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Sperlings Skincare Wrinkle Ranking

Sperling’s Skincare “Wrinkle Ranking”

The Cities Most At Risk From Premature Aging

Sperling’s BestPlaces, partnering with RoC® Skincare, a pioneer in anti-aging innovation, unveils new data that demonstrates the correlation between geographic location and the premature wrinkles.  The RoC® Skincare Wrinkle Ranking Study outlines the 50 most wrinkle-prone regions in the United States and identifies the underlying factors that may cause skin to age.

To identify which U.S. residents are most susceptible to wrinkle, Bert Sperling and his team conducted a meta-analysis of original and existing research to assess the impact of lifestyle, occupational and environmental risk factors on your skin. In addition to factors commonly known to cause skin damage such as climate and pollution, the study also measured criteria such as stress levels, traffic commutes and diet.

“Our skincare study had some real surprises.  It wasn’t all about sunny climates and spending time outdoors.  Our lifestyle, workplace, and even our driving habits can have a big impact on our appearance, and even our health,” noted Bert Sperling, lead researcher for the study.

“People are widely aware of the dangers of UV exposure, so a natural assumption is that the Sunbelt states would automatically be at the top of this list,” said New York City-based board-certified dermatologist, Dr. Erin Gilbert, MD, PhD, FAAD. “However, we sometimes forget that there are a number of regionally-based factors – not getting enough rest or working late hours – that can also take a toll on your skin.”

While investigating which factors had the most impact on a region’s ranking, the study results showed that no two areas’ risk for aging skin are identical, despite proximity or similarities among cities:

•             Riverside and San Diego are only two hours apart, but on opposite ends of the Wrinkle Ranking scale. Why? Riverside was placed first for having an above average number of hot, dry, sunny days with a lengthy commute, while the mild Pacific climate of San Diego landed “America’s Finest City” in last place.  (In this study, last place is a good thing.) 

•             New York can proudly call itself the “Big Apple” for being the most populated region in the country. However, residents have the longest commute and third-highest number of sleepless nights, elevating Gotham City to the second most wrinkle-prone in America

•             Denver earned the sixth position for scoring highest in the Environment category. Mile-High City’s residents have one of the highest skin cancer rates due in part to the thin air which is less able to absorb skin-damaging UV rays.

Detailed analyses of the top 20 Wrinkle Ranking metros are presented later in this paper.

It may come as a surprise that your everyday commute can hold hidden hazards.

Researcher Bert Sperling said, “In many cities, people spend hours each day in car every day, cool and comfortable on a hot sunny day, never realizing that they are still incurring a long-term health risk.  Despite the windows and air-conditioning, the sun still has an effect on your skin, and all those hours spent commuting can add up over the years.”

“We’ve always been told that UV rays could not penetrate glass, but that’s only for the UVB radiation, which is why we don’t get a sunburn indoors.  Up to 72% of the UVA radiation, which what damages and ages the skin, still penetrates ordinary glass.  The laminated glass of a car’s windshield has a plastic layer which filters out nearly all UV radiation but the side and rear windows still allow a significant amount of the damaging UVA radiation to pass through.  The answer is to apply an aftermarket tinting and use window shades to protect children sitting in the back seat.  Be sure to wear sunscreen, and sunglasses are not just for looking cool… they protect your eyes too.”

Here’s an article from the New York Times about this risk.

The purpose of the study is to broaden awareness that wrinkles are caused by a number of region-specific factors. Through appropriate precautions, individuals across the nation have the power to identify and manage these aging influences.


Full Ranking of All Metro Areas in the RoC® Skincare Wrinkle Ranking Study

50 Largest U.S. Metro Areas, Ranked by Wrinkle Risk

1.            Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, California

2.            New York, New York

3.            Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

4.            Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, Georgia

5.            Baltimore-Towson, Maryland

6.            Denver-Aurora, Colorado

7.            Chicago-Naperville-Arlington Heights, Illinois

8.            Newark, New Jersey-Pennsylvania

9.            St. Louis, Missouri-Illinois

10.          Orlando-Kissimmee, Florida

11.          Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, District of Columbia-Virginia-Maryland-West Virginia

12.          Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, Tennessee

13.          Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Florida

14.          Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall, Florida

15.          Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, Texas

16.          Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, California

17.          Charlotte-Gastonia-Concord, North Carolina-South Carolina

18.          Dallas-Plano-Irving, Texas

19.          Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Arizona

20.          Warren, Michigan

21.          Edison, New Jersey

22.          Indianapolis-Carmel, Indiana

23.          Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas

24.          Boston-Quincy, Massachusetts

25.          Oakland-Hayward-Berkeley, California

26.          Las Vegas-Paradise, Nevada

27.          Nassau County-Suffolk County, New York

28.          Detroit-Dearborn-Livonia, Michigan

29.          Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

30.          Cincinnati-Middletown, Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana

31.          Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach-Deerfield Beach, Florida

