Dr. Bahaman Guyuron of the University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland, said a study involving identical twins, suggests that despite genetic make-up, certain environmental factors can add years to a person's perceived age.
Guyuron and colleagues obtained comprehensive questionnaires and digital images from 186 pairs of identical twins. The images were reviewed by an independent panel, which then recorded the perceived age difference between the siblings.
The study, published online in the journal of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, found that the results showed twins who had been divorced appeared nearly two years older than their siblings who were married, single or even widowed.
Antidepressant use was associated with a significantly older appearance and researchers also found that weight played a major factor. In those sets of twins who were less than 40 years old, the heavier twin was perceived as being older, while in those groups over 40 years old, the heavier twin appeared younger, the study said.
"The presence of stress could be one of the common denominators in those twins who appeared older," Guyuron said in a statement.