Stress, not Your Parents Genes, add Years to Your face.

Your genetics may not be the best predictor of how you’ll age. A study involving identical twins suggests that despite genetic make-up, certain environmental factors can add years to a person’s perceived age. Factors such as divorce or the use of antidepressants are the real culprits that cause facial aging.

Researchers obtained comprehensive questionnaires and digital images from nearly 200 pairs of identical twins. The images were reviewed by an independent panel, which recorded the perceived age difference between the siblings.

Study subjects who had been divorced appeared nearly two years older than their siblings who were married, single or even widowed. Antidepressant use was associated with a significantly older appearance..

The presence of stress could be one of the common denominators that caused facial aging. The researchers also suspected that continued relaxation of the facial muscles due to antidepressant use could account for sagging.

( 2/19/09)


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