By Margarita Nahapetyan
The French actress Catherine Deneuve once wisely noted that a woman after 30 years of age must be choosing between her body and her face in order to hold back the effects of time. With this completely agrees Dr. Bahaman Guyuron, a Chairman of the Department of Plastic Surgery, and one of the world's leading experts on the subject of aging.
A new study, that will be published in April's issue of the Plastic and Reconstructive Journal, found that people over 40 look much younger if they have fatter face. It was also found that by losing as little as 10 pounds, which is equal to about one dress size, a woman will look older by 4 years.
The study, the first of its kind, focused on a variety of factors that can make people look older. Dr. Guyuron and his colleagues at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, made the connection between weight and perceived age after examining the body mass index of 200 pairs of identical female twins for the period of two years. "The perceived age of a person is usually attributed to both genetics and environment in various degrees," said Dr Guyuron.
While a large number of previous research have focused on how environmental factors, such as sun damage and tobacco use, are connected with facial aging, the findings and conclusions still remained elusive. The reason is that in spite of the size and thoroughness of the research, no one was able to control one of the most important factors of aging - genetics. And because genetic make-up of the twins was the totally identical, the differences in how old they looked could be attributed only to external factors, and not blamed on genes, be they good or bad, Dr. Guyuron explained.
The scientists calculated the body mass index (BMI) of each twin by dividing their weight in kilograms by their height in meters squared. The ideal BMI for an adult is between 18.5 and 25. Any person with a BMI lower than 18.5 is classified as underweight, and a BMI of over 30 is classified as obese. Dr. Guyuron explained that the participants were assigned to different groups based on a BMI difference in 4 points. As a result, the women over 40 years, who had their BMI higher by 4 points, looked two to four years younger, compared to those with lower BMI.
Rajiv Grover, Consultant Plastic Surgeon and Secretary of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, welcomes and agrees with the results. He said that while most individuals will find their cheeks start to lose their plumpness from around the age of 38, extreme dieters are the ones who should be concerned the most. People who are trying to stay skinny do not realize that they will lose weight from their face sooner than they would otherwise and this is extremely aging, he said. According to the expert, it is not particularly wrinkles that make people look older, it is mostly due to the changes in the shape of the face, facial proportions.
This volume loss can be the cause of yo-yo dieting, he said, where not only the volume loss is being created, but also stretching of the facial supporting ligaments due to constant facial volume gain and loss, which leads to a deeper wrinkles and lines in the mouth-nose area and jowls. The conclusion is that "The more fat that is preserved in the face, particularly the cheeks, the more you will preserve the facial proportions of youth."