Facial wrinkles are not only a sign of aging, but can also reflect the health status of our organs. Reducing wrinkles can even protect our organs.
The skin is the largest organ of the human body, and the health of the body is often reflected on the surface of the skin. When a person is sick, or often anxious and worried, not only will their gastrointestinal absorption capacity become poor, their qi (i.e. vital energy) and blood circulation will also become stagnant, which is not conducive to the growth of radiant and elastic skin. If the skin is unable to retain water, and the fascia does not have sufficient capacity to restore water, wrinkles will form on the face.
According to Dr. Mandy Lin, director of Dingyan Taipei Clinic, which specializes in traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurveda, the following common facial wrinkles represent health problems in different parts of the body:
Forehead Wrinkles and Cardiovascular Disease
In Ayurveda, the traditional Indian medicine, forehead wrinkles suggest sadness and anxiety. Sadness, anxiety, and other emotions cause the body to secrete more stress hormone–cortisol. And too much cortisol will increase the chance of cardiovascular diseases.
Modern medical research has also found that the deeper and more forehead wrinkles one has, the higher risk of death from cardiovascular diseases.
The European Society of Cardiology published a study, in which 3,200 participants between the ages of 32 and 62 were assigned scores by physicians, according to the number and depth of their forehead wrinkles. A score of zero meant no wrinkles, while a score of 3 meant many deep wrinkles.
Researchers tracked these participants for up to 20 years and found that people with a wrinkle score of 1 had a slightly higher risk of dying from cardiovascular diseases than those without wrinkles.
After excluding factors such as age, blood pressure, and blood lipid levels, the risk of death was almost 10 times higher for those with wrinkle scores of 2 and 3, in comparison with those with a score of zero.
Research suggests that relatively deep forehead wrinkles may be a sign of atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is a pathological condition, in which blood vessels become hardened, narrowed or even blocked due to the accumulation of lipids and the thickening of their lining, resulting in the formation of atheromatous plaques. Atherosclerosis is a common cause of cardiovascular diseases.
The formation of forehead wrinkles is associated with collagen loss and oxidative stress caused by excess free radicals, which can also lead to atherosclerosis. In addition, the blood vessels in the forehead are very small, so they may be more sensitive to plaque formation, which means that forehead wrinkles may be one of the early signs of vascular aging.
Eyebrow Wrinkling and Spleen Fatigue
In Ayurvedic facial diagnosis, wrinkles in the center between the eyebrows suggests a suspicious personality, while the wrinkles on the left eyebrow side signifies spleen fatigue, and the right side represents liver fatigue. A person with a fatigued liver and spleen is also prone to have liver and spleen diseases.
In addition, traditional Chinese medicine also believes that negative emotions are related to the liver and spleen. The liver can be harmed by anger, and the spleen can be harmed by prolonged contemplation. Furthermore, people who are angry and overly worried are naturally prone to frowning and even forming wrinkles.
Bags Around the Eyes and Lacrimal Grooves
Eye bags may be caused by what traditional Chinese medicine refers to as heavy dampness in the body and poor metabolism. It is related to water retention.
Dr. Lin explained that the skin around the eyes is the thinnest and most fragile part of the face. So if there’s too much moisture in the body, the skin around the eyes will easily protrude out, forming bags under the eyes.
Too much dampness in the body will also affect the spleen. Traditional Chinese medicine believes that the spleen is responsible for digestion, absorption, and transportation of nutrients, and is the source of the body’s vitality and biochemistry. Excessive dampness will cause the spleen to malfunction, causing all bodily functions to be in a suboptimal health state.
In addition, under-eye puffiness is partly caused by stress and will first manifest as dark circles under the eyes. Dark circles are related to poor circulation around the eyes, which leads to excessive tissue fluid around the eyes. According to Dr. Lin, “under-eye bags are caused by the severity of dark circles to a certain extent.”
There are two reasons for excessive fluid around the eyes:
- Nasal allergy
- Stress and poor sleep: This can cause an increase in intracranial pressure, making the circulation path from the head to the neck very tight, resulting in poor circulation.
Therefore, when dark circles appear under the eyes, it means that there are nasal allergies and sleep problems that need to be resolved, so as not to deteriorate into eye bags.
Crow’s Feet and Eye Disease
The formation of crow’s feet is related to eye diseases, and the main cause is the overuse of the muscles around the eyes. When people’s eyes are unable to see things clearly, they tend to squint unconsciously. And the overuse of orbicularis oculi muscles causes muscle hypertrophy, which makes it easy to form the lines at the end of the eyes when smiling.
