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Twins Show it All: What Keeps One Young and Ages the Other

Smoking Ages Twin

We all want to stop time and the aging process but what exactly does smoking have to do with it? We know it's bad for everything we can think of but aging too? Are you surprised? I know I was. I mean, I've seen the difference in pallor, skin, color, texture, and other important bits on smokers always seem to be worse off than non smokers but it never occurred to me that smoking could in fact be aging them.

Not convinced?

Take a good look at the picture above. You are looking at one of the twins who smoked and the other who didn't. Which is which? The one on the left has never touched a cigarette, while the one on the right smoked for 29 years. These 2 were only one pair out of 79 where one twin was identified as a smoker and the other was not, or one smoked at least 5 years more longer than the other.

Why would researchers from the Department of Plastic Surgery at Case Western Reserve University in Ohio be interested in these twins? According to the study published this month, the idea was to identify signs of aging correlated with smoking. Judges simply looked at the pictures without any prior knowledge of the twins' histories and rated them on their features and wrinkles through using the validated Lemperle Assessment Scale.

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The results?

Smokers showed worse wear and tear in these areas:

  • Upper eyelids
  • Lower lid bags
  • Malar bags or festoons
  • Nasolabial folds (lines that run from side of nose down to edge of mouth)
  • Wrinkles on upper lip
  • Wrinkles on lower lip (vermilion)
  • Jowls

The worst by far, however, was seen in the lower lid bags, malar bags and lower lip vermilion wrinkles. According to Dr. Bahman Guyuron from Case Western Reserve University and University Hospitals of Cleveland, "Smoking reduces the collagen formation, results in collagen degradation and reduces the skin circulation. Additionally, nicotine reduces the skin thickness. All of these reduce skin elasticity and [cause] premature aging."

All right, you've heard it all. You are wondering about your forehead and crow's feet though. Those are not on the list, you realize. Smoking doesn't affect them? Perhaps and perhaps not, the study says. Some of those effects might be part of natural aging as opposed to the chemically infused smokers' version. There are, however, many other ways in which smoking affects your health. It is never too late to quit. Funky new preventative methods have been implemented, including the text message that makes you quit.

Simply as a recap, smoking will make you age faster, cause you all types of problems (including cancer and arthritis) and harm anyone around you exposed to second hand smoking.

Image Source: My Modern Met