The appearance of your hands can reveal your age, study finds

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.

In altered images where hand veins were removed, participants significantly felt hands looked younger. Fullness and a lack of wrinkles and veins char

Contact: LaSandra Cooper
American Society of Plastic Surgeons

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