How to Prevent and Treat Rhytids or Wrinkles

A rhytid, (ri′tid), is a wrinkle in the skin. The skin is composed of three layers: the epidermis, the dermis, and subcutaneous fat.

Each layer of skin is affected by aging, genetics, and environmental factors. And wrinkles can result from these factors.

1:28

Watch Now: 6 Tips for Preventing Wrinkles

Your Skin

The layers of skin tend to become thinner when tissue production slows with aging, making the skin susceptible to changes in appearance, as well as damage.

  • The epidermis, the top layer of the skin, produces melanin, which gives the skin its color. It also protects the skin against environmental toxins, with special cells known as keratinocytes. Some parts of the body, like the soles of the feet, have a thicker epidermis. The eyelids have a thinner epidermis.
  • The dermis, the middle layer of skin, has many functions. It is the source of sweat glands and skin sensation. It also grows hair and produces oil to keep skin smooth. It is the location of blood vessels that feed the skin and remove toxins.
  • The subcutaneous fat layer is the bottom layer of skin. With its special connecting tissue, it attaches the dermis to muscles and bones. It supports the function of nerve cells and blood vessels. It is also responsible for controlling the temperature of the body and padding muscles and bones to protect them from bumps and falls.

Thinner skin that has less collagen and fat cells begins to show lines and wrinkles.

Causes of Wrinkles

Wrinkles are caused by a combination of different conditions. Some people are genetically predisposed to develop wrinkles, and there are also other causes.

Some causes of wrinkles include:

  • Aging
  • Ultraviolet light from sun exposure and tanning beds
  • Exposure to harmful substances for a prolonged period of time
  • Smoking
  • Poor nutrition
  • Dehydration

The constant contraction of facial muscles, such as squinting or smiling can also lead to the development of fine lines and wrinkles. With thinner skin, the muscles are no longer able to maintain the skin's flexibility and retain its shape.

Types of Wrinkles

Static wrinkles are seen with the face totally at rest.

Dynamic wrinkles become evident when we smile, frown, or squint,

Blue Eye of Elderly Woman
Paul Burns/DigitalVision/Getty Images

Treatment of Rhytids

For most people, fine lines and wrinkles on the skin are part of the aging process. Wrinkles appear as creases or folds in the skin. They are seen on the face, neck, hands, and other parts of the body. Some people are bothered by the way their wrinkles look.

Static Wrinkles

Static wrinkles respond to the treatments listed below:

When they are applied to the skin, lasers are laid down in a grid to target the water in the epidermal and upper dermal cells. The water molecules instantaneously rise to above twice the boiling point and are vaporized. New collagen is formed, and existing collagen fibers are contracted, tightening lax skin. There is a healing period of about one week before makeup can be applied. Lasers have been used on the face, chest, and hands.

Dermal fillers are injected into the soft tissue. They are used to soften the smile lines around the mouth, and under the eyes to diminish the appearance of wrinkles and dark circles. They are also used to increase volume in the cheeks, jawline, and back of the hands.

Dynamic Wrinkles

Dynamic wrinkles are treated with the neuromodulators such as Botox Cosmetic, Dsysport, Xeomen, and Rejuva.

Neuromodulators are injected into facial muscles, causing paralysis. They are commonly used to smooth the appearance of wrinkles around the eyes by preventing the paralyzed muscles from contracting. They can also prevent wrinkles from forming on the forehead and at the corner of the eye by preventing the muscles from contracting.

Prevention of Wrinkles and Fine Lines

Simple lifestyle changes can help reduce or prevent the signs of skin aging.

Some of them include:

  • Wearing sunscreen on a daily basis
  • Not tanning
  • Moisturizing with topical creams on a consistent basis
  • Using over-the-counter products as directed
  • Avoiding products that sting or burn
  • Shopping for products wisely, with attention to their ingredients
  • Stopping smoking
  • Eating a balanced diet and drinking enough water
  • Reducing stress

Following these tips can help prevent or postpone the development of wrinkles or rhytids. If you aren't pleased with the results, consider consulting with a doctor to develop an individualized skincare plan.

Was this page helpful?
5 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.
  1. Naval J, Alonso V, Herranz MA. Genetic polymorphisms and skin aging: The identification of population genotypic groups holds potential for personalized treatments. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 2014;7:207-214. doi:10.2147/CCID.S55669

  2. Zhang S, Duan E. Fighting against skin aging: The way from bench to bedsideCell Transplant. 2018;27(5):729-738. doi:10.1177/0963689717725755

  3. Preissig J, Hamilton K, Markus R. Current laser resurfacing technologies: A review that delves beneath the surfaceSeminars in Plastic Surgery. 2012;26(03):109-116. doi:10.1055/s-0032-1329413

  4. Funt D, Pavicic T. Dermal Fillers in aesthetics: An overview of adverse events and treatment approachesPlast Surg Nurs. 2015;35(1):13-32. doi:10.1097/PSN.0000000000000087

  5. Satriyasa BK. Botulinum toxin (Botox) A for reducing the appearance of facial wrinkles: A literature review of clinical use and pharmacological aspectClin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 2019;12:223–228. doi:10.2147/CCID.S202919