32.          Providence-New Bedford-Fall River, Rhode Island-Massachusetts

33.          Cambridge-Newton-Framingham, Massachusetts

34.          Jacksonville, Florida

35.          Austin-Round Rock, Texas

36.          Sacramento-Arden-Arcade-Roseville, California

37.          Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, Washington

38.          Kansas City, Missouri-Kansas

39.          Columbus, Ohio

40.          Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, Wisconsin

41.          San Antonio, Texas

42.          Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, Virginia-North Carolina

43.          San Francisco-Redwood City-South San Francisco, California

44.          Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor, Ohio

45.          Portland-Vancouver-Beaverton, Oregon-Washington

46.          West Palm Beach-Boca Raton-Delray Beach, Florida

47.          San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, California

48.          Santa Ana, California

49.          Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, Minnesota-Wisconsin

50.          San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, California


Analysis of the Top 20 Places for Premature Wrinkles

#1  -  Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA

Riverside, California earns the #1 spot in the RoC Wrinkle Index, with some of our study’s highest scores in both the Environment and Occupation categories. Located inland from Los Angeles, Riverside scored one of the worst scores for the Environment category, combining sunny weather (27% more sunny days than average) with hot summers (14% higher average July temperature), pollution, and dryness (20% lower humidity than average). Riverside residents also score in the top ten for the time spent commuting (31.2 minutes one-way, 14% higher than average), plus the 35.9 hours spent on the job weekly when they finally arrive at work (3% higher than our study’s average). The Lifestyle category was also above average, with the third-highest stress score in the study (Riverside has the second-highest unemployment rate of 11.0%).

#2  -  New York, NY

As you might guess, living in New York can produce its share of wrinkles, scoring higher than average in all three categories of Environment, Lifestyle and Occupation. New Yorkers have the longest commute in our study (37.1 minutes each way, 35% higher than average), exposing their skin to sun (27% more sun than average annually), weather (winter temps are 25% colder than average and summer temps are 14% warmer), and air and traffic pollutants (ozone and particulate scores are both in the study’s top third) . New York is also windy (6% more than average). The stress of living in America’s largest city may show up in our data for the lack of restful sleep, which New York posting the study’s third-highest score (8.4 nights per month with poor sleep).

#3  -  Philadelphia, PA

Philadelphia had a particularly high Wrinkle Ranking Score in the Lifestyle category, with particularly high scores in smoking (18.7% of residents, 15.1% is average), stress (main stressors are crime, unemployment, and depression (residents report 4.6 days per month of poor mental health (average is 3.5) and 19.8% diagnosed with depression (average is 16.5%)), lack of exercise (389 minutes per week, 13% less than average), and poor sleep (8.43 sleepless nights per month, 9% more than average). Ozone and particulate pollution is high, and the daily commute is higher than average (29.1 minutes one-way, 6% longer than average). Interestingly, the number of hours worked per week is one of the lowest in our study (34.1 hrs., 2.1% less than average). 

#4  -  Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, GA

Atlanta earned its #4 ranking on the Wrinkle Index with high scores for both its commute (30.0 minutes one-way, 10% higher than average) and the number of hours worked per week (34.9 hrs). It also scored above average for Southern latitude (33.7 degrees, average is 37.1) and hot summer temperatures (89.0 degrees average high for July). At least it’s not dry, thanks to that famous Southern humidity (with a dew point of 66.5, the average is 61.7). But Atlanta is the fifth-largest metro area in the U.S., which means that living there is anything but “laid-back” with high scores for stress (unemployment rate of 8.6%, average is 7.5%, and a higher than average property crime rate) and sleepless nights (8.1 restless nights per month, average is 7.7).

#5  -  Baltimore-Towson, MD

Baltimore was unusual in that it scored equally high in all three of our study’s major categories; Environment, Lifestyle and Occupation. Baltimore has the study’s third-highest score ozone pollution, and about average for winter and summer temperature, sunny days, and particulate pollution.  Residents in Baltimore are also at risk from a lengthy commute (30.0 minutes one-way, 10% higher than average), skin cancer (3.6 deaths per 100,000 population, average rate is 2.7), and smoking (16.0% of the population, average is 15.1%), with a particularly high score in the lack of restful sleep (8.3 nights per month with poor sleep, average is 7.7).

