Divorce and traumatic break-ups make people age by an average of two years, reported US researchers earlier this week, which made me wonder how much the woman dumped on Facebook on Friday will age over the weekend.
Of course, the good doctor who did the study — Dr Bahman Guyuron, chairman of the department of plastic surgery at University Hospital, Case Medical Centre in Cleveland — insists he does not recommend people hang on to a bad marriage, but says it is clear from this study of 186 identical twins that the sibling who gets divorced looks two years older than the one who doesn’t.
The study, reported in the journal, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, basically tried to prove that more than genes, what brought on the wrinkles, blotches and other unwanted scars of aging included divorce, smoking, eating, alcohol, sun exposure and depression. Of course, the doctor also added just about every possible stress imaginable, from surly bosses to the parking trauma and the neighbour’s yippy dog.
By the end of the list, I realised all of us, with or without the breakdown trauma, are pretty much in the same boat as the Facebook dumpee. For contrary to what Guyuron claims about cheating your biological clock by making smart choices such as not smoking and hanging on to a bad relationship, the truth is there is no getting away from wrinkles.
His study says that happy people get laughter lines around their lips and crow’s feet at the ends of their eyes, and the sad ones get droopy lines around the mouth. What’s worse is that while depression causes wrinkles — and now I am truly depressed at the thought of the inevitability of lines — so can taking antidepressants. The Guyuron study also reports that even having antidepressants to help you feel perkier makes the facial muscles relax, causing more sagging.
There’s more. He says that while losing weight suddenly makes everyone look haggard, overweight twins under 40 look older than their thin siblings. The reverse is true for people over 40: the thinner ones look older.
The stress of having to remember all that has added countless lines to my face already. Now, if I had a twin, I would have been able to conclude whether reading such reports adds some years to people’s lives.