June 06, 2006
Hands Show True Age

Your hands reveal your age.

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. – Want to know a person's real age? Just look at their hands, reports a study in the June issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery®, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). According to the study, most people can accurately tell a person's age by viewing only their hands.

"A primary motivation to have plastic surgery is to look and feel better, often by seeking a younger looking appearance. However, looking younger after your facelift or eyelid surgery can conflict with aged hands that simply do not match the face," said Roxanne Guy, MD, ASPS president-elect. "After the face, hands are the second most visible, tell-tale sign of one's age. If your goal is to look more youthful or you are bothered by the appearance of your hands, you may seriously want to consider hand rejuvenation."

In the study, people examined unaltered photographs of female hands and were asked to estimate the women's ages, i.e., younger than 20 years, 20 to 30 years, 30 to 40 years, etc. In the majority of cases, participants were able to accurately estimate the age of each woman in the unaltered photographs.

Participants were also asked to compare digitally altered photographs of female hands – blemishes and hand veins were removed or jewelry and nail polish were added – to unaltered photographs to assess which hands looked younger. The majority of participants felt that the altered photos of women's hands appeared younger. However, alterations to photos of very elderly hands – characterized by thin skin, age spots, wrinkles, deformity, veins and prominent joints – did not change the participants' ability to distinguish the person's age.

Overall, the physical characteristic which most commonly gave away age was prominent hand veins.

This being a press release from a society of plastic surgeons they went on to explain how plastic surgeons can do many things to hands to make them look younger. But SENS therapies that make our bodies younger through and through would be far more appealing.

Do people who have younger looking hands live longer on average? Does the outwardly visible condition of one's hands serve as a pretty good proxy for one's general rate of aging?

I'm expecting rejuvenation for skin to come much sooner than rejuvenation for some other parts of the body. The skin is very accessible for delivering treatments whether those treatments be gene therapies, cell therapies, or drugs that break age-related crosslinks between cells and fibers. Plus, people are willing to take risks in order to look better. Also, people spend their own money on plastic surgery rather than insurance money and are willing to pay for experimental treatments that will make them look better.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2006 June 06 10:47 PM  Aging Studies

ardvark said at June 7, 2006 6:00 PM:

From what I've read, we should see some major advances with skin, teeth and hair rejuvination in just a few years.

Jacqueline said at June 7, 2006 9:53 PM:

Adding to shopping list:
1. Purse-size tube of sunscreen
2. Driving gloves

sammler said at June 8, 2006 9:26 AM:

This is reminiscent of Neuromancer: "The only thing old about Michele was her knuckles."

jim said at October 18, 2013 6:27 PM:

I,am 53 and my hands look 83, my face looks 45 or so I am told by many the hands show either your true age or what they have been subjected to, opinion

Dr. Franklyn said at February 11, 2015 6:37 AM:

Interesting info. I think palmars use same technique to fool people and take their money. Lol

Mike Flamming said at April 9, 2015 6:05 AM:

I enjoy reading the post Hands Show True Age! Yes, that's the way I did it.

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