Dermatologists have discovered that 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 Dr Foad Nahai, a plastic surgeon practicing in Atlanta and editor-in-chief of the Aesthetic Surgery 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 Dr Moshe Kon, head of the department of plastic, reconstructive and hand surgery at University Medical Centre Utrecht in the Netherlands.
Fewer sweat glands
“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 undergo more procedures
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.
Hormones and aging also seem to play a role in women’s dermatologic aging process.