Last Updated on November 17, 2020 by Dr Sanusi Umar MD

Plenty of individuals look to get wrinkle treatment for a younger, healthier look. One of the most obvious signs of aging skin is an increase in the amount and depth of a person’s wrinkles. More signs may include irregular pigmentation, skin thinning, and skin laxity. The difference in older skin is mostly due to, but not always, exposure to ultraviolet light.

A lot of people know that the sun can cause the skin to age prematurely. This premature aging is also referred to as photoaging. It’s not exactly clear with today’s research what the exact processes are regarding how the sun causes wrinkles. However, with a basic understanding, we can determine the simple connection between prolonged sun exposure and the damage it causes the skin. This information can help people to make informed decisions about their skin protection and wrinkle treatment.

What Are Wrinkles?

sun damaged and wrinkle treatment

This is a patient was seeking treatment for her wrinkles and sun damaged skin.


The wrinkling of the skin takes place in the dermis, the second layer of skin that consists of the structural skin elements and the majority of proteins that offer the skin its elasticity and strength, like collagen and elastin. As people get older, their cells divide more slowly and the dermis starts to thin. The network of collagen and elastin fibers begin to loosen, which causes depressions on the surface. This happens due to the dermis being made of 80 percent collagen. As we age, our collagen production slows down. Oil secretes in our sebaceous glands and those glands become enlarged as we age — yet they are not as efficient in lubricating the skin, instead of making it look dry and dull, enhancing the look of fine lines and wrinkles.

How Sunlight Causes Wrinkles

The UV radiation from sun tampers with three kinds of biochemical processes in the skin:

  1. Collagen repair and maintenance
  2. The forming of free radicals
  3. DNA repair and maintenance
Botox wrinkle treatment

This is a before and after photo of a patient who received Botox in order to remove the frown lines and wrinkles in her forehead.*

Sunlight and Collagen

UV rays hinder collagen fibers and increase the speed at which abnormal forms of elastin are created. When the accumulation process takes place, enzymes called metalloproteinases are created in greater amounts. This enzyme’s job is to heal the skin from damage caused by the sun by repairing and creating new collagen fibers.

Concentrations of higher-than-average aberrations in the functioning of the metalloproteinases start to occur. It will begin to actually break down collagen fibers, which assist in maintaining the skin’s firmness. Instead of assisting in developing healthy collagen, they create solar scars, which are made of collagen fibers arranged in a disorderly configuration.

Continuous repetition of these processes will cause wrinkles.

Sunlight and Free Radicals

UV rays cause oxygen molecules to become unstable by losing an electron and converting into free radicals. These molecules then steal electrons from other sources to regain their stable state. These other sources then become unstable themselves and look for electrons from other molecules.

This hindering process will cause damage to cells.  An example of this is that they activate the metalloproteinases responsible for breaking down collagen, another process that causes damage to DNA and prevents the skin’s ability to produce healthy skin.

Sunlight and DNA

An enzyme in our bodies known as T4 endonuclease 5 (T4N5) is supposed to fix damaged DNA. There is research that shows UV radiation is harmful to the functioning of this enzyme.


Wrinkle Treatment Options

In this Q&A vlog, Dr. Umar (aka Dr. U) answers frequently asked questions about dermal fillers and how long they generally last.

Using sunscreen may help keep someone from getting photodamage, but it won’t eliminate wrinkles that have formed from too much exposure from the sun. Sun damaged skin can be treated with the use of cosmetic lasers.

Fraxel Dual

The Fraxel Dual laser uses the 1550 nm wavelength, which is good for penetrating the dermal layer under the skin’s surface to better treat deep lines. The energy that comes from the laser heats the tissue on the skin in a way that instigates a healing response, which causes it to form new and healthy collagen fibers.

This 1550nm wavelength can also be used on darker-skinned patients because it’s not easily absorbed by melanin. Patients who have darker skin have more melanin present. This high concentration of melanin will absorb other wavelengths very readily and cause permanent scarring.

Spectra VRMIII

The Spectra laser uses the 1064 nm wavelength to help exfoliate the skin with results comparable to a chemical peel. However, lasers have evolved to become safer with the ability to deliver more predictable outcomes compared to other topical treatments.

A photo enhancer is applied to the skin as a lotion to help the laser penetrate the skin to cleanse pores and promote the remodeling of collagen structures.

Fraxel SR 1500

Fraxel SR 1500 works in almost the same way as the Fraxel Dual. The 1500 nm wavelength is better to use for milder forms of photodamage.

Technology today makes it possible to reverse the signs of sun damage to the skin. Fraxel laser will precisely treat the damaged areas, not affecting the healthy skin around that damage. Because of this, patients experience faster recovery and minimal downtime.

Patients who are seeking the best wrinkle treatment options are advised to consult with a board-certified dermatologist like Dr. U.

This patient notices difference hours after Dysport injections by Dr Umar. He shares his experience with the revolutionary cosmetic option.

Fillers for Wrinkles

Lasers help to improve the firmness, texture, and elasticity of the skin. Dermal fillers are recommended for patients who are looking to have certain lines softened or become a lot less visible.

For those who are new to the idea of using dermal fillers, Dr. U offer the following summary of different kinds of treatment and how they are typically used.

Fine, Superficial Lines

Using typical fillers like Juvederm, Radiesse and Restylane can be a huge challenge when it comes to fine lines on the skin’s surface. A more recent filler called Belotero has been specifically designed for this purpose.

Treating Deep Lines

Restylane and Juvederm should be used for deeper injections. However, there are cases where structural support is needed; in these cases, Radiesse is a good form of treatment.

Radiesse has small particles of calcium hydroxyapatite. The particles create a firm matrix underneath the skin to raise grooves and even refine the structure of facial contours.


Seeking Wrinkle Treatment

Belotero wrinkle treatment

This is a before and after photo of a patient who came to Dr.U’s Skin Clinic to receive treatment for her wrinkles.*


The Office of Dr. U offers free consultations to patients who are interested in getting rid of wrinkles and seeking treatment. If you are interested in having your questions answered and learning more about which options would be best for your wrinkle treatment goals, sign up for a consultation today with our online form using the button below, or call us at 310.318.1500 to schedule an appointment.


Frequently Asked Questions – Wrinkle Treatment Services in Los Angeles

Is it better to get laser skin resurfacing or dermal filler injections for wrinkle treatment?

During a consultation, an experienced dermatologist will recommend the best treatment option based on the affected area. Typically, laser skin resurfacing works well for individuals with superficial spots and lines, while fillers allow for a more targeted approach to deeper lines.

How much does a wrinkle treatment cost?

Cost varies according to the procedure performed, as well as the location of the doctor/clinic, among other things. For laser treatments, the cost may be priced per session, while injection procedures may be priced by volume/amount of product used. Treatment cost is typically discussed after an initial consultation with your provider.

Have more questions about wrinkle treatment? Submit them here:

Further Reading

See how laser treatment by Dr. U gave this Los Angeles teen a confidence boost.

Learn how the dermal filler Belotero was used to target a single vertical facial line in this Redondo Beach patient.