Wrinkles In Men: Causes and Treatment Options

Vicky Davis

Medically reviewed by Vicky Davis, FNP

Written by Our Editorial Team

Last updated 4/2/2021

You didn’t think you were that old, but one morning you woke up and suddenly that “All these lines on my face gettin’ clearer…” Aerosmith lyric hit close to home. And if you’re old enough to know that was an Aerosmith lyric before we said so, you definitely should continue reading.

In this article, we’re exploring the causes of wrinkles in men, what types of wrinkles are the most common and prevention and treatment options to keep your face youthful for as long as possible.

Causes of Wrinkles in Men

From spending too long in the sun to certain lifestyle factors, here are the main causes for wrinkles in men.

Sun Exposure

The skin is the largest organ in the body and is heavily influenced by factors in the environment. One of the biggest culprits of wrinkles in men is sun exposure.

UV light causes inflammation, immune changes, physical changes and more. Wrinkling of the skin is one of the most overt signs of aging, and sun exposure can cause wrinkling over time. In fact, UV exposure may account for up to 80 percent of visible signs of aging in the skin, including dry appearance and wrinkling.

The mechanisms of wrinkling are likely complex, but research indicates that UV exposure may reduce elastic properties of the skin, causing a sagging and wrinkled appearance.

If you’re concerned about wrinkles, the time to start wearing sunscreen is now. UV exposure is a gradual and cumulative factor that will most certainly give your skin aged appearance over time.

Smoking

It has long been a well-known claim that smoking causes skin to look older. But is there any science to back that claim? Well, yes.

Studies indicate that smoking is one important environmental factor in premature skin aging. In vitro studies indicate that tobacco smoke extract both impairs the production of collagen and increases the production of tropoelastin and matrix metalloproteinases (MMP). MMP degrades matrix proteins and causes an abnormal production of thickened, furrowed skin cells—which causes a wrinkled appearance.

Increased MMP levels also lead to the degradation of collagen, elastic fibers and connective tissue proteins. In studies conducted on hairless mice, tobacco smoke extract impacted dermal connective tissue.

If you’re a smoker, consider quitting to stay looking younger, longer. Not only will your skin thank you—the rest of your body will, too.

Hormones

As men age, testosterone levels naturally begin to diminish. A decrease in testosterone levels can lead to the appearance of aging skin

With aging, a decrease in hormone levels at the skin level changes skin moisture, elasticity and skin thickness. This can lead to a wrinkled, sagging appearance of the skin.

Here’s the good news—studies have demonstrated that hormone replacement therapy is able to improve the appearance of aging skin in men.

Weight fluctuations

As men age, they typically begin to lose the layer of facial fat that lies under the skin. This can lead to a more dramatic appearance of facial wrinkles. Additionally, gradual loss of skin elasticity leads to sagging. 

Genetics

A wrinkled appearance is also partially due to genetics. If you’re curious about how your skin might look when you’re older, look no further than Mom and Dad. Unfortunately, you can’t change your genes, so this is one factor you’re stuck with.

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Most Common Wrinkles in Men

According to a study conducted with 200 men and women aged 20 to 70, wrinkles manifested earlier in life and were more severe in men than in women. In this particular study, forehead lines were the first visible wrinkles in men.

Thankfully, there are many wrinkle treatment options to keep your skin looking youthful for as long as possible.

Wrinkle Treatments for Men

Wrinkle treatments can be split up into the several categories. These include:

Cosmetological care

Daily skin care

A daily skin care routine may increase skin regeneration, elasticity and smoothness, and thus temporarily change your skin’s condition. Using SPF in conjunction with topical treatments like retinoids and antioxidants protects the skin even further.

Non-invasive procedures

Aesthetic non-invasive procedures, such as regular facials, help to keep the skin looking clear and smooth—thereby helping your skin appear more youthful.

Topical treatments

Antioxidants

Antioxidants, such as vitamins, polyphenols and flavonoids, reduce collagen degradation in the skin. They do this by scavenging the free radicals that contribute to skin aging, thereby reducing the concentration in the skin.

Cell regulators

Cell regulators, such as retinols, peptides and growth factors improve collagen production in the skin. More collagen in the skin equals fewer wrinkles.

Invasive procedures

Chemical peels

Chemical peels work by resurfacing the top layer of skin. This helps to remove the damaged layer and replace the tissue with remodeled skin layers—and sometimes even spur the formation of new collagen.

