The Connection: Weak Bones and Wrinkles

Your skin is the bag that holds all of you together, and your bones give you stability and protection, but there is more of a link between skin, bones and your health than meets the eye.

Posted on | Arthur Perry, MD, FACS | Comments ()

Your skin is the bag that holds all of you together, and your bones give you stability and protection, but there is more of a link between skin, bones and your health than meets the eye.

It turns out that women with wrinkles are more likely to have weak bones.

Yale researchers found that the more wrinkles women had, the lower their bone density. That tough protein called collagen is important in both the skin and the bone. Collagen makes up most of the substance of the skin. But as we age, the collagen can get so thin that you can see through it. Bone collagen is much more difficult to understand and to measure. But low collagen levels in the bone may well increase your risk for fractures.

The most common way to measure the structure of the bones is with a DEXA (dual energy x-ray absorptiometry test) scan. That’s a painless test that all women over the age of 65 and women under 65 with osteoporosis risk factors should have. But like many things we are supposed to do, many women neglect to have this test. Maybe those wrinkles that you see in the mirror will push you to get your DEXA scan. 

If we boost collagen with things like vitamin C, the skin looks better. We don’t know if that helps bone density, but you can be sure researchers will be looking for ways to decrease both of these problems, perhaps with vitamin, hormone or drug therapy. 

In the meantime, if you seem to have more wrinkles than other women, ask your family doctor for a bone density screening.

Blog written by Arthur Perry, MD, FACS
Dr. Perry has over 2 decades of experience as a clinical surgeon and has been named to the “Best Doctors in the NY Area” book...