Wrinkles are folds, creases, or ridges in the skin that occur with aging. The most common locations for wrinkles are the face and sun-exposed areas of the body. Black skin wrinkles with aging, but the wrinkles may be less noticeable than those affecting individuals with light skin.

Wrinkles typically develop as the skin becomes thinner, drier, and less elastic with age. They usually first appear on the face, in areas where the skin naturally folds during facial expressions.

Having exposure to UV radiation from the sun and smoking tobacco can also speed up the skin’s aging process, making wrinkles more prominent.

This article will discuss the causes, treatment, and prevention of wrinkles on black skin.

A close up of wrinkles on the hand of someone with black skin.Share on Pinterest
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According to a 2016 article, certain characteristics of black skin make it less likely to wrinkle than white skin. For example:

  • Black skin contains more melanin, giving the skin more protection from the sun’s UV radiation.
  • The outer layers of black skin have more fat (lipid) content.
  • Collagen fibers in black skin are denser and more numerous.
  • Elastic fibers do not break down as quickly in black skin.
  • The facial bones of Black individuals maintain their support for longer, making their skin appear less wrinkled.

Everyone will eventually show some signs of aging in the skin. However, one 2019 study suggests that the onset of aging in light skin starts earlier than in black skin.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the sun causes up to 90% of the visible skin changes attributed to aging. As dark skin contains more melanin, it has more protection from the sun and its harmful UV rays.

Besides wrinkles, the skin shows signs of aging through age spots, spider veins, and sagging skin.

  • Age spots: These occur when extra melanin produced from UV radiation exposure clumps together and forms dark spots.
  • Spider veins: These are small damaged blood vessels that appear on the surface of the skin. One cause of spider veins is sun damage.
  • Sagging skin: Loose or sagging skin occurs when UV radiation exposure from the sun or tanning equipment breaks down skin-protecting molecules. These molecules help keep the skin hydrated and firm.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), a key cause of wrinkles is the natural aging process of the skin.

Although people cannot stop the natural aging process, they can influence other factors that can cause wrinkles. The sections below will look at some of these factors in more detail.

UV radiation

Chronic sun exposure causes most premature aging of the skin. A person’s skin can become thick, wrinkled, and leathery after many years of unprotected sun exposure. Ensuring proper protection from UV radiation can help a person reduce this type of skin damage.


One 2019 article suggests that as women age and produce less of the hormone estrogen, their skin becomes less elastic and more susceptible to drying out.


The American Osteopathic College of Dermatology and some research papers highlight an association between smoking and premature aging of the skin. A person who quits smoking may notice that signs of aging, such as wrinkles, become less visible.

Get tips on how to quit smoking here.

Eating habits

Eating a healthy diet can help provide a person with key nutrients and antioxidants necessary to maintain healthy skin.

There are several treatments that a person with black skin can try to reduce wrinkles. Some are more costly or painful than others and may require a prescription or referral to a dermatologist. A dermatologist is a doctor who specializes in treating skin conditions.

Dermatologists can use a range of medical and cosmetic procedures to treat wrinkles. The sections below will look at these procedures in more detail.


A person can try to improve the health of their skin by applying a facial moisturizer every day. Moisturizers trap water in the skin, helping reduce the appearance of wrinkles on black skin.


Retinoids are topical vitamin A-based medications that can help reduce fine lines, wrinkles, and age spots. They work by increasing the production of both collagen and new blood vessels in the skin.

Retinoids are available in prescription-only strengths. Retinol products, which have lower strengths, are available over the counter.

Learn more about retinoids here.

Injectable fillers

Injectable fillers may help treat wrinkles that result from the loss of collagen.

The facial areas most affected by these types of wrinkles are usually located around the mouth and cheeks. The fillers “plump” the wrinkled area with volume, which may result in a smoother look.


Botox is a temporary treatment for wrinkles that arise from certain muscle movements. Also known as “expression lines,” facial movements such as smiling, frowning, and squinting can cause this type of wrinkle.

Chemical peel

Dermatologists may use chemical peels to help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.


Microdermabrasion is a noninvasive treatment that can remove the dead cells of the outer layer of the skin.

A skin care specialist performs the treatment with a small, hand-held device. Several microdermabrasion treatments are often necessary to improve fine wrinkle lines and skin discoloration.

Home remedies

People can also try different home remedies to help reduce the appearance of wrinkles on black skin.

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, vitamins C and E are antioxidants that can stabilize the skin and help brighten dark spots. An individual can help keep their skin looking healthy by eating foods that are rich in antioxidants.

Learn about some antioxidant food sources here.

People can also consider trying aloe vera as a facial moisturizer or applying different essential oils to help keep wrinkles at bay.

Although research suggests essential oils may have some health benefits, it is important to remember that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not monitor or regulate the purity or quality of these oils. A person should talk with a healthcare professional before using essential oils and research the quality of a particular brand’s products. It is also important to always do a patch test before trying a new essential oil.

Individuals can help prevent wrinkles by safely tanning and ensuring that they do not burn their skin. Both the sun and tanning equipment produce harmful UV radiation that can damage a person’s skin. The skin shows this damage by burning or tanning.

According to the AAD, some people who use tanning equipment see signs of skin damage within a year of using it. Excessive exposure to UV radiation and sunburn can lead to wrinkles as well as skin cancer.

The AAD states that protecting the skin from the sun can reduce the risk of developing such skin damage. A 2018 review adds that persistently exposing the skin to UV radiation can increase DNA damage and mutations, which may result in premature aging.

Sun protection tips include:

  • limiting time in the sun, especially between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., which is when the sun’s rays are most intense
  • applying a broad-spectrum, water resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher to all skin not covered by clothing
  • reapplying sunscreen at least every 2 hours, and more often if sweating or in and out of water
  • wearing clothing to cover skin that would be exposed to the sun, such as long sleeved shirts, pants, sunglasses, and wide brimmed hats
  • staying in the shade whenever possible
  • using an umbrella or parasol when shade is not available
  • avoiding any form of tanning equipment

People with black skin can also help prevent wrinkles by taking care of their skin. Some general skin care tips may include:

  • washing the skin twice daily with a gentle cleanser
  • drying the face by gently patting, not rubbing or scrubbing
  • moisturizing the skin daily to keep it well hydrated
  • using silk pillowcases while sleeping to help reduce the formation of fine lines in the skin
  • wearing sunglasses to help prevent squinting wrinkles
  • exercising regularly to promote better oxygenation to cells
  • drinking less alcohol to avoid dehydrating the skin
  • avoiding skin care products that irritate the skin, as irritated skin makes wrinkles more noticeable
  • applying certain vitamins directly to the skin

Get more skin care tips for black skin here.

Wrinkles are a normal part of aging skin. Although wrinkles are less noticeable on black skin, they can still develop.

Taking good care of the skin and avoiding potential skin aging triggers, such as excessive UV radiation exposure, can help reduce signs of aging such as wrinkles.