By comparing photos of identical twins, researchers from Case Western Reserve University confirmed that smoking leads to premature ageing of the face, contributing to more wrinkles, droopy skin, jowls, and under-eye bags.
For this study, 79 pairs of twins were selected between 2007 and 2010 during the Twins Days Festival in Twinsburg, Ohio. In some sets of twins, only one smoked. If both twins smoked, one twin had to smoke at least five years longer than his or her counterpart to take part in the study. Participants ranged in age from 18 to 78, with the average age being 48.
To rule out other factors that contribute to premature ageing, like sun exposure, drinking, and weight gain, researchers asked about their sunscreen use, alcohol intake, and perceived work stress for each twin and determined that the differences were not statistically significant.
To determine facial changes caused by smoking a panel of three plastic surgeons, who were not aware of the twins’ smoking history, looked at professionally taken photographs of each twin’s face (see some examples below).
They found that smokers, when compared to their non-smoking counterparts, had more sagging and bags under the upper eyelids, more smile lines, sagging jowls, and upper and lower lip wrinkles.