#6  -  Denver-Aurora, CO

Denver recorded the highest score for the Environment category, in part because it’s the Mile-High city.  That means the air is thinner and less able to absorb skin-damaging ultraviolet rays.  Not only is Denver high (insert usual legalized marijuana joke here), it’s nice and sunny (more sunny days than Palm Beach or Dallas), has cold winters (13.8 degrees average low temperature in January, average is 30.3), dry (second-lowest humidty in our study), and has a high level of ozone pollution (6th-highest in the study). Given Denver’s geography, perhaps it’s not unexpected that it has one of the highest rates of skin cancer (3.8 deaths per 100,000 population, average rate is 2.7)

#7 -  Chicago-Naperville-Arlington Heights, IL

The Chicago metro area earns its #7 spot with the sixth-highest score in the Occupation category, with residents facing a long commute (31.1 minutes each way, average is 27.4) and working more hours per week than average.  Chicago also ranks high for stress (with an unemployment rate of 9.7%, average is 7.5%, plus alcohol use is high with 15.1 drinks per month reported, compared to an average of 12.7 drinks) and sleepless nights (8.0 nights per month with poor sleep, average is 7.7).    Despite Chicago’s windy reputation and its Midwest geography, the Environment is not as harsh on the skin as one might expect.  Winter temperatures can beicy (18.4 degrees average low temperature in January, average is 30.3) and particulate pollution is high (in the top 20% of our study), but exposure to ultraviolet radiation is comparatively low due to cloud cover, a Northern latitude and low elevation

#8  -  Newark, NJ-PA

Newark had high Wrinkle Ranking Scores in two of our major categories - Occupation (fourth-highest) and Environment (tenth-highest). Like New Yorkers, Newark residents face a long commute  (31.8 minutes each way, study average is 27.4), low winter temperatures (18.4 degrees average low temperature in January, average is 30.3), and high levels of ozone (4th-highest in our study)and particulate pollution.  Newark also had the fourth-highest score for lack of restful sleep (8.4 nights per month with poor sleep, average is 7.7).  , but this was partly offset by the lowest rate of skin cancer in our study (0.3 deaths per 100,000 population, average rate is 2.7).

#9  -  St. Louis, MO-IL

St. Louis had the second-highest Wrinkle Ranking Score in the Lifestyle category, with its residents reporting high rates of smoking (20.7% of residents smoke, average is 15.1%), sleeplessness (8.1 nights per month with poor sleep, average is 7.7) poor diet  (14.3% fewer servings of fruits and vegetables than our study’s average) and stress (19.7% of residents report depression, average is 16.5%). St. Louis also cracked the top ten in the Environment category, with high scores for low winter (19.4 degrees average low temperature in January, average is 30.3) and high summer temperatures (88.2 degrees average high for July), wind (7% windier than average) plus high levels of ozone and particulate pollution.

#10 - Orlando-Kissimmee, FL

Orlando sneaks into our top-ten ranking with our study’s eighth-highest Lifestyle score. Orlando recorded high scores in smoking 20.7% of residents smoke, average is 15.1%),, stress (divorce rate is 12% higher than average, violent crime is 39% and property crime is 21% higher than average), sleepless nights (8.1 nights per month with poor sleep, average is 7.7), skin cancer (3.7 deaths per 100,000 population, average rate is 2.7, and even poor diet (7.0% fewer servings of fruits and vegetables than our study’s average). The high Lifestyle Wrinkle Ranking Score was offset by a low ranking for hazards in the Environment category (mild temperatures and low pollution scores), and average scores for commute and hours worked per week.

#11 - Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV

The Washington, DC metro area came in at #11 in our Wrinkle Ranking, with the study’s highest score in the Occupation category.  This was due mainly to the lengthy commute time (33.9 minutes one-way, 24% higher than average) and a longer-than-average work-week of 35.4 hours.  The high Occupation score was offset by one of the lowest scores for Lifestyle risk, meaning Washingtonians take care of themselves.  The skin cancer rate is 15% below average (2.3 deaths per 100,000 residents), as are the number of smokers (14.6% of the population).  The Environment score hovers near average for the study, with the biggest risk coming from a significant presence of ozone in the atmosphere.  Overall stress is low, thanks to one of the lowest unemployment rates (4.6%) in the country.

#12 - Nashville-Davidson--Murfreesboro--Franklin, TN

Nashville lands at #12 with an undesirable high Lifestyle risk  score, caused by high rates of smoking (18.3% of residents, compared to the study average of 15.1%) and skin cancer (4.06 deaths per 100,000 residents, 49% higher than average.)  There was also a lack of exercise (310 minutes per week, 31% less than average), and a diet that included 16% fewer servings of fruits and vegetables than our study’s average.  Nashville’s occupation score was very close to average, with a daily one-way commute time of 26.3 minutes.  The Environment score was better than average, with a mild climate and average air quality.

