The study, scheduled to be published in the November issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, found the smokers had more sagging of the upper eyelids, more bags of the lower eyelids and under the eyes, higher scores for facial wrinkles, more pronounced lines between the nose and mouth, more wrinkling of the upper and lower lips, and more sagging jowls than the non-smoking twins.
Dr. Bahman Guyuron, professor and chairman of the Department of Plastic Surgery at the University Hospital Case Medical and Case School of Medicine in Cleveland, said the results also suggested the effects of smoking on facial aging were most apparent in the lower two-thirds of the face.
Taking advantage of the annual Twin Days Festival, held in Twinsburg, Ohio, the researchers identified pairs of identical twins who differed by smoking history. In each pair, either one twin smoked and the other did not, or one twin smoked at least five years longer. Fifty-seven of the twin pairs were women; the average age was 48.
A professional photographer took standardized, close-up photographs of each twin's face. The twins also completed questionnaires regarding their medical and lifestyle histories.
Without knowledge of the twins' smoking history, plastic surgeons analyzed the twins' facial features, including grading of wrinkles and age-related facial features.
In most cases, the examiners were able to identify the smoking or longer-smoking twin based on the differences in facial aging.