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The Different Types and Names of Wrinkles.

As we age, we are all confronted with the appearance of wrinkles, a natural consequence of skin aging. These wrinkles can range in depth from a few micrometers to a few millimeters and form more or less deep grooves on the skin's surface. In this article, we take stock of the different types and names of wrinkles that appear on the face in order to know how to recognize them, to slow down their arrival and to attenuate them.

Facial Wrinkles: What Are We Talking About?

Wrinkles are one of the telltale signs of skin aging. They are structural changes visible on the skin's surface in the form of folds and grooves. They result from a decrease in the number of fibroblasts in the skin, key cells in the dermis that produce collagen fibers. These are responsible for keeping the skin firm, and elastin, which is responsible for maintaining its elasticity, as well as hyaluronic acid molecules to maintain good hydration. Indeed, when the skin ages, their production by the body decreases. In addition, keratinocytes divide more slowly with age, causing the epidermis to become thinner and more vulnerable and to fold more easily, or by a reduction in the subcutaneous fat layer (hypodermis) that defines the volumes of the face.

They are not necessarily and solely due to skin aging. Several secondary factors may be responsible for these facial wrinkles, including the constant pull of gravity; frequent and constant positional pressure on the facial skin (for example, during sleep); and repeated facial movements caused by contractions of muscles that mimic facial expression (for example, smiling, curling up of the lips, frowning, etc.). We thus distinguish two main types of facial wrinkles, corresponding to two distinct formation processes, named static and dynamic wrinkles.

Expression Lines or Dynamic Lines.

Expression or dynamic lines are the first to appear on the face. Indeed, around the age of 30, collagen and elastin production starts to decrease by about 1% per year. They are caused by the constant movements of the facial musculature in daily life when we make expressive mimics, such as frowning, widening the eyes, frowning, clenching the jaw or smiling. These multiple contractions progressively reduce the elasticity of the skin and bend it.

It is important to know that the face 

has 43 facial muscles capable of performing 

approximately 10,000 contractions per day

 to convey our different emotions. 

This type of wrinkle reveals our different expressions.

They do not appear systematically on the skin, but only when making a mimic on the face. However, over the years, as we contract our muscles, these folds become permanent and deepen due to alterations in the skin layers. There are different types of expression lines, depending on their location, named: 

  • Forehead wrinkles: These are horizontal lines that appear each time the eyebrows are raised;

  • Frown lines (inter-brow lines or glabella lines): These are vertical or horizontal furrows located between the eyebrows. They result from the contraction of the muscles in this area, particularly when the eyebrows are frowned upon;

  • Rabbit lines (or witch lines): This type of wrinkle refers to the folds located at the lateral and upper edges of the nose, resulting from the repeated contraction of the muscles that raise the nose and the upper lip. They appear especially when we express our dissatisfaction;

  • Crow's feet (or periocular wrinkles): Located around the eyes, these are the first wrinkles to appear, especially when we laugh or smile. The skin around the eyes is 4 to 5 times thinner than the rest of the face and is subject to up to 28,000 blinks a day, which explains the appearance of small wrinkles earlier. In fact, our eyes wrinkle and dig these fine grooves.

A lack of hydration tends to promote the appearance of these expression lines. It is therefore essential to moisturize the skin several times a day by applying a moisturizing cream and a serum enriched with hyaluronic acid morning and night.

Static Wrinkles or Aging Wrinkles.

Static wrinkles appear later in life. They are the result of a natural decrease in structural proteins such as collagen and elastin, leading to a loss of firmness and elasticity. This phenomenon can also be linked to the general natural sagging of skin tissue under the influence of gravity, which pulls the skin downward, accentuating the effects. Indeed, with the loss of collagen and elastin, the skin is less toned to fight against this force. They are found everywhere, even on the body. These are their names and forms:

  • Nasolabial folds (smile lines or nano-labial folds): This type of wrinkle runs from the wings of the nose to the corners of the mouth. They often result in a sagging of the cheek and are most evident when we laugh or smile;

  • Sun crease wrinkles (smoker's wrinkles or bar code wrinkles): They extend vertically under the nose at the level of the upper lip contour. They are more pronounced in smokers and seniors, who are often exposed to the sun without protection;

  • Bitter lines (labio-chinese folds or marionette lines): These are vertical lines that run from the outer corners of the mouth to the chin;

  • Neck wrinkles (or Venus rings) and neckline wrinkles: These are horizontal lines. This phenomenon can be explained by the loss of subcutaneous fatty tissue that will underline certain bony areas of the face and thus accentuate the signs of aging, but also by bone loss. In addition, the neck skin is one of the thinnest of the body. As a result, it is more sensitive to external aggressions (sun exposure, etc…), which tend to cause premature sagging of the skin;

  • Sleep wrinkles: The position adopted during the night (crushing the face on the pillow) also has an impact on skin aging. The folds imprinted on the skin night after night end up remaining marked. They are often vertical, most often located on the cheeks, neck and décolletage, and may be more pronounced on one side than the other depending on the position you sleep in during the night.

One of the gas pedals of this phenomenon? The sun. Under the influence of the sun's rays, fibroblasts become dysregulated and their synthesis capacity is degraded. The elastin and collagen fibers produced are then of poor quality and fragmented. They no longer perform their maintenance role correctly. In addition, prolonged exposure to the sun tends to thicken the skin, and wrinkles caused by UV rays appear deeper because the folds formed are thicker.


  • HOTTA M. & al. The preliminary study of the relationship between facial movements and wrinkle formation. Skin Research and Technology (2012).

  • HOSAM W. & al. Forehead wrinkles: a histological and immunohistochemical evaluation. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology (2014).

  • LAMBROS V. & al. Sleep wrinkles: facial aging and facial distortion during sleep. Aesthetic Surgery Journal (2016).


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