New Study Pinpoints Factors involved in Skin Aging

Merely Me Health Guide

    In a previous Health Central My Skin Care Connection article, Health Gal told us "How to Reverse the Signs of Aging."    But are there any ways to prevent skin aging in the first place?  A recent study suggests there are specific external factors related to sun damage and the aging of skin on the face.


    Researchers Kathryn J. Martires, B.A., of Case Western Reserve School of Medicine, Cleveland, and colleagues took advantage of the 2002 annual Twin Days Festival in Twinsburg Ohio to identify environmental factors responsible for photodamage to the skin.  Photodamage can include characteristics such as wrinkled skin, pigmentation spots and dilated blood vessels on the face.  The researchers were able to give surveys to 65 pairs of twins to ask them about their history of skin cancer, smoking, drinking habits, weight, and skin type.

    Add This Infographic to Your Website or Blog With This Code:


    The researchers of this study noted that up to 40% of skin damage is due to non-genetic environmental factors.  The availability of so many twins gave them the chance to control for genetic influences. 


    So what did they find?


    The following factors were found to be associated with skin aging in this study:


    1.  A history of skin cancer

    2.  Smoking

    3.  Being overweight


    Somewhat surprising was the finding that alcohol consumption seemed to be associated with less photodamage to the skin.  The use of sun screen was also correlated with less skin damage as would be expected.


    The researchers of this 2009 study published in the December issue of the Archives of Dermatology concluded that "The relationships found between smoking, weight, sunscreen use, skin cancer and photodamage in these twin pairs may help to motivate the reduction of risky behaviors."


    Critics of this study say that causation cannot be established due to this being a small cross sectional study which relied heavily upon subjective self report.  But it can be the basis for further investigation.


    The three factors cited in this study for causing skin aging including not using sunscreen which can lead to skin cancer, smoking, and being overweight are known health hazards in their own right.  Health Central can provide help, support, and information you need to reduce these unhealthy behaviors.


    • For information about how to reduce your risk for skin cancer please visit Skin Cancer Connection  and read our Skin Cancer Prevention page. To find out more about sunscreen and how it can protect your skin please visit our sunscreen page.

    • If you are trying to stop smoking and need some support or help please visit our "Quitting Smoking" page full of tips and suggestions to guide you through the process.

    • Trying to lose weight without success? Please visit Health Central's My Diet and Exercise  for support and information about how to eat healthy and begin an exercise program that works.

    Prevention is one way to reduce the risk of health issues including skin damage.  Take charge of your health today!



    Kathryn J. Martires; Pingfu Fu; Amy M. Polster; Kevin D. Cooper; Elma D. Baron. Factors That Affect Skin Aging: A Cohort-Based Survey on Twins. Arch Dermatol, 2009; 145 (12): 1375-1379 [link]



Published On: December 28, 2009