What is the origin of wrinkles?

Did you ever stop to wonder, where do wrinkles come from? We talk a lot about wrinkles on this website--mainly in terms of how to get rid of them. But knowing how wrinkles form in the first place, knowing what contributes to their severity, can be exceptionally useful. That’s why today we’re talking about what wrinkles actually are and where they come from.

where do wrinkles come from?

We all know that wrinkles are a sign of aging, but where do wrinkles come from in the first place? What is it about aging that connects so squarely with lines and wrinkles? Whether there’s a causal link or a corroborating link, wrinkles and aging are almost one and the same to broader society.

Where Do Wrinkles Come From, Really?

That can create some discomfort. Even if you’re still pretty young, you might see lines and wrinkles popping up that have nothing to do with aging. But that might still make you feel older.

It’s easy to see why the mitigation of wrinkles is popular, and why people are willing to pay top dollar in order to see their wrinkles disappear. If the wrinkles are gone, so too is the aging. Knowing where those wrinkles come from in the first place is an important piece of information to have if you want to fight those wrinkles. It makes sense, then, that cosmetic and plastic surgeons (as well as medical device and injectables companies) have invested a significant amount of money into answering just this question. So, what’s the answer? Where do wrinkles come from?

Several Factors Contribute to Wrinkles

As should not be surprising for something as complicated as the human body, there are several factors that contribute to the development of wrinkles over one’s lifespan. We’re going to take a look at some of the more major factors that might create lines or wrinkles, in no particular order.


Your skin is kind of like a layer of armor, protecting you from the elements. But that protection comes at a cost, because your skin can’t handle everything. Every gust of wind, ray of sunshine, dry spot–eventually they all add up. And over time, your armor will develop cracks–or, wrinkles, as it were.

Loss of Elasticity

Perhaps the single biggest factor in the development of wrinkles is the loss of elasticity in your skin. When you’re young, your skin can bounce back–from just about anything. But as you age, your skin loses that ability. Your skin loses what’s called “elastin” as well as collagen. This can lead to both the formation of excess skin and the development of wrinkles (there are other drawbacks, too, but those are the two we’re most concerned with).

Excess Skin

Sometimes, lines and wrinkles are caused by that very same excess skin that your loss of elasticity enables (I told you there were intertwined, complex factors). Any excess skin doesn’t really have a place to go, so it just kind of folds up where it is. And you know another word for a fold? That’s right, a wrinkle!

Daily Habits

Your daily habits are also going to have a significant impact on the health of your skin and, therefore, the appearance of lines and wrinkles. Smoking, for example, is one of the worst things you can do for your skin and will eventually lead to significant wrinkle and line formations. And some daily habits can keep wrinkles away. For example, ensuring you are properly hydrated can help keep wrinkles at bay.

You Can Only Control So Much

Genetics is, of course, one of the other incredibly important variables in the formation of wrinkles and lines. Sometimes you have genes that resist wrinkles. And sometimes you don’t. It’s important to keep in mind that there’s only so much you can control when it comes right down to it.

That’s why so many people take to mitigating wrinkles instead of trying to prevent them. Depending on the cause of the wrinkle, you might try dermal filler injections or Botox injections or another type of skin treatment. It’s important to know where those wrinkles come from, however, because each type of wrinkle will have a different treatment that is best suited to achieve optimum results.

If you really want to get rid of wrinkles, then a trip to your cosmetic or plastic surgeon just might be able to do the trick. But it’s also important to remember that wrinkles are something that occur naturally. To a certain extent, you’re never going to totally eliminate lines and wrinkles (that might look unnatural and odd if you could). The trick is mitigating the right wrinkles for your face. And the ultimate goal is pretty simple: for you to feel comfortable and confident.


  • “Where Do Wrinkles Come From?” Wonderopolis, wonderopolis.org/wonder/where-do-wrinkles-come-from.
  • “Why Does Skin Wrinkle with Age? What Is the Best Way to Slow or Prevent This Process?” Scientific American, www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-does-skin-wrinkle-wit/.
  • “Wrinkles.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 7 Mar. 2018, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/wrinkles/symptoms-causes/syc-20354927.

About the Author: Nick Engebretson has been writing about plastic surgery for nearly twenty years. During that time he’s had innumerable conversations with plastic and cosmetic surgeons about their practices.

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