Do wrinkles get in the way of emotions?

August 23, 2012

Wrinkles could make it more difficult to show how you really feel
Wrinkles could make it more difficult to show how you really feel

Most people worry about developing wrinkles and want to delay the effects of aging as much as possible to ensure they look their best. However, a new study published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology may prove there are more drawbacks to having wrinkles than just the aesthetics.

NBC News reports people with wrinkles may have a more difficult time conveying their emotions than their younger counterparts. Researchers asked three women who were between the ages of 19 and 21 and three women between the ages of 76 to 93 to display a range of emotions: neutral, happy, sad and angry.

Then, college-aged students were asked to rate the emotional expressions on all of the faces on a scale of one to seven, one being "not at all intense" and seven considered "very intense," according to the news provider. Researchers noted it was more difficult to pick out any of the emotions from the older group with wrinkles. The college students had an easier time rating the intensity of the younger faces.

"In the case of the older expresser, the anger is seen as mixed with other emotions," Dr. Ursula Hess, a professor of psychology at Humboldt-University in Berlin and the study's lead author, told the news provider. "Clearly it makes a difference whether you think someone is just angry or someone is both angry and sad."

Frown lines and worry lines between the eyebrows can often make a person look upset, unhappy or unfriendly completely unintentionally. Conveying one's emotions is important, and this could become yet another reason why people are trying to get rid of unwanted marks.

According to the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, more than $1.7 billion was spent on injectable procedures and $1.6 billion was spent on skin rejuvenation in 2011. Combined with surgical procedures like facelift, eyelid surgery and forehead lift, the numbers indicate that the fight against wrinkles continues. 


The mission of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) includes medical education, public education and patient advocacy. Plastic Surgery News Briefs are summaries of current stories found through various news and magazine outlets that relate to or mention plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures. The views expressed in these news articles do not necessarily reflect the opinions of ASAPS, but are merely published as an educational service to our members and the general public. For additional information on these subjects and other plastic surgery related topics, please go to www.surgery.org

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About ASAPS
The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), is recognized as the world’s leading organization devoted entirely to aesthetic plastic surgery and cosmetic medicine of the face and body.  ASAPS is comprised of over 2,600 Plastic Surgeons; active members are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (USA) or by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and have extensive training in the complete spectrum of surgical and non-surgical aesthetic procedures. International active members are certified by equivalent boards of their respective countries. All members worldwide adhere to a strict Code of Ethics and must meet stringent membership requirements.

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