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Study Shows Women Develop More Wrinkles Around the Mouth Than Men

Posted: December 22, 2009

Though long suspected to be true, new research provides "irrefutable" evidence that women experience more and deeper wrinkles around the mouth than men do.

Dermatologists have discovered yet another gender inequity: Women develop more and deeper wrinkles around their mouths as they age than men do. The disadvantage had long been suspected, but a new study provides "irrefutable scientific evidence," said Foad Nahai, MD, a plastic surgeon practicing in Atlanta and editor in chief of the Aesthetic Surgery Journal. The study appears in the November/December issue of the journal.

The authors of the paper believe they even know why women suffer more in this department. "The gender differences were most probably due to the amount of appendages [hair follicles, sebaceous glands] and the connections between the skin and muscle of the lips," explained senior study author Moshe Kon, MD, head of the department of plastic, reconstructive and hand surgery at University Medical Center Utrecht in the Netherlands.

"We had always had the impression that male skin doesn't age as rapidly as female skin," said Nahai. "What we didn't know, and this study points out, is that one of the reasons that lines are deeper in women is because they have fewer sweat or sebaceous glands, the glands that make the oil that keeps our skin feeling soft ... So women are producing less oil, which is protective and keeps the skin smoother."

Previous studies had not focused in on differences between men and women in the perioral area of the face, meaning the region around the mouth. Women tend to go for procedures to remedy such wrinkles more often than men, although it hadn't been clear if women were just worried about how they looked or if their wrinkles were actually worse. The authors studied the skin around the upper lip in both male and female cadavers, as well as reconstructions of those areas.