What factors influence visible aging aside from genes?

Are there patterns you’ve noticed among people who look younger or older for their age?

Have there been studies which have shown which factors influence whether one looks younger or older than one’s age?

Exposure to sunlight




And stress. Of any source. I’ve seen 20-somethings who looked 50+.


Young people look younger when they’re thinner. Old people usually look older when they’re thinner because there’s less fat filling up facial lines.

Beard, gray hair and/or a receding hairline make you look a lot older, too. I know a guy who is close to 50 and he shaves his head. He tells me some people think he’s in his late 20s.

I went to my 30th college reunion, and some of the men looked much older than others. I realized it was gray hair. That makes a huge difference in how old someone looks to me.

I came in to mention these two.

And overuse of alcohol and narcotics.

We already have the Big 4: Smoking, booze, drugs, sunlight. Which are also the four things that a lot of people in acting/modeling overdo despite their jobs depending on their looks.:confused:

I think use of moisturizers and other skin products also helps. I have a picture of my mother when she was in her mid 30s with her two younger sisters. She looked far younger than them. The sisters belonged to a church that forbade makeup, etc. My mother used the usual stuff. As the years rolled by, the difference increased.

(I don’t think modern “miracle anti-wrinkle” creams are any better than the classic stuff.)

Agree with this.

My hair went gray in my late 20s. At age 50 I shaved off a healthy, but utterly gray, beard. Even with my still-gray hair people said I looked 10 years younger without the beard.

Around here it’s amazing how many long-married long-retired couples I see where he’s got 100% gray hair (what little of it there still is) and she’s got 100% dark brown hair. Like maybe 90% of couples look this way. You learn to look past the hair to read the age in the face*. But at first it fools you.

  • Just like with trees; count the lines. :smiley:

In addition to the factors mentioned above, excess iron seems to play a role in aging appearance:


Depends. I’m a thin guy, always have been. But during a particularly ill period in my early 40s, I lost quite a bit of weight, including whatever fat was in my face, and my cheeks ended up sunken. Once that’s gone, it doesn’t come back. So despite being fatter than I used to be (I’m 180 cm, 60 kilos, in American that’s 5/11, 130 lbs) my cheeks are sunken and it really doesn’t help me look younger than my age (50).

Ah, I now see that I’m agreeing with the post I quoted, seconds after my edit time is up. I’d like to go on record as saying the edit time here is incredibly annoying.

As was already said smoking, sunshine, stress, depression. Someone mentioned drugs. I sometimes wonder if long term but moderate use of opiates doesn’t actually make people appear younger.

UV exposure, receding hairlines, smoking, weight I also notice people can look much older with fine lines and wrinkles if they constantly make exaggerated facial expressions. I don’t make an effort to do so but I keep a neutral facial expression most of the time and I notice friends my age that make these crazy facial expressions that have deep forehead lines and the wrinkles starting to form under their eyes. You’ll notice a lot of young actors have these wrinkles and lines too for the same reason.

I’m 64, and look a lot younger. In fact people at work are astounded that I’m ready to retire. I agree with everything here (I don’t get too much sun, I don’t smoke, I still have all my hair, no beard, and I’m only partially gray) except for thinness. Perhaps if you lost weight it might make you look older, but I’m reasonably thin (not skinny) and I’ve pretty much held my weight for decades, and it definitely does not make me look older.

I also avoid any chemicals on my skin. I use Ivory Soap (I’m allergic to perfume) a simple shampoo, and that is about it. I don’t know that this has helped, but it hasn’t hurt.

I was going to say something like this: just keep your face perfectly still all the time and you’ll never get wrinkles!

Seriously though my dad is a very non-expressive person and looks pretty much the same now in his mid 50s as he has all the 30 years I’ve been alive. And that’s not just the imperfections and influences of my memory, as when I go to my parents’ house and see their wedding photo (from before I was even alive), he still looks basically almost the same in it, albeit somewhat fatter now. Not the same case with my mom, at all.

I’d bet that makeup and thsoe skin care products either contained sunscreen, or acted as some kind of crude sunscreen via being opaque. Dry skin doesn’t really cause wrinkles, etc…

What factors influence visible aging aside from genes?
Damn near all of them…

Being sedentary. From what I’ve noticed, working out regularly seems to give people a more youthful appearance. Their bodies will look younger because they have better muscle tone and look fitter. Also, their skin seems to be firmer and have more of a glow than older people who don’t work out.