Wakefield, England — A new study suggests that while a face-lift can help make women look years younger, it’s their hands that can give away their true age.
Published in the June edition of the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the study — led by Robert Bains, M.D., a plastic surgeon at Pinderfields Hospital here — involved showing photos of only the hands of females of various ages to 71 women and 22 men at two British hospitals. The volunteers were asked to study the photos and estimate the ages of the women whose hands were depicted.
In most cases, more than half the volunteers were able to correctly estimate the age of the women within 10 years — younger than 20, 20 to 30, 30 to 40 and so forth. For example, 60 percent estimated the right age from a photo of the hands of a 17-year-old, and 90 percent correctly identified the age of the hands of a 78-year-old. Interestingly, only 15 percent were accurate within a decade when it came to a photo of 48-year-old hands.
The volunteers also studied hand photos that had been digitally altered to remove blemishes or pronounced veins and added nail polish or jewelry. Age estimates based on viewing the altered photos generally went lower for 40- and 50-year-old hands, though most volunteers were still able to identify hand photos of women in their 90s.
The study concludes that the physical characteristics that most commonly gave away age were thin-looking skin and prominent veins and wrinkles. Digitally removing those features tended to lower the age estimates, along with the digitally added jewelry and nail polish.