Skin Wrinkles and Bone Density

Do skin wrinkles indicate weakening bones?

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who has the strongest bone density of all? That’s right—a glance in the mirror may reveal clues regarding your bone health. Your skin may cover your skeleton, but it holds clues to what lies beneath.

According to the results of a new study, firmer skin is associated with higher bone density, and skin with more wrinkles is associated with lower bone density.[1]

The study involved 114 menopausal women in their late 40s and early 50s. None of the women were taking hormone therapy drugs and none of them had undergone any cosmetic skin procedures. Researchers measured the women’s bone density and tested the firmness of the women’s facial skin on the cheeks and foreheads.

The women with more wrinkles had lower bone density than those with smoother faces. Furthermore, the relationship between bone density and wrinkles remained consistent in all of the bones that were tested (hip, lumbar spine and heel) and was independent of age, percentage of body fat and other factors known to influence bone density.

More research is needed to understand the relationship between skin wrinkling and bone health. The researchers speculated that the association could be the result of a decrease in collagen production. These proteins are critical building blocks for both bone and skin health. As we age, collagen production declines and can result in sagging skin and reduced bone density.

If further research substantiates the relationship between skin wrinkling and bone health, skin wrinkles could become a useful indicator of potential bone density issues, which could provide an opportunity to take preventive measures against bone fractures.

Reference:


[1] Pal L, Kidwai N, Glockenberg K, et al. Skin wrinkling and rigidity are predictive of bone mineral density in early postmenopausal women. Endocrine Review, Vol. 32 (03_MeetingAbstracts): P3-126