Lighter skinned women are more likely to get early wrinkles than their black counterparts post menopause, a study suggests. It was also found that the wrinkles are more of an aging process than a dip in the estrogen level.

It is a common belief that dark skinned people are less likely to show the obvious signs of aging because of more melanin presence in their skin that offers some natural protection against sun damage. But there was little research done in this regard to establish it. Also, it’s not known what level of estrogen loss after menopause results in skin aging.

Researchers studied a mix of 106 white and black already in menopause to assess facial wrinkles and skin elasticity. The wrinkles were more prominent among white women and nearly double that of a black woman’s average count. They used a dermatologist’s standard visual scoring system.

The researchers also found that the number of wrinkles varied due to the age factor rather than the time passed since menopause. They suggest that aging could be the culprit, not the dipping estrogen levels post menopause, in the development of wrinkles.

Dr. Hugh S. Taylor, of Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut said the theory that white women are more exposed to sun and hence get wrinkles earlier could just be a belief as the study hasn’t proved anything like that. He also added that this "do not mean that black women do not need to worry about wrinkles."

Both races of women got similar scores when it came to skin elasticity measured with a device called a durometer. The declining skin elasticity among white women was related to time since menopause.

Taylor noted that skin elasticity may have to do with the decreasing estrogen levels whereas wrinkling of the skin is dependent on factors like sun damage.