Findings from a 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 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.”
The study found that all of the following could explain 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 mouth to the dermis may cause an inward traction, thereby creating deeper wrinkles.
Current treatments for perioral wrinkles include the use of lasers & chemical peels, Botox injections, and injectable or implantable wrinkle fillers. 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… In the end, having more basic knowledge about a problem can speed up the process of finding the right solution.”