Exclusive! Comparatively Speaking: Deep Wrinkles vs. Fine Lines By Tony O'Lenick

Industry expert Tony O'Lenick asks: What is the difference between deep wrinkles and fine lines? Steven Schwartz provides the answer. ...

Certainly one of the most important cosmetic benefits of an antiaging product is the reduction in the appearance of fine lines/wrinkles. As an industry, we need to look at two types of issues--deep wrinkles and fine lines--and how they are related. Generally it is known that wrinkles are caused by a number of factors: dry skin, genetics and most importantly photo damage. As our population ages, this issue will become more acute.

The goal for many products is the reduction in the appearance of fine lines while at the same time reducing deep wrinkles. This ability has been hampered by the inability to measure both accurately. In recent years, the industry's ability to measure changes in the skin has expanded to include visual assessments by trained technicians, image analysis in various forms, and by subjective questionnaires. We as an industry have also come to realize that a 4-week study does not do justice to a true antiaging product. In 3-4 weeks, consumers will see improvement with a basic moisturizer, but an antiaging product should be evaluated for 10-12 weeks to see and appreciate its added benefit.

Recent research using image analysis has turned up an interesting change/phenomena. Image analysis, over a 12-week study, has demonstrated a significant reduction in deep lines, which is good, but a concurrent significant increase in “fine lines” has been noted.

It certainly appears that the larger wrinkles can be significantly diminished by using antiaging products, through a flattening out process, but one of the byproducts of this process is additional “fine lines.” Research is being conducted on the interrelationship between these two, and how different products treat each.

Thus, in order to really see the impact of new antiaging technology, the industry probably should run studies longer, perhaps for 16 weeks. This may in fact be a scientific answer, but in the end, at what point does the consumer stop seeing improvements? And is this when we should stop? At the end of the day, studies need to correlate to “consumer-perceivable results." There is still much to do, but the industry is making progress.

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