Trying to quit smoking? If worrying about the higher risk of lung cancer and heart disease doesn’t work, try thinking about your face.
People have known since 1971 that smoking can cause premature aging, but a new study on 79 pairs of identical twins puts the effects in hard-to-deny terms.
As you can see in the images, it’s easy to guess which twin is the smoker. The twin who smokes looks older than his or her identical sibling, who either didn’t smoke or smoked for at least five fewer years.
To make more quantitative comparisons, three plastic surgeons who didn’t know the smoking histories coded each image. They also controlled for other factors that could cause aging, such as being overweight, stressed, or not using sunblock.
The result? Smokers were worse off in very specific aging features in the mid to lower sections of the face including: upper eyelid skin redundancy, lower lid bags, malar bags (cheek puffiness), nasolabial creases, jowls, upper lip lines, and lower lip vermillion lines. The effect was also noticeable even when both twins were smokers–the twin who smoked for a longer period of time looked older.
The study, published in November in the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, was conducted over three years at the annual “Twins Day Festival” in Twinsburg, Ohio, where the authors had more than 400 twins answer questionnaires to find smoking and non-smoking pairs. Professional photographers snapped photos of all the participants.
This is one kind of aging that no miracle cream can solve.