in the mirror. Meaning that the skin proteins shaped like Slinky springs that we had in our adolescence have become little tangled wads of gristle in part because of excessive exposure to ultraviolet radiation.
Mutated daughter cells (the gristle) lurking deep in the dermis can be disposed of to a large degree. The process of cell apoptosis (weeding out the gristle) is helped by the use of Vitamin A, specifically in topical form using retinol, an uncharged, and therefore desirable form of the vitamin.
The use of retinol in topical application can have very significant and positive visible results IF AND ONLY IF the application frequency is kept to not more than once or twice per week. Daily application of vitamin A will aggravate the very problem you are trying to solve.
Vitamin A is a very potent skin metabolite. BUT. It has a Dr. Jekyll / Mr. Hyde trait. It must be dosed in high concentration with limited frequency to prompt a positive response. Frequent topical application will cause visible problems.
There are other uncharged forms of vitamin A. The Skin Dork prefers retinol above all others. Avoid the charged acid form (retinoic acid) for best outcomes and fewer reaction issues.
Certain lasers also help to weed out the gristle. The only caution here is that this is not a systemic remedy – it is temporary. The gristle will come back in several months. Over frequent treatments of even the most sophisticated lasers can aggravate and cause poor skin texture.
If you have addressed your physical condition and sun damage, the next step is to help cell signaling by prompting positive extracellular matrix activity. The cells need to talk to each other politely in order to prevent gristle formation as a result of bad habits during chronologic aging.
In other words, even if you lived like a hothouse plant, were vibrant and healthy, and never saw the sun, the crepey, crinkly thing can happen. But usually it’s from baking in the sun.
302 Skincare has several approaches to that. One is the 302 molecule, a metabolite that has demonstrated positive cell signaling support in the extracellular matrix (ECM). Look for 302 DROPS.
This in combination with retinol as in 302 Skincare’s A 1.0 DROPS are the best one two combination to combat crinkles at the cellular level.
What about other ways?
Vitamin C works in the dermis and theoretically should help weed out spots and build dermal collagen. It can be easily over applied and quickly fatigue the skin, however. It also is hit and miss. Some do very well with it, others, not so much. Once or twice per week with a high concentration is the best approach.
There are many other topical products and a variety of instruments and procedures that have been devised to ‘tighten’ things up for the moment. These are primarily intended for saggy skin not crinkles. But, let’s look at them.
Topicals use a variety of ingredients to tighten crepe paper skin not dissimilar to having egg white dry on your face. If you twitch a muscle it feels like you might shatter. These products generally rely on proteins to firm the skin temporarily – like tonight. The next morning you are back to the parchment paper crunch but you can always apply it again.
The problem with these quick fixes is that repeated applications will weaken the skin, cause breakouts or rash and in general create more difficulties than they solve. Marketing companies are happy even if you try their product only once. They made the sale. And that’s what counts. If it really doesn’t do much, well, they made the sale.
What about instruments like RADIO FREQUENCY (RF) that tighten the skin? The Skin Dork posted previously on these instruments and is not a fan for home use. These devices create heat to rearrange S-H bonds in the skin that will give you a tightening, smoothing effect for a short while. But, the heat can become excessive and hot spots easily occur that do tissue damage.
Better to have this procedure done by a professional with experience. Their expensive instruments have the feedback controls to monitor skin temperature which must not exceed 115F.
Micro-current devices are one of the preferred methods of skin tightening and the results last for weeks. Muscles in the skin, called pilli muscles are exercised and toned by micro-current and that’s a good thing. The only caution to micro-current devices is excessive use can create tissue knotting. The visible outcome can be very uneven and take many months to unwind.
Micro-current also addresses The Big Sag Look so what’s not to like?
Combine micro-current with an effective topical regimen and this is a very effective anti-crinkle smoothing approach.
Ultrasound is by far the best method to weed out gristle and tighten the skin. But, quality home use instruments are difficult to source. The Skin Dork will discuss ultrasound in another post.
Do not waste time with LED devices. End of subject. The use of Infrared Light is a definite maybe, it is a heat source and there is a spectral benefit. This is a subject all to itself and the Skin Dork will post on that in the future.