Relationship between smoking and wrinkles clarified
- By: James S Dawson
The fact that people who smoke develop wrinkles at an earlier age than their non-smoking counterparts seems to be due to an imbalance of extracellular matrix degrading enzymes and their respective inhibiting factors, according to an article in the Lancet (2001;357:935–6).
Researchers investigating the role of ultraviolet light on the expression of matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) enzymes in buttock skin of healthy volunteers incidentally found that this enzyme was already being expressed before ultraviolet exposure in some individuals, but not in others. Volunteers were retrospectively asked about their smoking status, and results indicated that smokers were more likely to express these enzymes than were non- smokers. There was no change in the expression of the known inhibiting factors between smokers and non-smokers.
The skin is a dynamic organ and depends on the deposition and remodelling of extracellular matrix proteins and terminal differentiation of basal cells into keratinocytes. Collagen accounts for more