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Study says Houstonians getting older too soon

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HOUSTON (FOX 26) -

Houston lands smack dab in the middle of another Top Ten list. And this one isn't flattering.

We are Number 5 on the list of top U.S. cities where people look older than they actually are, according to a study by The Patient's Guide, an online health and beauty resource.

Premature aging and all that it entails – wrinkles, age spots, sagging skin – are products of multiple factors, says Julia Kauffman, M.D., a dermatologist with UTHealth.

"Some of it is just genetics, which we can't control," explained Kauffman. "And some of it is aging, which is a normal process. But a lot of what contributes to wrinkles and sunspots and aged look is UV radiation, or the radiation that comes from the sun."

Since proximity to the sun plays a critical role, it's not surprising that 8 of the top 10 cities where residents struggle with signs of premature aging are in the southern United States.

"Most of the year (there's) pretty nice weather and naturally people are going out in the sun more often," said Jasson Gilmore, CEO of The Patient's Guide.

Los Angeles, California, tops the list, which also includes three Florida cities.

The ranking was determined using three sources: the origin of Google searches for terms like "wrinkle treatment"; the UV Index forecast from the National Weather Service; and geographic information from The Patient's Guide.

But does Houston truly deserve number five?

"I haven't really noticed it, to be honest," said Jackie Geaccone, who was shopping for sunglasses in the Rice Village. "I guess it's because I'm young and I don't really care about that stuff, I guess."

In truth, it's young people who can actually do something about premature aging, according to UTHealth's Kauffman.

"A lot of the sun's damage is a delayed effect," she said. "So when you're young, you don't see a lot of the signs of aging. But they accumulate over the years."

So a little sunscreen, early on, can save you a facelift later.

List of Top Ten U.S. Cities Where Residents Appear Older Than They Are

1.  Los Angeles, CA
2.  Miami, FL
3.  St. Petersburg, FL
4.  Phoenix, AZ
5.  Houston, TX
6.  San Francisco, CA
7.  Orlando, FL
8.  New Orleans, LA
9.  Charleston, SC
10. Jersey City, NJ

Source: The Patient's Guide

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