Smokers are likely to get eyelid pouches and lip wrinkles earlier than non-smokers, according to a new study published Tuesday in the Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.
The findings are based on standardized photos of 79 pairs of identical twins taken at the Twins Days Festival in Twinsburg, Ohio.
The twins were in their late 40s on average, and about three-quarters of them were women. Forty-five sets of twins included one smoker and one non-smoker.
Dr. Bahman Guyuron from Case Western Reserve University and University Hospitals of Cleveland and his colleagues showed the photos to three trained judges, then asked them to grade each person's wrinkles and age-related facial features.
For instance, on a 0-to-3 scale, where 0 means no wrinkles and 3 is severe wrinkles, upper eyelids were rated at 1.56 among smokers and 1.51 among non-smokers. Jowls were rated at 1.0 among smokers and 0.93 among non-smokers, on average.
Smokers tended to have more wrinkles and other signs of face aging. But the differences are often small.
Toxins from smoking can speed up the breakdown of collagen, protein fibers that support skin and help it stick together, and smoking also reduces the amount of oxygen going to the skin, said Dr. Elizabeth Tanzi, a dermatologist at the Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery and George Washington University Medical Center.
In addition, having a regular source of heat close to the face may play a role in skin aging.