#13 - Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL

Tampa scored best in the Lifestyle category, with the second-lowest lever of particulate pollution and mild climate.  It also shone in the Work category, with lower than average scores for commute (25.9 minutes one-way, 5% less than average) and a shorter-than-average work-week of 34.3 hours.  The Lifestyle category is where Tampa fell down, with a skin cancer rate 44% above average (3.9 deaths per 100,000 residents), and high number of smokers (18.2% of the population, average is 15.1%).  Tampa also had the highest stress score in the study, with a suicide rate 53% above average, alcohol use 22% greater than normal, and depression (residents report 4.3 days per month of poor mental health, average is 3.5).

#14 - Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall, FL

Miami earned its spot at #14 with a lengthy commute time (29.5 minutes one-way, 8% longer than average) and an average work-week of 35.1 hours (a little longer than the average of 34.9 hours).  Miami had the best air quality of any metro in our study, with especially low rates of particulate pollution.  The incidence of skin cancer was also particularly low, with 0.95 deaths annually per 100,000 residents, compared to the study average mortality rate of 3.9 deaths per 100,000.  (It may seem surprising that sunny Miami has a low incidence of skin cancer.  Researchers suggest that residents of northern cloudy climates are more at risk than residents of sunny climates, since their skin is more susceptible to a dangerous sunburn after a long periods without the sun exposure which produces the melanin which protects against sunburn.)

#15 - Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX

Houston had high Wrinkle Risk scores for both Work and Environment categories.  The average work-week was 38.0 hours, 9% higher than the average of 34.9 hours, and the second-highest in our study.  The daily commute is 4% longer than average (28.6 minutes one-way).  Houston’s ozone pollution is also a risk factor, ranking in the top five of our study.  Skin cancer is 14% higher than average, with a rate of 3.1 deaths per 100,000 residents, but there are less smokers than average (12.6% of the population, average is 15.1%).  Houston has a fairly low stress level, with a roaring economy (unemployment rates of 5.5%) and better than average indicators of depression (residents report 3.0 days per month of poor mental health, average is 3.5).

#16 - Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, CA

One might think of New York City as gritty and dirty, but Los Angeles has our study’s highest level of particulate pollution. Ozone levels are also higher than normal, though much better now than they were 20 years ago.  LA is known for its traffic congestion, and the daily commute of 29.6 minutes is 8% longer than average of 28.6 minutes one-way.  Los Angeles showed a commitment to a healthy diet with 13.0% more servings of fruits and vegetables than our study’s average.  There were also fewer smokers than average (11.1% of the population, compared to the average of 15.1% or 27% less).  High stress is a factor, with an unemployment rate of 10.8% and residents reporting 3.9 days per month of poor mental health, when the study average is 3.5.

#17 - Charlotte-Gastonia-Concord, NC-SC

Charlotte landed in the top 20 with a Lifestyle risk score that reflected high levels of smoking (16.5% of the population, 10% more than average) and skin cancer (46% higher than average, with a rate of 4.0 deaths per 100,000 residents), lack of exercise (379 minutes per week, 15% less than average), and ), and a diet that included 9% fewer servings of fruits and vegetables than our study’s average.  On the positive side, the commute time was lower than average (25.6 minutes one-way, 6% less than average) and the climate is mild.

#18 - Dallas-Plano-Irving, TX

The weak spot for the Big D is in the Environment category, which reflects the local hot and dry climate and significant ozone pollution.  Another issue is fitness and diet, with exercise of 357 minutes per week (15% less than average) and 12% fewer servings of fruits and vegetables than our study’s average .  On the plus side, the commute in Dallas is very close to our study average of 27.4 minutes one-way each day. 

#19 - Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ

Phoenix has the most punishing climate for skin care, with the most sun (299 sunny days annually, average is 266), hottest average July temperature (104.5, average is 84.5, and low humidity.  At least the daily commute is shorter than average (25.8 minutes one-way, 6% less than average).  Skin cancer is 35% higher than average, with a rate of 3.7 deaths per 100,000 residents.

#20 - Warren, MI

Warren, Michigan rounds out the top twenty with fairly average scores for all three categories of Environment, Occupation and Lifestyle.  The scores for Warren’s harsh winter climate is offset by better than average air quality. The daily commute of 27.2 minutes is a little less than the study’s average (27.4 minutes).  Also, deaths from skin cancer are 37% lower than average, with a rate of 1.7 per 100,000 residents.  Warren residents take care of themselves, reporting exercise of 483 minutes per week (8% more than average) and 5% more servings of fruits and vegetables than our study’s average.



