Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Women's skin ages faster than men's

Women's skin ages faster than men's, according to a German study using a new laser-based technique to measure damage from sun exposure and aging.

The study, published in Optics Letters, a journal of the Optical Society of America, was based on a new technique in which doctors shine pulses of infrared laser light to look at the deeper layers of the skin and measure aging.

The imaging of collagen and elastin, whose degeneration causes wrinkles and loss of smoothness, found that women lose collagen faster than men.

"The dependence appeared to be sex-dependent, with women's skin losing collagen at faster rates than men's," according to the researchers from Germany's Freidrich Schiller University in Jena and the Fraunhofer Institute of Biomedical Technology in St. Ingbert.

Collagens are a group of proteins in the dermis, the connective tissue layer of the skin, and are responsible for the strength of skin. The human body makes a lot of collagen in youth but production declines with aging.

Currently, dermatologists who want to examine a patient's collagen network in the dermis have to remove a sample of tissue and look at it under a microscope.

Authors of the study said this new non-invasive test might one day help in testing anti-aging cosmetic products as well as in the study of skin diseases that affect the collagen structure.

Copyright © 2006 Reuters Limited.

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