Horizontal Wrinkles on the Nose, Between the Eyes
Horizontal wrinkles on the part of the nose between the eyes suggest fatigue of the heart. According to Dr. Lin, this type of horizontal lines are mostly found in women who are fragile and get tired easily.
Nasolabial Folds on the Cheeks
People with nose allergies often blow their noses and use their upper lips and nasal muscles repeatedly. Once these muscles become hypertrophic, they tend to form grooves around the cheeks, such as nasolabial folds and lacrimal grooves.
In Ayurveda, deep nasolabial folds at the corners of the mouth often suggest reproductive problems. In men, they may be related to sexual performance; and in women, they might be a warning sign for diseases of the ovaries and uterus.
Wrinkles on the Chin
The wrinkles on the chin suggest stress and are related to depression. Dr. Lin explained that when a person wants to talk but cannot, the tension around their lips will rise; and people who often smile bitterly will use their chin a lot.
3 Moves to Reverse Wrinkles and Improve Organ Health
Rome was not built in a day, so is the formation of wrinkles. Even if the aforementioned health problems (such as atherosclerosis, nose allergies, and liver and spleen fatigue) are treated and improved, it can only prevent the already formed wrinkles from continuing to deteriorate.
Dr. Lin explained that in addition to physical health, emotions, and overuse of local muscles, other causes include localized dehydration of the fascia and dryness of the skin, which can stiffen the wrinkles that have already formed.
To reverse the structural changes in the fascia and skin, and to restore their moisture and elasticity, it takes time and a number of methods. By using the following three methods, you can tone the organs while improving wrinkles.
Facial Cosmetic Acupuncture
Facial cosmetic acupuncture can directly adjust the tension of facial muscles and fascia, improve the dehydration of fascia, reverse wrinkles and even smooth them out.
A 2018 South Korean research review showed that facial acupuncture is effective in reducing the number and size of wrinkles, as well as improving blood circulation in the face, improving skin condition and reducing the size of the face.
A 2020 US review of several studies found that facial acupuncture may improve skin laxity associated with aging and also reduce the size of wrinkles.
Facial aesthetic acupuncture works primarily on the fascia, which has no obvious role in the presentation of facial expressions. However, it plays a very important role in making the contours of the face look natural, refreshed, toned, and elastic.
Having performed more than 35,000 acupuncture sessions, Dr. Lin explained that the energy system of both traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurveda, whether it is the meridians or chakras, is at the fascia level. Therefore, by improving the fascia of the face through cosmetic acupuncture, the local energy circulation will be improved.
Moreover, in traditional Chinese medicine, the internal organs and facial features have a corresponding relationship, and they influence each other through the meridians, or the channels of energy flow. “When the face is well adjusted, the internal organs are all taken care of,” she said.
Taking collagen and hyaluronic acid supplements can hydrate the fascia. Collagen and hyaluronic acid also exist in natural foods.
According to Dr. Lin, some people feel that taking collagen is ineffective, but it’s not meant to work immediately. It seeks to slowly fill the fascia with water to avoid wrinkle formation.
The skin can be moisturized with lotions, treatment masks, and other care products.
Lotions can also be used as an emollient for face massage to avoid wrinkle formation due to exerting too much force. “Some people do their own facial massage, but end up pulling loose the skin around their mouth and eyes,” reminded Dr. Lin.
Avoiding Bad Habits That Cause Wrinkles
Whether you use skin care products or cosmetic acupuncture, your appearance will eventually age and wrinkles will form, as you get older. However, avoiding the following behaviors can prevent the early appearance and deterioration of wrinkles, and make you look younger than your peers.
A sedentary lifestyle and bad posture: People who spend a lot of time on their cell phones and computers may have a hunched back, stiff shoulders, and neck, and the tension in the fascia of the shoulders and neck then extend to the head. When the tension of the cervical fascia becomes high, it becomes a very strong force that pulls the face downward.
Overtraining: On the other end, some people engage in exercises of overly high intensity. Dr. Lin pointed out that excessive training will affect the fascial tension adjustment, so exercise intensity should be moderate, and “going beyond the limit is as bad as falling short.”
Insufficient water intake and unhealthy eating habits: Insufficient water consumption will cause the skin fascia to dehydrate; eating too much food high in salt can also easily make the body dehydrate; and frequent consumption of baked, fried, and/or spicy food will increase the free radicals in the body, thus accelerating the body’s aging.
Bad lifestyle habits: Staying up late, smoking, being over exposed to the sun are all behaviors that will accelerate skin aging and cause the early generation of wrinkles.
Epoch Health articles are for informational purposes and are not a substitute for individualized medical advice. Please consult a trusted professional for personal medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment. Have a question? Email us at AskADoctor@epochtimes.nyc