The human face is a powerful communication tool. We do not need to utter a word, our facial expression can say much. As a non-verbal communication tool, facial expression is unparalleled. The term "expression" implies the existence of something that is expressed.
We achieve our different expressions by manipulating the muscles that lie under our facial skin, in the process, the skin gets manipulated.
Some animals exhibit expressions (e.g. monkeys make faces), but humans have the most ability for facial expressions. This is probably because no other animals have evolved as complex a set of facial muscles as humans have.
Wrinkling of the skin may be accelerated by excessive exposure to the sun and other elements, overactive facial expression muscles, the frequent use of tobacco products, poor nutrition, or skin disorders. Creams that claim to eradicate wrinkles are usually very expensive and are the focus of a section of the cosmetic industry. It is an industry worth billions of dollars, especially in the Western world.
Here in Nigeria , plastic surgery to eradicate wrinkles; which was extremely rare about a decade ago, is now available. A facelift is not such a strange thing anymore. Is it really worth the trouble?
There used to be a beautiful English singer called Tina Charles. She sang a couple of popular catchy songs like "Someone taught me how to dance last night,". I saw her being interviewed on television a few years ago. I almost fell off my chair! I could not recognize her at all. She looked terrible!! All her features had changed. I asked a friend who was with me, ‘What happened to her?’ (my friend is current with monitoring Popstars and things like that). She answered me in three clipped words – Repeated plastic surgery. Maybe explaining how our facial muscles work, will help some people to accept aging gracefully. It is natural. That is the crux of this article.
Facial muscles: The facial muscles are like elastic sheets that are stretched in layers over the cranium, facial bones, the openings they form, the cartilage, fat, and other tissues of the head. These are the muscles that form our facial expression, acting singly and in combination. Our skin has four layers, and each shows the effects of aging differently. The deepest layer is muscle. As I progress, I will elaborate on how it affects wrinkling.
Wrinkles: It has been said that there are two types of wrinkles; (a) Expressive wrinkles (b) Micro wrinkles. We are more concerned with expressive wrinkles. Expressive wrinkles appear throughout life i.e. from crying babies to adulthood. Our facial expressions become more permanently visible over time as expressive wrinkles. As we age, the facial skin becomes less elastic and expressive wrinkles become more set on our faces (it is interesting to note that some people with expressionless faces seem to wrinkle less readily, e.g. the Chinese). An older face has more wrinkles and the wrinkles are more pronounced. Expressive wrinkles are a major sign for recognizing or estimating age.
How do facial expressions cause wrinkles? Fine surface wrinkles progress to deeper creases, deepening facial expression due to repeated skin folding, and deep folds which develop with one’s maturity are obvious changes which may combine to portray a less desirable appearance.
Expression lines result from years of laughing, frowning and squinting. And from the tension that we carry in our facial muscles when we react to stress! These constant, daily facial movements create muscle-induced lines that deepen over time. The longer the muscles remain tensed, the deeper the expression lines become.