Skin Tone and Age

Beautiful woman with short hair
The Importance of Skin Tone
Time to get out that sun hat and slather on the face cream. Caring for your skin may be more important than ever, according to a scientific study on skin tone and age.
The study, presented at the annual meeting of the Human Behavior and Evolution Society, utilized state of the art imaging technology to discover that wrinkles arenít the only factor people notice when determining a personís age. Researchers at the University of Vienna and the University of Goettingen found that skin tone plays a major role in age evaluation, adding or subtracting as much as 20 years to a womanís age.
Lead researcher Dr. Karl Grammer of University of Vienna noted, ďThis study helps us better understand that wrinkles are not the only age cue. Skin tone and luminosity may be a major signal for mate selection and attractiveness, as well as perceived age.Ē The study highlights the importance of care and prevention to prevents skin discolorations and damage.
How Does Uneven Skin Tone Affect Age?
Researchers used images of women between the ages of 10 and 70 and digitally removed other age cues such as fine lines and wrinkles. The skin textures of the women in these images were then digitally placed on a standardized model. The study participant rated even skin tones as younger, healthier, and more attractive.
The results of this study demonstrate the need to protect skin from the harmful effects of the sun. While the researchers noted that some discoloration is due to natural causes, avoiding excessive sun exposure can prevent many skin discolorations such as age spots and freckling.
"Whether a woman is 17 or 70, the contrast of skin tone plays a significant role in the way her age, beauty and health is perceived," said Dr. Bernhard Fink of the University of Goettingen. The next step researchers will take is to study the distribution of the tiny, light reflecting molecules known as chromophores that are inside skin. By doing this, researchers hope to learn how these molecules change with age.
Protecting Your Skin Tone
If you want to maintain an even skin tone, try to minimize your time in the sun. Always wear sunscreen outdoors and make use of sunhats and lightweight fabrics to reduce harmful UV rays.
What if youíve already made the mistake of spending too much time in the sun, or worse, have experienced severe sunburns in the past? While you canít completely undo the damage that has been done, there are steps you can take to minimize the effects. Apply a daily lotion that helps smooth the skin and contains SPF 15. Use beauty products that contain SPF protection as well. Consult a dermatologist for additional advice on combating the effects of sun damage.
Photo: Shutterstock
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