Skin Science, Aging Skin

Aging Naturally: Fine Lines, Wrinkles, and Collagen Production

by Neutrogena

Learn about the key causes and treatments & how sun may play a bigger role than you think.


Fine Lines & Wrinkles Explained

Fine lines and wrinkles are caused by the breakdown of collagen and elastin in the skin. Collagen and elastin provide the support structure for skin, helping to keep it smooth and resilient. As these fibers break down, the skin begins to lose its strength and elasticity. When this happens, fine lines and wrinkles can begin to appear. For most, exposure to the sun's damaging UV rays is the major cause of skin aging resulting in fine lines, wrinkles and rough texture. Heredity, the natural, aging process and even years of facial expression can also play a role. Most people first notice fine lines and wrinkles around their eyes and mouth.


Does Your Skin Need Collagen?

Collagen is a Greek word meaning "glue-producing". Though it is not necessarily sticky, it does help connective tissues such as the skin and tendons to hold together by forming a vast network of tough fibers. Collagen fibers strengthen the skin, while elastin helps the skin stretch and return to its original shape.1

Unfortunately, both collagen and elastin breaks down as you get older. Without this strong support structure, skin becomes less firm and loses its flexibility, which can lead to the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. While there's no way to prevent skin from aging, there are a number of products you can use to help treat it.


  • Sunlight can weaken collagen fibers. In fact, research shows that 90 to 95 percent of wrinkles are caused by sun damage.2 Dermatologists recommend that you use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30 to protect your skin from harmful UVA and UVB rays.
  • Vitamin E (tocopherol) has been found to help protect the skin against the signs of UVB damage.3
  • Studies show that products containing retinol, a form of vitamin A, can help reduce the visual effects of decrease in collagen production in the deep layers of the skin.3
  • Soy is a powerful antioxidant that may also play a role in reducing the visual effects of collagen loss.3

Fine lines and wrinkles caused by collagen loss are a natural part of the skin's aging process; you can determine how quickly-or slowly-they make their appearance. By taking the right steps now, you can help your skin stay healthy-looking and maintain its youthful appearance for years to come.

We recommend that you consult your dermatologist or physician for proper diagnosis and treatment.


  1. Batra R, Rami J. Clinical evaluation of the effect of a novel bi-metal complex on periorbital skin. Poster presented at: American Academy of Dermatology 65th Annual Meeting. February 2-6, 2007. Washington, DC.
  2. Dermatology Insights - a patient's guide to healthy skin, hair and nails. American Academy of Dermatology Inc. Fall, 2002.
  3. Directions in Residency. American Academy of Dermatology Inc. Winter, 2007. https://www.aad.org/members/publications/directions-in-residency/pdf-archive
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Skin Science, Aging Skin

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