Researchers Determine Wrinkle Risk by State

Today I read an article in Cosmetic Surgery Times that stated a person’s propensity to have wrinkles may be determined by where they live. A research firm by the name of Sperling’s Best Places assessed the 50 states and the District of Columbia for circumstances that could increase wrinkle risk. They examined factors that included environment and ethnicity and correlated it with existing research on skin damage and disease from the states. The study determined that the following influences play a role in the development of wrinkles:

  • UV exposure (determined by cloud cover, elevation and latitude) 
  • Extreme temperatures (high and low) 
  • Commute time 
  • Racial and ethnic demographics
  • Smoking incidence
We have known for a long time that genetics play a role in wrinkle formation and, in the last few decades, we have discovered that sun damage (UV rays) and environmental pollutants (car smog, factory smoke, cigarette smoke, etc.,) also play a role in skin damage and skin disease. Stress, as well, takes a toll on the entire body, and can accelerate the aging process which includes developing wrinkles, turning hair grey, and loss of eyesight and loss of hearing. Commute time was explained as both being stressful and being exposed to UV rays through the car’s windows. 
The research resulted in a Wrinkle Index, a measure of “each state’s vulnerability to skin damage and premature aging” (#1 being highest risk and #50 being lowest). View the complete list of state rankings here. Findings included:

  • Ethnicity/race is a key factor associated with skin damage with some racial groups (Northern European) being far more at risk.
  • A high percentage of smokers and unhealthy eating pushed some states towards the top of the list.
  • A state with less sunny days does not mean that a person is at less risk for wrinkles or skin disease. For instance, Oregon has one of the highest melanoma rates in the US.
  • Hawaii, known for almost endless sunny days, ranked surprisingly low at #47, and has one of the lowest rates of skin cancer (which may be a combination of the ethnicity of the people and the laid back, or low stress, lifestyle).
This article was interesting and it was fun to see where our state ranked (California was #36). 
My takeaway message is that regardless of where your state ranked, skin health should be taken seriously:
  • Use sun protection on a daily basis, year round. 
  • See your dermatologist for annual skin check-ups. 
  • Invest in skin care products that are effective. Medical grade skin care products have more potency and are usually backed by clinical research and thus, have a greater ability to protect, heal, and restore than skin care products from a department store. 
  • Have your skin regularly treated (facials, chemical peels, and so on) at a reputable medical spa

Doing all this may not entirely prevent wrinkles, but it may keep them at bay or lessen their severity. Should you feel that your wrinkles could be “relaxed” or erased, there are non-surgical options such as Botox or dermal fillers, and, for those who have more severe wrinkling and skin issues, there are cosmetic surgery options as well.

If you would like to discuss wrinkle treatment options, both surgical and non-surgical, contact my Santa Barbara Cosmetic Surgery Center office at (805) 563-0000 to make an appointment. 

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