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The Science of Aging Skin: Wrinkles, Crow’s Feet, Smile Lines and More

Learn how aging skin leads to wrinkles, nasolabial folds, crow’s feet and more. Learn how Lancôme’s anti-aging cream, eye cream and more can help slow signs of aging.


Aging is a natural part of life and, by all means, a good thing. Another birthday means more time to spend with friends, family and loved ones. With each new year, you may notice some changes in your skin. Wrinkles on the face, such as forehead wrinkles, crow’s feet and smile lines, and crepey skin may begin to emerge as visible signs of aging skin. To keep skin healthy looking throughout the aging process — and help it look as radiant and firm— it helps to know why and how aging skin happens. That way, you can best address it to keep skin looking as youthful as you might feel.

What causes aging skin?

There are two ways skin ages: through intrinsic factors and extrinsic factors. Intrinsic factors are found naturally throughout the body; these include your genetics, cellular metabolism and hormones. Not surprisingly, you don’t have that much control over these.

Extrinsic factors behind aging skin, on the other hand, cover everything beyond your body, such as UV exposure, pollution and toxins. You have relatively more control over these, depending on where you live and what your lifestyle is like.

For instance, research shows that UV exposure is responsible for about 80% of the visible signs of aging skin ; daily sunscreen use, in that case, can be helpful in minimizing the noticeable impact of sunlight on skin. Repeated movement in the form of facial expressions can also contribute to wrinkles, such as nasolabial folds (also known as smile lines) from smiling or laughing and crow’s feet from squinting or smiling.

How does aging impact skin?

Aging impacts the appearance of skin in a number of ways, such as dark spots, crepey skin texture and wrinkles and fine lines. One major source of change: The natural collagen and elastin act like scaffolding within the skin and give it a firm, smooth appearance, but break down with both age and sun exposure. Without that structural support, skin can loosen and sag.

Research suggests that sun exposure may also slow down and inhibit the production of collagen, further contributing to the formation of wrinkles and lax, crepey skin. (That explains why lines may first appear in areas that get the most amount of sun exposure, like forehead wrinkles and crow’s feet.)

Skin also produces less moisture with age. As we age, skin’s ability to retain moisture decreases and it becomes more vulnerable to dryness and dehydration. This can lead to crepey skin, dullness, less elasticity and visible sagging. Skin’s texture can also feel rough. Also, dry skin (and its shriveled-up cells) can in turn emphasize the appearance of wrinkles. Hydrating skin can go a long way to help address visible signs of aging skin.

And, last but certainly not least, sun exposure can contribute to the formation of dark spots on skin (which is why they’re often referred to as age spots and sun spots).

How can you take care of aging skin?

For an anti-aging skincare routine that helps to target the appearance of sagging skin, under-eye wrinkles and other signs of aging skin, a multifaceted approach can help. Start with sunscreen, as UV exposure is one of the biggest contributors to wrinkles. Our UV Expert Gel Sunscreen offers both SPF 50 and doubles as a face primer for seamless layering. (That’s above the minimum SPF 30 recommended by the American Academy of Dermatology for everyday use.) Without sunscreen, there’s not much of a point in using anti-aging skincare, which brings us to the next point.

Targeted treatments like a face serum and sheet mask can also help. As there are multiple signs of aging skin, from fine lines and wrinkles to dullness, try a versatile face serum like Advanced Génifique Face Serum. Designed to target signs of aging, it visibly improving radiance in just 7 days . Advanced Génifique face serum also accelerates skin surface recovery for a stronger skin barrier. When the skin’s natural moisture barrier is intact, it acts like a shield to help defend skin’s surface against pollution, UV and cold or dry weather. Whether you have forehead wrinkles or smile lines, an allover approach with a face serum can help skin look healthy and more youthful.

Another essential is an anti-aging cream that also moisturizes skin, which can help improve the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. Rénergie Lift Multi-Action Ultra Face Cream with SPF 30, contains lipo hydroxy acid and linseed extract, and acts on the key visible signs of aging, lifting and firming skin. Not only does the lightweight wrinkle cream offer SPF 30 to help defend against UV rays, but it also provides 24-hour hydration and targets dark spots. It’s a sunscreen, moisturizer and anti-aging cream in one.

For fine lines and wrinkles under the eyes, a dedicated eye cream like Rénergie Lift Multi-Action Ultra Eye Cream may help. Infused with caffeine, linseed extract and hyaluronic acid, this eye cream visibly leaves skin feeling firmer and lifted, as if you’ve had a good night sleep, and delivers 24-hour hydration to the eye area. It also reduces the appearance of dark circles as well as puffiness around the eyes for an all-around more youthful look.

For a weekly treatment to help improve the appearance of wrinkles and crepey skin, we suggest trying a potent mask. Rénergie Lift Multi-Action Ultra Sheet Mask, which is like a wrinkle cream and face mask in one, packs 20 grams of Rénergie Lift Multi-Action Ultra Face Cream and has a higher concentration of linseed extract than the Face Cream to leave skin firmer and more radiant in just 20 minutes. It also hydrates skin, tackling the dryness associated with aging skin. The two-piece mask allows for a more customized fit and more comfortable wear.

By incorporating anti-aging skincare into your everyday routine, you are on your way to help improve the visible signs of aging skin. Because while wrinkles are a natural part of life — smile lines are well worth the smiles — that doesn’t mean you can’t make the aging process go a little more smoothly.

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