Does Dry Skin Cause Wrinkles?

Understanding the root cause of wrinkles and other signs of aging is an important first step before working to minimize them. Why? Because most of the signs of aging on our skin are caused by "extrinsic" or external factors, including unprotected sun exposure, smoking, repetitive facial gestures and even environmental pollution - factors that we can control. On the other side is "intrinsic" aging, which is caused by internal factors, such as genetics, over which we have little control.

It's this latter category that can cause confusion when it comes to aging. Many believe that the skin type they're born with dictates the degree to which their skin will wrinkle. We receive a number of skin-related questions at Lexli and among them we often read statements like, "I have a lot of wrinkles caused by dry skin" or "at least I won't get wrinkles because of my oily skin type!" The facts aren't quite that straightforward, however.

Dry Skin and Wrinkles

Dry skin is that which lacks proper sebum (skin oil) levels. Without enough of these protective oils, the skin experiences a higher rate of trans-epidermal water loss, which causes the tell-tale signs of dryness, including dull complexion, rough texture, flakiness and discomfort/itchiness. When skin is dry or dehydrated, fine lines and wrinkles are far more apparent. This is because sebum improves skin elasticity and without enough of it, skin doesn't spring back.

Note the distinction: dry skin doesn't cause wrinkles. It just exacerbates the appearance of wrinkles. For those with dry skin and wrinkles, repairing the skin's barrier function and optimizing skin hydration through the use of well formulated moisturizers and serums is key. When this is accomplished, the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles can be minimized in those with dry skin.

Oily Skin and Wrinkles

On the other hand, oily skin types have more sebaceous glands, particularly in the forehead area. Areas of increased sebaceous glands typically have a thicker dermis layer - two factors that allow for improved skin elasticity and fewer deep wrinkles. However, as outlined in a recent study, having oily skin does little to protect you from wrinkles in the eye area.

The Takeaway

Rather than focusing on genetics and intrinsic causes of aging that we can't control, it's best to put into place a solid skin care routine that includes regular exfoliation, to optimize skin function; use of a well-formulated moisturizer, to optimize skin hydration; and a broad-spectrum sunscreen to protect your skin from premature aging due to UVA and UVB exposure.

Learn more about building the ideal skin care routine in our post titled "How to Stop Premature Aging."