If you are a woman over 40 you must have heard the oft quoted saying that you have to choose between your figure or your face.
Conventional wisdom has it that you can’t have a younger looking figure and a youthful face.
Recently the cosmetic surgery industry has picked up on some research that appears to back up the popular advice.
According to a survey published last year – dieting may do wonders for your figure but it will age your face. So will weight loss push you towards cosmetic surgery?
Weight loss and facial aging
Reported in a reputable plastic surgery journal – the research study was carried out on 200 pairs of identical twins.
Comparing the BMI and appearance of the twins the survey concluded that losing the equivalent of one dress size can age women by four years.
Women with plumper cheeks and softer features – in other words with fatter faces – were found to look younger than slimmer women.
Dieting was found to be up there with divorce, depression, sunbathing, smoking and drinking as a major factor in making women look older.
“A BMI higher by four points was found to result in a younger appearance of between two and four years in women over 40 years old.” Dr Bahaman Guyuron, Senior Researcher
So should you really ditch the diet and pile on the pounds in the interests of keeping your face looking younger?
As someone who has recently lost 28 lbs and dropped two dress sizes – this report certainly held my attention. But my experience is completely the opposite.
Far from adding years – losing weight has been a rejuvenating experience and according to friends and family has helped me look younger.
My belief is that carrying excess weight – especially around the middle and around the jawline – is very aging. What’s worse – excess weight is a health risk for most of us and needs to be controlled.
Crash dieting causes facial aging
What this survey does pick up though is the dangers of crash and yo-yo dieting – extreme weight loss without the right kind of nutrition can result in facial aging.
According to the main professional body for plastic surgeons in the UK most women will see a loss of plumpness in the cheeks from around the age of 38 onwards.
What will really contrbute to facial aging is extreme dieting which causes sudden loss of volume and changes the shape of the face.
According to Dr Rajiv Grover at the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, “Volume loss can be compounded by yo-yo dieting, where not only do you create volume loss but also stretching of the facial supporting ligaments which causes deeper nose to mouth lines and jowls.”
Lifestyle factors matter too
Poor nutrition will also play havoc with skin tone and make skin aging worse.
If we pile on the pounds it tends to be because we are eating the wrong things – too many sugary snacks for instance. Sugar damage is a major cause of facial aging through a process called glycation. Limiting your consumption of simple carbohydrate and sugars can only help you lose weight and look younger in the process.
Add in any of the other factors like sunbathing, smoking and stress and there is no doubt facial aging will increase – whatever weight we are.
Research reported by plastic surgeons
Suggesting that dropping a dress size will cause your face to age or make you look older is – in my opinion – not the correct conclusion to draw from this survey.
The fact that the research has been reported by plastic surgery journals is down to marketing. After all it’s in the interests of facial plastic surgeons to find reasons why you need an anti aging procedure like a facial filler or a face lift.
The truth is – if you’re overweight then it’s a good idea to eat less and exercise more.
You’ll feel and look younger without plastic surgery when you drop a dress size so long as you are sensible in your approach. Make sure whatever diet you choose is based on great anti aging nutrition and brings about a permanent change to the way you eat.
Aim for sensible weight loss with great nutrition over the longer term – that way plastic surgery shouldn’t be an issue at all!