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Mind + Body, August 2011

Published on: July 29, 2011

Wrinkles and osteoporosisA new wrinkle study shows possible link between facial lines and osteoporosis
That deep furrow between your eyebrows could indicate something more serious than a lifetime of squinting in the sun. WebMD reports that a study from the Yale School of Medicine has linked the deepness of a woman’s facial wrinkles in early menopause with her chances of developing osteoporosis.

Using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry scans and ultrasound, researchers tested 144 women in their late 40s and early 50s (all of whom had undergone menopause within the three years preceding the test) for facial and neck wrinkles and for bone density at three locations. They found that the deeper a woman’s wrinkles, the lower her bone density — regardless of other factors such as age, smoking or body mass (all of which affect bone health). And, yes, the furrow between the eyebrows pointed to lower bone density than any other facial wrinkles.

The culprit, researchers say, might be a loss of type 1 collagen, a protein that’s a key component in skin and bone production. After menopause, women lose type 1 collagen as their hormone levels change, which leads to facial furrows — and, possibly, more fragile bones.

The study, which was presented in 2011 to the American Society of Endocrinology, hasn’t yet been published in a medical journal. Lead researcher Dr. Lubna Pal, director of the reproductive aging and bone health program at the Yale School of Medicine, told WebMD that the study will continue for another year. She hopes that further information will confirm their preliminary findings.

Tips for women's skin healthAugust's List

Lifelong healthy skin
Aging doesn’t have to mean turkey neck. According to the Mayo Clinic, choices we make throughout our life can affect the condition of our skin as we get older.

Keep it smooth:

1. Stay out of the sun. Sun exposure causes wrinkles and age spots, so cover up (long-sleeved clothing, wide-brimmed hats), stay out of the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., and always, always use sunscreen.

2. Don’t smoke. You already know that, but really: Smoking depletes your skin of oxygen, damages collagen and elastin, and can create tiny lines around your eyes as you squint to avoid the smoke.

3. Be sweet to your skin. Don’t take long, hot showers or strip the oils from your skin with harsh soaps. Instead of scrubbing yourself dry after you bathe, pat yourself dry to maintain some moisture on your skin. Then apply moisturizer.

4. Eat well. You really are what you eat. Fruits, veggies and grains contain nutrients that will keep you glowing, and some studies suggest that a diet low in fats and carbs may help your skin look younger.

5. Manage stress. Stress can lead to outbreaks and sensitive skin, so mitigate it the best you can. Take a breather and do less — and be sure to leave some time for yourself.

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