To varying degrees, many of us are concerned with trying to maintain a youthful appearance especially when it involves our face. As a physician who offers cosmetic procedures such as Botox® along with hyaluronic acid fillers like Juvederm®, I can tell you that these products are only growing in popularity—even in the Edmonton area among men. However, if you’re asking yourself which simple lifestyle measures seem to be effective at preventing facial wrinkles, let’s take a look at what the results of a recent study published in the British Journal of Dermatology suggests.
When we think of lifestyle factors associated with facial aging and skin wrinkles, most people at least have a vague idea about factors such as sun exposure and cigarette smoking. WebMD has a fascinating slideshow that details some of the effects cigarette smoking is thought to have in causing premature facial wrinkles.(click here) In short, cigarette smokers have lower levels of collagen in their skin as well as lower skin oxygenation levels.
non-smoking vs smoking twin
In terms of the study design and methodology, I am not going to recap a lot of detail. However, there is a link to the study abstract in the reference section of this post. The participants in the study included 318 Dutch men, 329 Dutch women, and 162 English women all of whom were between the ages of 45-75. As such, the study specifically looked at factors associated with facial aging in white Northern European men and women.
Risk Factors for Facial Aging – Dutch Men & Women
- Male smokers looked 1.6 years older than non-smokers
- Women who smoked looked 2.3 years older than non-smokers
- Obese women looked 2.1 years younger than those of normal weight
- Men who flossed their teeth looked 1.2 years younger
- Men who didn’t have false teeth looked 1.4 years younger
- Women with fewer than half their teeth looked 2.3 years older than women with most of their teeth
- Women who said they frequently sat in the sun looked 2.5 years older than those who didn’t
- Men with frequent sun exposure looked 1.7 years older
- Men who regularly used tanning beds looked 1.4 years older
- Women who regularly used tanning beds looked 1.7 years older
Risk Factors for Facial Aging – English Women
- Women who wore false teeth looked 2.5 years older
- Women who brushed their teeth twice or more per day looked 1.9 years younger than those who only brushed daily
- Women who tan easily looked 2.8 years younger than those whose skin easily turns red
- Those who moisturize regularly their whole life looked 1.9 years younger than those who did irregularly
5 Simple Tips for Facial Aging
- Quit smoking
- Limit sun exposure
- Floss your teeth daily
- Brush your teeth twice per day or more
- Regularly use skin moisturizer
What’s also interesting about these independent risk factors for facial aging is that the study authors also found that when you combine them, they could predict up to 11 years of facial aging. They also found that regular use of tanning beds was not only associated with increased rates of wrinkling, but face shape changes as well. While smoking was associated with greater facial aging in both men and women, they found that women were particularly susceptible to wrinkling compared to men. In general, women are thought to be more susceptible to “smokers lines” around the mouth as men grow beards and moustaches which provides some scaffolding for the skin to prevent this.
Lastly, their study shed some light on the age-old question of body weight and facial aging. While they found that obese women wrinkled less than those of a normal body weight, they did not find the same statistically significant effects for men. What’s more is that when they adjusted facial age to control for wrinkles themselves, obese women actually looked older than non-obese women due to changes in face shape. This is makes sense from my perspective in that facial adiposity is initially helpful to a degree in preventing wrinkling in younger clients, but eventually gravitational effects on the added tissue overcome these benefits.
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- Gunn DA1, Dick JL1, van Heemst D2, Griffiths CE3, Tomlin CC1, Murray PG1, Griffiths TW3, Ogden S3, Mayes AE1, Westendorp RG2,4, Slagboom PE4,5, de Craen AJ2. Lifestyle and youthful looks. Br J Dermatol. 2015 May;172(5):1338-45. doi: 10.1111/bjd.13646. Epub 2015 Apr 15.