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Smoking Ages Skin Usually Protected from Sunlight

According to newly developed scale, smokers have significantly more severe fine wrinkling

MONDAY, March 19 (HealthDay News) -- Smokers have a higher degree of aging in skin not usually exposed to sunlight than non-smokers, according to a study published in the March issue of the Archives of Dermatology.

Yolanda R. Helfrich, M.D., of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues studied 82 healthy men and women, aged 22 to 91, and developed a nine-point photonumeric scale based on standard photographs of the subjects' upper inner arms. A score of zero indicated no fine wrinkling while a score of nine indicated severe fine wrinkling.

After controlling for age, the researchers found that pack-years of smoking was the only major predictor of the degree of aging in photoprotected skin. They found that smokers over age 45 had significantly more fine wrinkling than their non-smoking counterparts.

"We created a reliable and reproducible photonumeric scale for the evaluation of photoprotected skin aging," the authors conclude. "Presumably its primary role would be in categorizing groups of individuals before treatment with agents aimed at reducing the degree of photoprotected skin aging or as a tool in pathophysiologic studies investigating photoprotected skin aging."

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