Twins and Photodamage

One Took the Shady Road

What could more purely demonstrate the effects of photodamage than a study of identical twins?

As part of a comparison of face-lift techniques among eight sets of identical twins, New York-based plastic surgeon Darrick E. Antell, MD, observed the effects of sun damage firsthand.

In a November 2007 report in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Drs. Antell and Michael J. Orseck noted significant differences between a pair of 59-year-old sisters. Since identical twins share identical genetic heritage, any variations in their cosmetic damage are clearly due to environmental factors, in this case ultraviolet (UV) exposure. One twin, who had what the authors described as "a long history of sun exposure," displayed "advanced signs of aging as compared with her twin." The more sun-damaged twin, a smoker, had deeply wrinkled and sagging skin, and required more extensive surgery than her sister. While treatments produced "excellent" results for both patients, the sun-damaged sister's skin continued to look more aged.

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Published on November 14, 2008