7 Things That Cause Men's Wrinkles

Wrinkles tend to be thought of as something that affects only older people, but wrinkles begin to appear in some men as young as 20. But what actually makes skin wrinkle? Here are seven causes of wrinkles in men.

A man smoking a cigarette
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Sun Exposure

Spending time in the sun is the number one cause of wrinkles. Ultraviolet UVA and UVB rays are the most damaging to the skin, and overexposure to sunlight has the same effect as superficial thermal burns. The amount of exposure it takes to cause damage is influenced by age, skin color and total exposure time.

If you repeatedly overexpose your skin to sunlight, collagen fibers beneath the skin break down causing increased wrinkling. Avoiding the sun altogether or covering your skin are the best ways to fully protect your skin. Using sunblock cream or lotion is also important, no matter how much time you plan to spend in the sun.


By now, most people understand that there's nothing glamorous about smoking cigarettes. The skin damage caused by smoking is plainly evident when you compare smokers with nonsmokers. There is resounding evidence that smoking damages the skin and causes increased facial aging, less than flattering color change and wrinkling.


Some experts believe that changes in hormone levels as we age can lead to wrinkles. Although hormones are cited in the literature as affecting the skin and causing wrinkles, there have been a limited number of studies on the influence of testosterone for wrinkles in men. The action of testosterone leads to thicker facial skin in men. As testosterone levels lower with age, the elasticity of the skin is reduced, and this could lead to wrinkles.

Skin Color

The most important skin coloring pigment is melanin, which helps protect the skin against the harmful rays of sunlight. Less sunlight damage means fewer wrinkles. As such, people with lighter skin tend to wrinkle more quickly than those with darker skin.

Weight Fluctuations

As you age you often lose more of the subcutaneous fat that lies just beneath the skin. This loss of fat is especially noticeable on the face, which makes wrinkles look more noticeable.

Gravity and Habitual Expressions

You only have to look at the mouth and the forehead of an older adult to see the results of gravity. Unfortunately, some wrinkles are inevitable, and there isn't much you can do about those that are a normal side effect of aging. Frown lines, those between the eyebrows, and crow's feet, the lines that radiate from the corners of the eyes, appear to develop because of permanent small muscle contractions. Habitual facial expressions also form characteristic lines.

Your Family

How we look and how our wrinkles are distributed have a lot to do with what we inherit. You can view your wrinkles as your history, a history that you can minimize but one that will always be with you.


6 Tips for Preventing Wrinkles

A Word From Verywell

If you want to prevent wrinkles, the best tactics are to never smoke and to protect your skin from the sun. You won't be able to modify your natural skin color or your genes, so it pays to pay attention to what you can change. Using a moisturizer can also minimize the appearance of fine lines, although it won't prevent wrinkles.

7 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  2. Skin Caner Foundation. All about sunscreen.

  3. Urbańska M, Nowak G, Florek E. Cigarette smoking and its influence on skin aging. Prz Lek. 2012;69(10):1111-4.

  4. Bernard P, Scior T, Do QT. Modulating testosterone pathway: a new strategy to tackle male skin aging?. Clin Interv Aging. 2012;7:351-61. doi:10.2147/CIA.S34034

  5. Vashi NA, De castro maymone MB, Kundu RV. Aging differences in ethnic skin. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2016;9(1):31-8.

  6. Makrantonaki E, Bekou V, Zouboulis CC. Genetics and skin aging. Dermatoendocrinol. 2012;4(3):280-4. doi:10.4161/derm.22372

  7. Penn Medicine. The truth about wrinkles: 5 common wrinkle myths debunked.

Additional Reading

By Jerry Kennard
 Jerry Kennard, PhD, is a psychologist and associate fellow of the British Psychological Society.