For our research of the “Wrinkle Ranking”, we used the following criteria which are directly and indirectly related to skin damage.  The study metrics were grouped and weighted by risk factor and relevancy.


•             Elevation (altitude)

•             Latitude (degrees from the equator)

•             Sunny days

•             Low winter temperature

•             High summer temperature

•             Dew point (measure of humidity)

•             Wind

•             Ozone pollution

•             Particulate pollution

•             Skin cancer


•             Commute time

•             Hours worked


•             Smoking

•             Stress Index

•             Fitness

•             Healthy diet

•             Sleepless nights

Our Stress Index is based on factors which have been found to be related to stress and anxiety.

•             Divorce rate

•             Unemployment rate

•             Crime - violent

•             Crime - property

•             Suicides

•             Alcohol use

•             Poor mental health

•             Depression diagnosed

•             Limited activity due to health and mental issues

•             Average length of workday

•             Average number of sleeping hours


Data Sources

ERSI Arc-GIS v10.1 mapping software:  Elevation, Latitude

NOAA Climate Normals, 1980-2010:  Sunny days, Temperatures, Dew point, Wind

EPA Air Quality Index, 2012:  Ozone, Particulate pollution

US Census Bureau, American Community Survey, 2012:  Commute time

Bureau of Labor Statistics, State and Area Employment Hours and Earnings, 2013:  Hours worked per week

CDC Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2011:  Smoking, Fitness, Healthy diet, Sleepless nights

CDC Compressed Mortality File, 1999-2010:  Skin cancer



All data is adjusted by the current population to arrive at ‘per capita’ figures, providing an accurate comparison between cities of varying sizes.

Each metro area in the study receives points for each of the criteria based on their relation to the other city’s scores in that data category. To maintain consistency throughout the study, the most significant data element for any given category (that which imply the conditions most conducive to or indicative of skin health) receive a score of 100 points. The data element for any given category which is associated with the least amount of or lowest importance of healthy skin receives a score of 0 points.

The remaining cities are assigned point values between 0 and 100 based on their data element's percentage of the range between the most desirable score in that category and the least desirable score in that category. In this way, the point values assigned to cities preserve the proportionality of the data points in relation to the data set while providing a common point scale.

Category scores are weighted and aggregated to determine an overall “Wrinkle Index” score to rank the metro areas.

Metropolitan Areas

For this type of study, we usually compare “metropolitan areas” to each other, instead of cities.

Metropolitan areas are defined by the United States Census Bureau, and include a central city and the surrounding county (or counties.)   This methodology fits well with the public perception of a city, since it encompasses the surrounding suburbs where much of an area’s population resides.  Also, metro areas correspond closely with Nielsen’s DMA classifications, which are used for marketing campaigns.  Approximately 50% of all U.S. citizens reside in the 50 largest metro areas, and 65% reside in the 100 largest metros.


About the Skincare Wrinkle Ranking Study from Sperling's BestPlaces and RoC®:

To determine the metropolitan areas in the U.S. most likely to wrinkle skin, Sperling’s BestPlaces performed a meta-analysis, combining the findings of original and existing research. Lifestyle, occupational and environmental criteria that directly and indirectly relate to skin damage were used for the selection. The factors were grouped and weighted by risk factor and relevancy. All data was adjusted by the current population to arrive at per capita figures, and category scores were aggregated and weighted to determine an overall “RoC® Skincare Wrinkle Ranking” score.

About RoC® Skincare:

RoC® Skincare has been a leading French skin care brand for more than 50 years, devoted to developing anti-aging products that guarantee visible and lasting results for healthier, younger-looking skin. Considered a pioneer in visibly reducing the appearance of wrinkles, the brand was the first to stabilize and patent pure retinol in a cosmetic product and has continued to improve its aesthetics, tolerance and efficacy over the past 25 years. Strong partnerships with dermatologists have contributed to the brand’s expertise in understanding skincare and developing clinically proven products, which are highly effective, yet suitable for most skin types.

About Sperling’s BestPlaces:

Bert Sperling has been helping people find their own "Best Place" to live, work and retire for nearly 30 years. His research firm, Sperling's BestPlaces, puts facts in the hands of the public so they can make better decisions about best places to live, work, retire, play, or relocate. He has authored bestselling books rating and ranking places, and his website www.bestplaces.net helps over a million visitors each month.