Background: The purpose of this study was to identify the environmental factors that contribute to facial aging in identical twins.
Methods: During the Twins Day Festival in Twinsburg, Ohio, 186 pairs of identical twins completed a comprehensive questionnaire, and digital images were obtained. A panel reviewed the images independently and recorded the differences in the perceived twins' ages and their facial features. The perceived age differences were then correlated with multiple factors.
Results: Four-point higher body mass index was associated with an older appearance in twins younger than age 40 but resulted in a younger appearance after age 40 (p = 0.0001). Eight-point higher body mass index was associated with an older appearance in twins younger than age 55 but was associated with a younger appearance after age 55 (p = 0.0001). The longer the twins smoked, the older they appeared (p < 0.0001). Increased sun exposure was associated with an older appearance and accelerated with age (p = 0.015), as was a history of outdoor activities and lack of sunscreen use. Twins who used hormone replacement had a younger appearance (p = 0.002). Facial rhytids were more evident in twins with a history of skin cancer (p = 0.05) and in those who smoked (p = 0.005). Dark and patchy skin discoloration was less prevalent in twins with a higher body mass index (p = 0.01) and more common in twins with a history of smoking (p = 0.005) and those with sun exposure (p = 0.005). Hair quantity was better with a higher body mass index (p = 0.01) although worse with a history of skin cancer (p = 0.005) and better with the use of hormones (p = 0.05).
Conclusion: This study offers strong statistical evidence to support the role of some of the known factors that govern facial aging.