A new sign of aging was reported earlier this month by Gettysburg College’s Richard Russell and two colleagues from Chanel Research and Technology. According to the study, which was published in journal PLOS ONE, your facial features lose some of their color contrast with age — and people can tell.
“Unlike with wrinkles, none of us are consciously aware that we’re using this cue, even though it stares us in the face every day,” the good Dr. Russell burbled in a Gettysburg College press release.
Well, isn’t that just peaches and cream.
In the paper, Russell acknowledged what everyone already knows, which is that people treat you differently depending on how old they think you are.
That’s why Allergan sold an estimated $1.8 billion worth of Botox, the signature injectable that can smooth out wrinkles for weeks or even months. The company was valued at approximately $26 billion last October.
In 2011, over $10 billion was spent cosmetic procedures according to figures released by the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. The new figures, just released last week, reveal that Americans spent almost $11 billion on the procedures in 2012.
That’s a lot of nipping and tucking and smoothing, if you ask me.
And it still isn’t enough. The team studied 289 faces of French Caucasian women between age 20 and 70 to confirm that the color of lips, eyes, and eyebrows are more contrasty in young women than in older women — that is, that young lips are redder and older skin is darker.
According to luminance tests, they were. In other words, you may assume that your lips fade, while your skin gets redder, grayer, or blotchier, to provide less contrast with age. The purported new sign of aging was for real.
The team then followed up to test if other people could tell. They manipulated photographs of the same woman, enhancing the image so that one face was much more contrasty than the other. By a large margin, the test subjects agreed that the image with less color contrast in her face looked older.
So I have some sad news, women of the world. Even if you use Botox, if your color balance isn’t right, people are just going to know that you’re probably not a spring chicken.
Yeah, that’s just what we needed, a new sign of aging. Fortunately, the cure seems to be as cheap as a tube of lipstick. Probably from Chanel.
[photo courtesy Mark J. Sebastian and Wikipedia Commons]