Does Dry Skin Cause Wrinkles?

dry skin and wrinkles

Can dry skin cause wrinkles? At first sight, it would seem so. People with dry skin tend to have more and deeper wrinkles than those with oily skin. Yet, wrinkles and dry skin aren’t related. Here’s why:

What causes wrinkles?

The main cause of wrinkles is sun exposure. Dermatologist Dr Natasha Cook explains: “Sun exposure accounts for 90 percent of wrinkles. The way the sun forms a wrinkle is it breaks down the support structures in the endoderm — it’s known as collagen or elastin. As these fibres break down we lose support and the skin becomes more easily creased.” You can prove this simply by comparing those body parts that are often exposed to the sun such as your hands and face with those that rarely see it, like your abdomen and inner arms. The latter parts have less wrinkles, are more firm and elastic and have no brown spots. Other factors, such as our genes and smoking, also contribute to the wrinkles and determine how our skin ages.

The connection between dry skin and wrinkles

Although dry skin can’t cause wrinkles, it can accentuate them. When skin is hydrated, it looks plump and moist, making wrinkles look less pronounced. When skin is dry, instead, its protective barrier, which prevents water loss, is damaged. Moisture escapes the skin and the sebum (the skin’s in-built moisturizer) it produces is not enough anymore to keep it moisturized. This makes wrinkles and flaws look more apparent. But while applying a moisturizer can reduce the appearance of wrinkles, it won’t make them disappear.

How can you treat dry skin and wrinkles?

The best way to prevent wrinkles is to stay out of the sun as much as possible and wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF of at least 15, better if of 30, every day, regardless of the weather (sun rays can penetrate through glass, clouds and be reflected on snow). Using products with retinoids and antioxidants, such as Vitamins C and E and Green Tea to name a few, which can fight the formation of free radicals that leads to wrinkles, is also helpful. Alpha Hydroxy Acids, such as Glycolic Acid also can, by exfoliating skin, reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Finally, you should also use a moisturizer with ingredients, such as glycerin, fatty acids, and ceramides, that can repair the skin’s protective barrier, thus preventing the water loss that leads to dry skin.

The Bottom Line

Although dry skin doesn’t cause wrinkles, it can accentuate them. By avoiding excess sun exposure, wearing sunscreen 365 days a year, and using skincare products with antioxidants, retinoids, AHAs and skin-identical ingredients (those that can repair the skin’s protective barrier), we can prevent the formation of new wrinkles and improve the appearance of the ones we already have.

Do you have both dry skin and wrinkles? How do you deal with them?

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  1. Regn says

    This was so helpful! Thanks for sharing :) I’m definitely going to buy a proper sunscreen this spring instead of a regular day cream with SPF 15 that I’m using at the moment. I just hope I can find something less greasy. Even though I have a really dry skin, all of the sunscreens I’ve tried so far felt too heavy on my face, especially in the Summer when I tend to sweat a lot.

    • beautifulwithbrains says

      Regn, you’re welcome. Finding a lightweight sunscreen, and one that’s alcohol-free too, is unfortunately not very easy. Have you tried Neutrogena? They make a fluid sunscreen that isn’t very heavy and not too expensive either.

  2. Janessa says

    I have dry skin, not very dry but dry enough to feel tightness and discomfort if I don’t put on a moisturizer within minutes of washing my face. Now that I’ve developed a better skincare routine, choosing the right products and such, I have super soft dewy skin and It doesn’t get that dry throughout the day anymore. I still have to apply a light moisturizer mid-day but it’s so worth the extra time.
    Good to know that dry skin doesn’t cause wrinkles. :] My question is, would it be easier to wrinkle skin that’s dry? It’s okay if you don’t know (no need to look it up) off the top of your head.

    AH I’m so happy to comment again. :] I’ve been awake for 16 hours and it’s not even 6:00 PM yet!! I’m so tired.

    • beautifulwithbrains says

      Janessa, I’m glad you’ve found a routine that works well for you. Mmm you mean whether you get more wrinkles if your skin is dry? I don’t think so. Wrinkles are determined by different factors such as genetics, sun damage etc, but on dry skin even small fine lines can look like deeper wrinkles, making people believe they age faster than those with oily skin. If anything, dry skin, because its protective barrier is damaged, is more prone to irritations and inflammations, and that can contribute to aging too. But using a moisturizer with ingredients that can repair it will fix it. So basically how many wrinkles you get and how fast you age depends more on the amount of damage your skin has suffered, whether through sun exposure, irritation, normal aging process, etc, than on your skin type.

      And get some sleep! I’m thankful for all your comments, but you need to take care of yourself too. :)

      • Janessa says

        Your answer is more than I expected! Thanks a bunch, Gio! I am so fascinated by beauty and science which means I’m learning more and you’re all I have to thank.

        Wow I woke up to 42 new emails (I get a lot daily anyways) and I thought to myself, “They must be from Giorgia!”


        • beautifulwithbrains says

          You’re welcome and I’m glad I’m inspiring you to learn more. It’s a fascinating topic, isn’t it?

          Lol, sorry for spamming your inbox. 😉

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