Study Shows Women Are More Prone to Facial Wrinkles Than Men

New York, NY (December 14, 2009) –  Findings from a new study published in the November/December issue of Aesthetic Surgery Journal (ASJ) suggest  that gender-specific differences in the perioral skin (skin surrounding the mouth) account for more and deeper skin wrinkling in women than in men.  The study, conducted by a team of plastic surgeons from the Netherlands, was presented at the annual meeting of the European Association of Plastic Surgeons last May in Barcelona, Spain.

“The aim of this study is to obtain new insight into the perception that women wrinkle earlier and more severely than men,” said the study’s lead author, Emma C. Paes, M.D., from the Department of Plastic, Reconstructive and Hand Surgery at the University Medical Center in Utrecht, Netherlands.  “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.”
Skin surface replicas of the upper lip region in 10 male and 10 female cadavers (age range 75-93) were used to define the amount and depth of perioral wrinkling.  To provide additional data, 3 full-thickness lip resections were taken from each of 15 male and 15 female fresh cadavers and were investigated in a blinded fashion. 

The study found that all of the following could be contributing factors to the presence of more and deeper perioral wrinkles in women:

  • Women’s perioral skin contains fewer sweat glands and sebaceous glands (microscopic glands in the skin that secrete an oily/waxy matter, called sebum, to lubricate skin and hair), which could influence the natural filling of the dermis (skin).
  • Women’s perioral skin contains fewer blood vessels and, therefore, is less vascularized compared to men, which could accelerate the development of wrinkles.
  • In women, the closer attachment of the muscular fibers surrounding the orifice of the mouth to the dermis may cause an inward traction, thereby creating deeper wrinkles.

Current treatments for perioral wrinkles include the use of lasers, botulinum toxin injections, and injectable or implantable wrinkle fillers as well as older methods such as dermabrasion and chemical peels.  Despite these many options, the effective treatment of wrinkles in the perioral region still remains a challenging problem.

“We think it's important to consider the reasons why a particular treatment may or may not be effective,“ said Dr. Paes.  “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.”
The 2400-member American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), founded in 1967, is the leading organization of ABMS-certified plastic surgeons who specialize in cosmetic plastic surgery. With ASAPS active members certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, Canadian active members certified by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, and International members certified in their countries of origin, ASAPS is at the forefront of innovation in aesthetic plastic surgery. Toll-free referral line: 888.ASAPS.11 (272.7711). Web site:

About ASJ
The Aesthetic Surgery Journal is the peer-reviewed publication of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) and is the most widely read clinical journal in the field of cosmetic surgery, with subscribers in more than 80 countries.


The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), is recognized as the world's leading organization devoted entirely to aesthetic plastic surgery and cosmetic medicine of the face and body. ASAPS is comprised of over 2,600 Plastic Surgeons; Active Members are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (USA) or by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and have extensive training in the complete spectrum of surgical and nonsurgical aesthetic procedures. International Active Members are certified by equivalent boards of their respective countries. All members worldwide adhere to a strict Code of Ethics and must meet stringent membership requirements.


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