Q&A: Why Does Skin Wrinkle More Around My Eyes?

close-up of a woman's eyes

Facial wrinkles — such as so-called “laugh lines” or “crow’s feet” — are the bane of many aging adults. Now, new research on cadavers may offer some insight into why some skin creases are more pronounced than others.

Differences in oil-secreting glands just below the skin may help explain why forehead wrinkles are shallower than wrinkles around the outer eye, according to a research team led by Yuichi Tamatsu, of Kagoshima University Graduate School of Medical and Dental Sciences in Japan.

Sebaceous glands are “microscopic glands that secrete sebum, an oily or waxy material, which lubricates the skin and protects it from water damage,” said Dr. Nitin Chauhan, a facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon and otolaryngologist at the University of Toronto.

Chauhan, who was not part of the new research, said that based on the study findings, it appears that wrinkles in the face tend to be deeper where sebaceous glands are less concentrated — namely, the outer corners of the eyes.

Chauhan also said evidence of a gland-wrinkle skin connection appeared to be confined to the top half of the face.

The study results were published in the July 1 online edition of Clinical Anatomy.