Is your face the same age as you are?
W. Chen et al., Cell Research (2015)

Is your face the same age as you are?

If you are one of those lucky people who ages well, your youthfulness could be more than skin deep. In a new study, researchers made a map of facial aging by taking 3D images of more than 300 faces from people between 17 and 77 years old and calculated average faces for men and women of different age groups, shown above for the youngest and oldest groups of men. Older average faces displayed the hallmark characteristics of age—sagging skin, drooping eyelids, deepening laughlines—and they also had wider mouths and noses, drooping eye corners, and a larger distance between the mouth and nose. The researchers used their map of facial aging to predict the age of each subject. Those who had facial ages that differed by more than 6 years from their chronological ages were designated as slow or fast agers. Then, the scientists compared blood samples of fast, slow, and normal agers. Slow agers had blood profiles like those of younger people, the team reports today in Cell Research. For example, slow agers had higher levels of the blood protein albumin, which tends to decrease with age. The scientists say that the approach could be a useful, noninvasive tool for estimating general health and aging. But the study included only faces of Chinese origin, so it remains to be seen how these features translate to other races.