To assess the relative contribution of intrinsic aging vs lifestyle factors to facial skin age.
Prospective analysis of a cohort.
Skin research institute.
A cohort of 361 white women (age range, 18-80 years) with apparently healthy skin.
Visual and tactile assessment of facial skin features.
Twenty-four skin characteristics were used to build a skin age score (SAS). The relationship between the SAS and chronological age followed a linear model with 2 plateaus—1 before age 30 years and 1 after age 71 years. An analysis was performed to determine whether certain lifestyle habits known to have effects on skin aging were related to the discrepancies between chronological age and the SAS. Significant effects were identified for phototype, body mass index, menopausal status, degree of lifetime sun exposure, and number of years of cigarette smoking. However, these factors accounted for only 10% of the discrepancies. Moreover, most skin characteristics used reflected changes understood to represent intrinsic aging rather than photodamage or other extrinsic factors.
An SAS can be generated from multiple discrete signs evaluated on facial skin and is an informative tool for quantifying skin aging. The SAS is influenced by factors already recognized to affect the aging phenotypes; however, factors related to the rate of intrinsic aging, presumably genetic in character, seem to play a larger role than previously suspected.