Smokers’ Skin may age faster
by Ralph Kratzer
Smokers are likely to get bags under their eyes and wrinkles around their lips earlier than non-smokers, according to a new study of identical twins. Judges who didn’t know which twin smoked said the smoker looked older 57 percent of the time. That pattern held when both twins were smokers but one had smoked for many years longer than the other.
Smoking makes you look old.
Besides lung cancer, heart attacks and strokes, just one more good reason to stop smoking is that it’s definitely making you look a lot older, Dr. Elizabeth Tanzi told Reuters Health.
Tanzi is a dermatologist at the Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery and George Washington University Medical Centre. She was not involved in the new study but said it confirms what she and others see in practice.
The findings are based on standardized photos of twin pairs among smokers and non-smokers.
Jowls were firmer among non-smokers on average, there was no difference in assessment of crow’s feet or forehead wrinkles based on smoking.
Other factors related to skin aging like sunscreen use, alcohol drinking and stress at work were similar among smoking and non-smoking twins, the researchers noted.
Out of the tested twin pairs, one twin had smoked for an average of 13 years longer than the other. Twins who had smoked for more years had more pronounced bags under their eyes and more wrinkles around their lower lips, according to findings published in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.
It really just kind of confirms a lot of stuff that most people believed, said Dr. Alan Boyd. He is a dermatologist at Vanderbilt University Medical Centre in Nashville, Tennessee, and wasn’t part of the study team.
“I can usually spot a smoker from across the room because of some of their facial skin changes“ Boyd told Reuters Health.
Still, he said, the study adds other layers of evidence by putting numbers on the effect of smoking on different parts of the face.
The researchers didn’t take into account how many cigarettes people smoked each day. And although weight was similar between smokers and non-smokers, they didn’t know if differences in fat distribution affected facial appearance.
Tanzi said toxins from smoking can speed up the break down of collagen, protein fibers that support skin and help it stick together. Smoking also reduces the amount of oxygen going to the skin, she said.