Age is in the eye of the beholder
A new study reveals that wrinkles are not the only signal the human eye looks for in evaluating age. Factors such as skin color distribution, or tone, may add 10-12 years to a woman's perceived age. This study, published in the latest issue of the journal Evolution and Human Behavior, used advanced imaging and morphing software while removing wrinkles and furrows from the pictures of women, leaving skin tone as the only variable. Researchers then determined exactly what impact facial skin tone may have on young, healthy and attractive people- and their perception of what a women at a certain age should be. Faces with more even skin tone were judged to be younger. In the process, other potential age-defining features such as facial furrows, lines and wrinkles were removed, leaving skin tone as the only variable. Then, these models were viewed by 430 observers who were asked to estimate each model's age and gauge her health and attractiveness. The models who were gifted with even skin tones received significantly higher ratings for their attractiveness and health, and were also judged to be younger in age. The models with uneven, blotchy skin tone were judged to be significantly older. It was said that tone variances could be due to several factors: including cumulative UV damage (freckles, moles, age spots), natural aging (yellowing, dullness) and skin vascularization (redness). Not surprisingly, the study hinted at a positive correlation between the amount of accumulated photodamage and the amount of uneven skin tone. It is believed that the judgment of facial skin age is influenced by uneven chromophore distribution and a decrease in light reflection- but the question is: when did academia determine it was time to shift the perception of beauty?