"A person’s heritage may initially dictate how they age – but if you introduce certain factors into your life, you will certainly age faster," said ASPS member surgeon and study author Bahaman Guyuron, professor and chairman of the department of plastic surgery at University Hospitals Case Medical Center. “Likewise, if you avoid those factors, you can slow down the hands of time.
"In this study," he continued, "we looked at identical twins, because they are genetically programmed to age exactly the same, and in doing so, we essentially discovered that, when it comes to your face, it is possible to cheat your biological clock."
Guyuron and his team included 186 pairs of identical twins in their study. The twins filled out comprehensive questionnaires, and their digital images were obtained. An independent panel then reviewed the images, evaluating the perceived age difference between the siblings.
The panel’s evaluations suggested that divorce added two years of perceived age to a person’s face, compared with his married, single or even widowed sibling. In addition, antidepressant use produced a significantly older look. And weight also played a role. In twins less than 40 years old, the heavier sibling was evaluated as being older. But among those over 40, the heavier sibling seemed younger, probably due to a fuller, smoother face.
According to Guyuron, “the presence of stress could be one of the common denominators in those twins who appeared older.” But the research group also suspects that facial sagging can occur due to the long-term relaxation of the facial muscles engendered by antidepressant use. In addition, the scientists concluded that losing abnormal amounts of weight can detract from a person’s appearance.
"This research is important for two reasons,” Guyuron said. “First, we have discovered a number of new factors that contribute to aging, and second, our findings put science behind the idea that volume replacement rejuvenates the face."
There were over 1.5 million injectable filler procedures (which attempt to plump up a person’s facial skin to erase wrinkles) performed on Americans’ faces in 2007, according to the ASPS.