Smokers age much faster

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Study showed severe aging of the facial skin from smoking

Smoking is known to cause the skin to age faster. In the course of an investigation on identical pairs of twins, US researchers have now investigated how strong the effect of nicotine on the appearance of the facial skin is. The result is terrifying: deep furrows and bags under the eyes decorate the faces of the smoking twins.

Effects of smoking on twins examined
The Twins Days Festval has been held in Twinsburg, Ohio, since 1976. Over 2,000 twins take part every year. Plastic surgeon Haruko Okada from Case Western Reserve University and his colleagues took advantage of the world's largest twin meeting to investigate how much smokers' facial skin changes as a result of nicotine consumption. They chose identical twins in order to keep the genetic differences of the comparators as small as possible.

The requirement to participate in the study was that one twin had to be a smoker and the other a non-smoker, or one smoked at least five years less than the other. The study was carried out using photos taken between 2007 and 2010. Three experts then looked at the pictures and analyzed the wrinkles and other appearances on the skin of the participants, which were attributable to smoking.

Aging is particularly evident in the lower third of the smokers' court
The result of the analysis was clear: the skin of the smoking twins had aged significantly more than that of the non-smokers. "The smoking twins had worse scores for the upper eyelid, skin redundancy, lower eyelid pockets, zygomatic pockets, nasolabial folds, upper lip folds, lower lip folds and lower chin compared to their non-smoking siblings," report the surgeons in the specialist magazine "Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery". "In the twins with more than 5 years of difference in smoking, the twins who smoked longer had lower scores for the lower eyelid pockets, the zygomatic pockets and the lower lip folds."

The pictures showed that there are hardly any differences between smokers and non-smokers in the upper third of the face. In the lower third of the face, however, the smokers showed significantly stronger wrinkles around the lips. The surgeons were not surprised by the result of the examination. As they report, smoking reduces the elasticity of the skin, so that, for example, the nasolabial fold between the nose and upper lip is more pronounced.

Although it has been known since the 1970s that smoking causes the skin to age faster, there was no detailed evidence with pictures before. It is also interesting in this context that the number of wrinkles depends on the number of cigarettes smoked. (ag)

Image: seedo /

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