Women have long lamented the fact that aging is more difficult for women then for men. Recently, studies have proven this to be fact, at least when it comes to perioral wrinkles, or those around the lips. According to a study in the November/December issue of the Aesthetic Surgery Journal, published by the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), women are more prone to wrinkles in this area than men are.
This study, pioneered by Dr. Emma C. Paes of the Department of Plastic, Reconstructive and Hand Surgery at the University Medical Center in Utrecht Netherlands, was intended "to obtain new insight into the perception that women wrinkle earlier and more severely then men" in order to understand "the reasons for differences in wrinkling between women and women."
The study identified a number of these reasons, all pointing to the fact that women experience more and deeper wrinkles than their male counterparts. Contributing factors included the fact that women's skin contains fewer sebaceous and sweat glands, and fewer blood vessels.
The sebaceous glands secrete sebum, which is a waxy and oily substance. This substance may play a role in the filling of the skin, and when less of it is produced, more wrinkles may occur. The smaller number of blood vessels is also important, as it results in less vascularized skin that allows wrinkles to develop more quickly. Finally, the muscle fibers surrounding the mouth are attached more closely in women than men, and thus an inward traction may occur that makes wrinkles appear more deeply in women.
Paes hopes that the findings may help "develop better strategies for the treatment of perioral wrinkles." These wrinkles are currently treated with botulinum toxin injections - Botox or Dysport, lasers, injectable wrinkle fillers, dermabrasion and chemical peels. Unfortunately, while many of these treatments are moderately effective, there is still along way to go in successful wrinkle treatment.
Paes believes that "sometimes one has to go back to the basics" in order to determine "the reasons why a particular treatment may or may not be effective." It is the hope of Paes, and likely of women everywhere, that studies like these will help "speed up the process of finding the right solution."
The study was conducted using skin surface replicas of 10 male and 10 female cadavers between the ages of 75 and 93. An additional 15 male and female cadavers provided full thickness lip resections to add further data to the study. The skin samples were examined in a blinded fashion.