Divorce adds 'two years to your face'

A new study has found that people who go through a divorce can look older than they really are.

Researchers have analysed almost 200 pairs of identical twins and have discovered how a person's lifestyle and the events they go though alters how they age, not just genetics.

When rated by independent adjudicators it was found that a twin who had gone through a divorce looked an average of two years older than their identical sibling who was single, still married or even widowed.

The study was published in the journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).

ASPS member surgeon and study author Bahaman Guyuron, professor and chairman of the department of plastic surgery at University Hospitals Case Medical Centre, said: "In this study, 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."

According to the study, weight can also play a major factor in appearance. In sets of twins who were less than 40 years old, the heavier twin was seen as being the older of the two - while in those groups over 40 years old, the opposite was true.

Use of antidepressants was also found to contribute to someone looking older than their sibling.

"A person's heritage may initially dictate how they age - but if you introduce certain factors into your life, you will certainly age faster. Likewise, if you avoid those factors you can slow down the hands of time," Dr Guyuron said.

Dr Guyuron adds that the presence of stress "could be one of the common denominators in those twins who appeared older".

Meanwhile, a leading psychiatrist has said that certain events, such as divorce, can dictate a person's choice of hair colour.

Anjula Mutanda says that women are more likely to change their hair colour when they split up from a boyfriend or partner, or change jobs.

"When Natalie Imbruglia split from her boyfriend, she went from brown hair to blonde. Chantelle from Big Brother, when she was married to Preston, she had brown hair and when they split, she went blonde," she explained.

She added: "So when there is a life changing event, you can change your physical identity because when you look at someone, you see hair first as it has such impact, people tend to make that drastic change. People feel different and the world responds to them in a different way too."

Consequently, taking into the equation Ms Mutanda's comments and the study results, a female divorced twin is more likely to have blonde hair and look two years older than her brunette married sibling.

It has also been reported that social networking site Facebook has seen its first divorce, after Emma Brady found out that her husband was divorcing her when he changed his status to: "Neil Brady has ended his marriage to Emma Brady."

Written by Christopher Evans

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Published on: February 6, 2009

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