How to manage wrinkles

Wash make-up off before you sleep as leaving it on can speed up the ageing process and leave you with fine lines and wrinkles. / Net photo

Wrinkles are the lines and creases that form in the skin. Some wrinkles can become deep crevices or lines and may be especially observable around the eyes, mouth and neck.

Although wrinkles occur due to old age at times, health experts explain that a person can contribute to having wrinkles early.


According to Dieudonne Bukaba, a nutritionist at Avega Clinic Remera, as one ages, their body’s production of collagen decreases. This causes the skin to lose its elasticity which causes wrinkles. Apart from the natural ageing process, however, there are other factors which cause wrinkles, for instance exposure to the sun.


He explains that the sun’s ultraviolet rays cause free radicals to form in the layers of the skin. These free radicals damage one’s skin’s elastin fibres which contributes to wrinkles and skin cancer.


Dr Kenneth Ruzindana, a consultant at University Teaching Hospital of Kigali (CHUK) is of the view that wrinkles are caused by a combination of factors, some of which can be controlled and others can’t.

But the most common one is age. As one gets older, their skin becomes elastic, and more fragile. Therefore, increased production of natural oils dries the skin and makes it appear more wrinkled. Fat in the deeper layers of the skin diminishes, hence causing saggy skin in more pronounced lines’ crevices.

He also says that wrinkles occur due to ultraviolet light. Ultraviolet radiation speeds the natural ageing process that breaks down the skin’s connective tissue that is called collagen. Without collagen, the body loses strength and flexibility. The end result therefore, is wrinkling the skin prematurely.

Bukaba warns against smoking as it results in nothing good, but problems. For example, puffing a cigarette increases the number of free radicals in the body’s cells, this leaves the skin ageing too early.

Ruzindana explains that the nicotine in cigarettes causes narrowing of the blood vessels in the outermost layers of your skin. This impairs blood flow to one’s skin. With less blood flow, the skin doesn't get as much oxygen and important nutrients, such as vitamin A.

He, however, says that smoking doesn't cause wrinkles only on the face. But it is also associated with increased wrinkling and skin damage on other parts of the body, like the inner arms. Although the skin wrinkles may not be reversible, someone can avert wrinkles by quitting smoking immediately.

Bukaba also points out that poor nutrition could cause wrinkles. When one denies their body nutrient-rich foods, this can affect the health and strength of your skin.

A diet full of highly-processed foods won’t make the skin as strong and supple as it could be. Nutrient-rich foods like oily fish, protein and fresh fruit and vegetables contain the vitamins and minerals that the skin needs to maintain its soft, youthful glow.

“Repeated facial expression is another cause of wrinkles, for instance, facial movements and expression such as squinting, smiling can lead to fine lines and wrinkles. Each time a person uses a facial muscle, a grove forms beneath the surface of the skin and as the skin ages, it loses its flexibility and is no longer able to spring back into its place. These groves form permanent features on the skin,” Ruzindana states.

Lack of enough water in the body could risk wrinkles.

Collagen is the primary connective tissue in the skin and it’s mostly made up of water. Therefore, if a person becomes dehydrated, collagen molecules can crack and clump together, causing wrinkles to form on the skin’s surface, Bukaba notes.


Bukaba urges the use of anti-wrinkle creams, noting that if the skin care routine doesn’t contain anti-wrinkle creams, the skin might not be having the nutrients it needs to remain elastic and strong.

He points out that when someone is stressed or tired, their body releases excess cortisol, a hormone which is known to cause premature skin ageing and wrinkles.

 “Protect your skin from the sun. Limit the time you spend in the sun, especially midday, and always wear protective clothing, such as wide-brimmed hats, long-sleeved shirts and sunglasses.

“It is also important to moisturise. Dry skin withers plump skin cells, which can lead to premature fine lines and wrinkles. Moisturising traps water in the skin which helps mask tiny lines and creases. It may take a few weeks of regular use of the product before noticing any improvement in the skin,” he states.

Bukaba discourages smoking to improve the skin tone and texture and prevent wrinkles. But also encourages sleeping for eight hours per night and allow the body time to repair itself, and boost the skin’s rejuvenation process by applying anti-wrinkle night cream before bed.

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