Do you really believe that you have control of your facial aging process? A recent study certainly seems to think so. The findings of this study were published in the Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Journal, a medical journal published by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. This study was conducted on identical twins to determine how environmental factors and life experiences had an effect on the rate of aging. Researchers studied the lifestyles of 200 odd sets of identical twins who attended the Twin Festival in Ohio. All test subjects used in the study were females.
According to Dr. Bagman Guyuron, the chairman of the plastic surgery department at the Case Western Reserve University, the research proved to be extremely useful in studying aging because twins are supposed to age in identical ways.
Dr. Guyuron also stated that by studying the twins, researchers were able to study perceived differences in how lifestyles and the environment influenced their aging. The main aims of the study, according to Guyuron, was to determine what factors caused an acceleration in aging and what factors could be controlled to prevent accelerated aging. Another question that needed to be answered was whether the process of aging could be slowed down by changing behavioral patterns.
The study used sets of still photographs and asked an independent panel to rate the appearance of each twin as to whether one looked older than the other. The study determined that there were a number of factors such as smoking and sun exposure that actually made one of the twins look older. Upon further examination, it was determined that about 10 years of smoking could make the one twin look 2.5 years older than the other. Exposure to the sun, particularly among twins who were into golf, also accelerated the aging process.
Finally, stress also appeared to be a major factor in accelerating aging. Those who were divorced seemed to look approximately 2 years older than those who were happily married or widowed. The use of antidepressants was also associated with aging. Firstly, depression itself leads to accelerated aging. Secondly, researchers believe that it is possible for antidepressants to relax the facial muscles in a way that increased the overall signs of aging, thereby making matters even worse.
It was also surprising to note a direct relation between body weight and facial aging. Generally, men having heavier body weight before the age of 40 were directly associated older looks. On the other hand, the study showed that women with a heavier body mass index seemed to be younger than their thinner sisters. Dr. Guyuron believes that excessive weight loss before the age of 40 can be quite detrimental to the overall attractiveness and youthfulness of a person, a fact that was clearly proved by comparing the twins in this study.
Encouraged by the success of the study, Dr. Guyuron plans to conduct further studies using male twin sets in order to determine the factors that influence facial aging for men.