Visible light devices 

Visible light devices, such as intense pulsed light (IPL), laser photo rejuvenation and radiofrequency (RF) can provide a more youthful look to the skin with very little downtime.

Injectables

Injectables, or fillers, are products injected within or beneath the skin to improve its physical appearance. Fillers can be derived from fat, collagen, hyaluronic acid or synthetic materials. Depending on which material you choose, the effects are temporary, semi permanent (one to two years), or permanent (longer than two years).

Botox

Botox® (Botulinum toxin) helps to slow down the visible aging process by preventing dynamic wrinkles and correcting static, anatomical wrinkles. It works by paralyzing the muscles that cause wrinkles, and is particularly effective for the “11s” (parallel wrinkles between the eyebrows), crow’s feet and forehead lines.

Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)

HRT with testosterone is another option for older men who have a low testosterone level. Studies indicate that increased testosterone levels can lead to more moisturized skin, higher elasticity and thicker skin.

Lifestyle habits

In addition to these treatment options, there are several healthy lifestyle habits you can adopt to aid in your quest for a wrinkle-free face. Here are several examples:

  • Quitting smoking

  • Low pollution exposure

  • Staying out of the sun

  • Maintaining low stress levels

  • Good nutrition

  • Physical activity

  • Control of your general health

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Takeaways

From sun exposure, to smoking and hormones, there are several factors at play when it comes to wrinkles in men. Thankfully, there are many different forms of treatment and lifestyle habits you can try to keep you looking young for as long as possible. Talk to your healthcare provider to find out what options may be right for you.

9 Sources

Hims & Hers has strict sourcing guidelines to ensure our content is accurate and current. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We strive to use primary sources and refrain from using tertiary references.

  1. Amaro-Ortiz, A., Yan, B., & DOrazio, J. (2014). Ultraviolet Radiation, Aging and the Skin: Prevention of Damage by Topical cAMP Manipulation. Molecules, 19(5), pp. 6202–6219. Retrieved from https://www.mdpi.com/1420-3049/19/5/6202/htm
  2. Imokawa, G. (2009). Mechanism of UVB-Induced Wrinkling of the Skin: Paracrine Cytokine Linkage between Keratinocytes and Fibroblasts Leading to the Stimulation of Elastase. Journal of Investigative Dermatology Symposium Proceedings, 14(1), pp. 36–43. Retrieved from https://www.jidsponline.org/article/S1087-0024(15)30508-6/fulltext
  3. Akazaki, S., & Imokawa, G. (2001). Mechanical methods for evaluating skin surface architecture in relation to wrinkling. Journal of Dermatological Science, 27, pp. 5–10. Retrieved from https://www.jdsjournal.com/article/S0923-1811(01)00115-3/fulltext
  4. Akazaki, S., Nakagawa, H., Kazama, H., Osanai, O., Kawai, M., Takema, Y., & Imokawa, G. (2002). Age-related changes in skin wrinkles assessed by a novel three-dimensional morphometric analysis. British Journal of Dermatology, 147(4), pp. 689–695. Retrieved from https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1046/j.1365-2133.2002.04874.x
  5. Scior, T., Bernard, & Do, Q. T. (2012). Modulating testosterone pathway: a new strategy to tackle male skin aging? Clinical Interventions in Aging, pp. 351. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3459575/
  6. Makrantonaki, E., Bekou, V., & Zouboulis, C. C. (2012) Genetics and skin aging, Dermato-Endocrinology, 4:3, pp. 280-284. Retrieved from https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.4161/derm.22372
  7. Luebberding, S., Krueger, N., & Kerscher, M. (2014). Quantification of Age-Related Facial Wrinkles in Men and Women Using a Three-Dimensional Fringe Projection Method and Validated Assessment Scales. Dermatologic Surgery, 40(1), pp. 22–32. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24267416/
  8. Scior, T., Bernard, & Do, Q. T. (2012). Modulating testosterone pathway: a new strategy to tackle male skin aging? Clinical Interventions in Aging, pp. 351. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3459575
  9. Journal of Investigative Dermatology. (2009, August 01). Molecular Basis of Tobacco Smoke-Induced Premature Skin Aging. https://www.jidsponline.org/article/S1087-0024(15)30511-6/fulltext

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.

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