Sunday, July 31, 2011

Racial differences in facial aging

Dr. Julius W. Few, a plastic surgeon in Chicago, said there was a “holy trinity” of changes in the face that made a person look older. First, there are wrinkles, age spots and other superficial changes, often worsened by sun exposure and smoking. Then, there is what plastic surgeons call “loss of volume,” the shrinking of the fat layers in the cheeks, which can create a gaunt or deflated look and cause bags under the eyes to stick out more. Finally, there is plain old drooping.

“Darker skin tends to show aging changes less obviously,” Dr. Few said. “The biggest reason probably has to do with the skin being able to shield itself from the harmful effects of the sun.”

He and other doctors said darker skin also tended to be oilier and somewhat thicker than pale skin; this makes it more supple and less prone to wrinkles. Blacks and Asians have still another advantage, Dr. Few said: they start out with fuller cheeks than do whites, so the fat loss that comes with middle age is less noticeable, and the face remains younger looking.
--Denise Grady, NYT, on why black don't crack and Asians don't raisin