Analysis of drinking and smoking patterns revealed a consistently heightened risk of looking older than one’s true age and developing arcus corneae, earlobe creases, and xanthelasmata among those who smoked and drank heavily.
According to the observatory findings published online in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, light to moderate drinking didn’t affect biological ageing.
The researchers have studied more than 11,500 adults since 1976 when the study began, whose heart health and visible ageing signs were tracked for an average of 11 and a half years as part of the Copenhagen City Heart Study.
The participants- aged between 21 and 93 (men and women)- were tested on their lifestyle, general health and the state how much they drank and smoked.
This was before they were checked for four signs of aging: earlobe creases; a greyish opaque coloured ring or arc around the peripheral cornea of both eyes (arcus corneae); yellow-orange plaques on the eyelids (xanthelasmata); and male pattern baldness (receding hairline or a bald patch on the top of the head).
Arcus coneae was the most common sign of ageing among both sexes, with a prevalence of 60 per cent among men over 70 and among women over 80.
The least common sign was xanthelasmata, with a prevalence of 5 per cent among men and women over 50.
A receding hairline was common among men, with 80 per cent of those over the age of 40 affected.
According to the scientists: “This is the first prospective study to show that alcohol and smoking are associated with the development of visible age-related signs and thus generally looking older than one’s actual age….This may reflect that heavy drinking and smoking increases general ageing of the body.”