According to Health Day News on Wednesday, a new study comparing the faces of identical twins confirms what many smokers fear -- the habit does prematurely age a person's skin, taking a serious toll on looks even after just five years.
Researchers from the Western Reserve University and University Hospitals of Cleveland, Ohio, say their findings may also give insight into the cellular-level mechanisms by which smoking may lead to premature aging. They recruited 79 pairs of identical twins who attended the Twins Day Festival in Twinsburg, Ohio. Of these pairs, 57 were women and the average age for all pairs was 48.
One twin within each pair smoked, while the other had smoked for at least 5 years less, or did not smoke at all. The average difference in smoking history between the twins who both smoked was 13 years. However, 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.
Twins who smoke, when compared to their nonsmoking siblings, had worse scores for baggy eyes, baggy cheeks, smile lines and wrinkles along their upper and lower lips.
Researchers also compared the faces of twins who both smoke, but one of the pair had been smoking for at least five years longer than his or her sibling. They found more baggy eyes, baggy cheeks and lower-lip wrinkles in twins who had been smoking longer.
If you’re currently a smoker, the point of this research is not to make you feel bad. Because stopping or cutting back on the habit now can make a difference -- in all aspects of your health, including the skin damage to your face. Even the twins who smoked just five fewer years than their siblings had younger-looking faces, the study shows.
Emily Sutherlin is also the Pregnancy Examiner.
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