A state-by-state wrinkle ranking shows where residents’ skin is most and least prone to rhytids. According to this second annual ranking by RoC Skincare, New York is the most wrinkle-prone state, while Alaska seems to offer the best environment and lifestyle for youthful skin.
The ranking helps New York City-based cosmetic dermatologist Debra Jaliman, M.D., to counsel her patients. Dr. Jaliman tells Cosmetic Surgery Times that she stresses to patients the importance of proactive skincare, emphasizing that it’s especially imperative for those living in New York.
“Given New York’s high rank, in addition to discussing the fundamentals in skincare (using a sunscreen daily and a product with retinol), I also talk to my patients about their lifestyle to determine the best recommended course of action,” Dr. Jaliman says. “You might not think that a dermatologist would be asking about daily stress levels, but trust me, they influence one’s skin and his or her propensity for wrinkles, which is what we see so clearly in RoC’s Wrinkle Ranking.”
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Wrinkle Ranking Methods
To determine where the 50 states and District of Columbia fall in the ranking, researcher Bert Sperling performed a state-by-state assessment analyzing influences that could increase or decrease wrinkle risk. Sperling owns the research firm Sperling's Best Places and has a website www.bestplaces.net.
“… We reviewed existing scientific research on skin damage and disease. We used the findings of existing research, in combination with our own research, to build … a metaanalysis model. We also used the existing research to determine the weightings of the different risk factors,” Sperling tells Cosmetic Surgery Times.
The factors that emerged as most important for the wrinkle ranking: UV exposure (determined by cloud cover, latitude and elevation); racial and ethnic demographics; extreme temperatures (high and low); commute time; and smoking incidence.
The resulting Wrinkle Index is a measure of each state’s vulnerability to skin damage and premature aging, according to a RoC press release.
The Big Apple claimed the top ranking for residents’ high stress, including scores for being “dissatisfied with life” and “lacking emotional support,” as well as for having the second-longest commute times.
At #23, the District of Columbia has the lowest skin cancer rate, but high scores for ozone pollution, lengthy commutes, long work week and binge drinking, according to the release.
Surprisingly, where the sun shines most isn’t necessary were people are at the highest risk for wrinkling. Hawaii came in at #47, Florida at #32 and California at #36. Hawaii, Mississippi (ranked #31), and Louisiana (ranked #29) have the lowest rates of skin cancer.
Unhealthy eating and a high percentage of smokers boosted rankings for West Virginia (ranked #3), Tennessee (ranked #8) and Kentucky (ranked #7).
What surprised the researcher and derm?
Sperling says he found ethnicity/race is one of the key factors associated with skin damage.
“Some racial and ethnic groups (Northern European, in particular) are far more at risk to skin damage,” he says.
Another interesting finding, according to Sperling: “Driving or riding in a car can be hazardous, even with the windows rolled up. There is a significant amount of UV radiation which penetrates the glass, which accumulates over the years of daily commuting.”
Dr. Jaliman says she was surprised that Colorado made the top ten list of most wrinkle-prone states, given that it’s always listed as one of the best places in America to live.
“I was also surprised that cloudy and mild Oregon, with one of the fewest sunny days, has one of the highest melanoma rates in the country (it also had one of the highest stress factors),” she says.
Putting this information to practice
Sperling says the ranking not only informs people how where they live might impact their risk for wrinkles, but it also is a call for prevention — especially in states where risk is high.
“Counseling would be important, reviewing the patient’s ancestry and lifestyle (work/recreation habits),” Sperling says. “It’s not just the sun, but how our body reacts to it. Florida has a large Hispanic population, which is less sensitive to the effects of the sun. Also, it is hot, but also more humid than arid climates.”
Ranked States: 1-50
1 New York
3 West Virginia
6 New Hampshire
12 New Jersey
17 Rhode Island
23 District of Columbia
26 New Mexico
34 North Carolina
40 South Carolina
41 South Dakota
45 North Dakota