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Women More Likely Than Men to Get Wrinkles Around the Lips; Is Biology to Blame?

WebMD Health News

Why Women Wrinkle Around Mouth

Dec. 16, 2009 -- Biology may be the reason why women are more prone than men to developing wrinkles around the lips -- called perioral wrinkles-- and deeper ones, too, a new study says.

Researchers from the Netherlands say they’ve found that:

  • Women’s skin tissues around the mouth contain fewer sweat and sebaceous glands than men's, which could influence the natural filling of the skin.
  • Women’s skin tissues around the mouth contain fewer blood vessels than men's. Better circulation may help slow wrinkle development.
  • In women, the closer attachment of muscle fibers surrounding the lips to the middle layer of skin may cause an inward traction, thus creating deeper wrinkles.

The study is published in the November-December issue of the Aesthetic Surgery Journal.

“The aim of this study is to obtain new insight into the perception that women wrinkle earlier and more severely than men,” study researcher Emma C. Paes, MD, from the University Medical Center in Utrecht, Netherlands, says in a news release. “If we understood the reasons for differences in wrinkling between women and men, then we might be able to develop better strategies for the treatment of perioral wrinkles.”

They reached their conclusion after studying the upper lip region in male and female cadavers, which were used to define the amount and depth of perioral wrinkling.

The authors note that effective treatment of wrinkles around the mouth continues to be a problem.

“We think it’s important to consider the reasons why a particular treatment may or may not be effective,” Paes says. “Sometimes one has to go back to the basics instead of just moving forward. In the end, having more basic knowledge about a problem can speed up the process of finding the right solution.”

“These findings provide a feasible explanation for why women are more susceptible to development of perioral wrinkles and contribute to our current understanding of wrinkle formation,” they conclude.

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