John Libbey Eurotext

European Journal of Dermatology


Skin ageing: clinical and histopathologic study of permanent and reducible wrinkles Volume 12, issue 3, May - June 2002


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Inserm U. 503, Université Claude-Bernard et Hospices Civils de Lyon, 21, avenue Tony-Garnier, 69007 Lyon, France. Hôpital Dufourt 5F, CHU Lyon Sud, 69495 Pierre-Bénite Cedex.

Wrinkles are modifications of the skin associated with cutaneous ageing and develop preferentially on sun-exposed skin. The aim of the study was to analyse the clinicopathological features of wrinkles, among the different types of skin relief modifications. Despite its importance in dermato-cosmetology and skin ageing, few studies have been specifically devoted to wrinkles. In the present study, we analyzed the histological features of the pre-auricular wrinkle compared to retro-auricular skin, obtained from sixteen patients undergoing facial surgery; skin samples were immediately processed for routine histology and histochemical staining. Four types of skin depressions could be defined according to their depth: folds, permanent wrinkles, reducible wrinkles and skin micro-relief. Two different types of pre-auricular wrinkles were observed: (i) permanent wrinkles which were conserved after sampling and, (ii) reducible wrinkles which required in vivo staining to be visible at histology. Histological analysis of the epidermis and dermis of the skin forming the pre-auricular wrinkle revealed a normal skin morphology, identical to that of the skin immediately adjacent to the wrinkle. This was particularly striking for the reducible wrinkles which could not be individualized in the absence of in vivo staining. Both types of wrinkles comprised skin modifications observed in sun-exposed skin, however, in the upper dermis, permanent wrinkles showed a more pronounced accumulation of basophilic fibers, i.e. actinic elastosis, than reducible wrinkles did. These data suggest that the development of wrinkles could be secondary to actinic elastosis and to the disappearance of microfibrils and collagen fibers at the dermal-epidermal junction.