What Causes Wrinkles?

The best way to explain this is to picture a ball full of air.  First imagine that the air goes out of the ball.  The outer surface of the ball shrinks and wrinkles but if you put air in the ball, it plumps back up and the surface is smooth again.


It works the other way too.  Let’s say the ball gets left outside for a year and the surface is damaged and get all cracked and crinkley.  You could add air but it won’t correct the cracks and creases much.  Skin is the same way.  Depending on your particular skin sometimes the surface is good but creasing and wrinkling is due to volume loss.   And sometimes your volume is good but the surface is damaged.  Sometimes it’s both.


Fillers like Sculptra, Juvederm, Restylane, and Radiesse work with wrinkles by filling in the missing volume, like pumping up the ball again.  Lasers like Fraxel and CO2 or radiofrequency like Thermage or Ulthera help correct surface problems by smoothing and tightening the outer envelope, like repairing the surface of the ball that’s been left outside.

See our Topics page for Dr. Irwin’s articles on lasers, Thermage, Sculptra, fillers, and much more.

Dr. Brandith Irwin, MD

Ask me your skincare question!

Hi, I’m Dr. Irwin. I believe that consumers deserve a medically trained and unbiased skin care advocate.

  • All our content is written and researched by myself.
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