Jan 5

Environment to blame for skin aging at least according to new study

olsen twins

A new twin study published in the Archives of Dermatology last month has demonstrated the hazardous effects of environmental factors on skin aging. According to the  report, 65 pairs of twins were studied for differences in environmental and lifestyle factors that might contribute to wrinkles. The conclusion according to news sources is that these factors, such as smoking, sun exposure, and weight change may play a larger role in facial skin aging than does genetics.

While we clearly agree that sun exposure and smoking are huge factors in causing wrinkles, we have to point out a flaw with this study’s design. Of the 65 pairs of twins, 52 were fraternal twins sharing the same percentage of genes as do non-twin siblings. While fraternal twins share about half their genes, this is nothing close to the identical genetic make-up shared by identical twins. A really revealing result would be if identical twins with different levels of environmental exposure also showed different levels of skin aging. As is, this study is mostly a study of siblings– it can’t fully control for genetic factors and so it doesn’t really tell us anything new at all.

The bottom line is… you can’t change your genetics anyway no matter how big a role they play, at least not yet. The best thing you can still do to prevent poor skin aging is to avoid smoking and sun exposure. And you didn’t need a flawed study to tell you that.

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