Why Menopause Makes Women Age Faster Than Men – Researchers

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Switzerland, June 23

Researchers from the University of Vienna studied almost 600 points on volunteers faces using computers to map the effects of ageing on men and women aged between 20 and 90 and the researchers found women’s faces aged ‘quicker’ than a man of the same age once they hit menopause

The researchers analysed the faces of 88 men and women in the study. They then scanned 585 measurement points on the face and compared the differences in the faces between adults of different ages.

In both sexes, they said, the features of ageing were generally similar and included a flatter face, saggier skin, deeper lines between nose and the corner of the mouth, smaller visible areas of the eyes, thinner lips and longer nose and ears. But even before the age of 50, experts found, women’s faces age twice as fast as men. Between 50 and 60 the ‘ageing trajectory’ was up to three times faster.

Sonja Windhager, who led the research, said: ‘Men and women age similarly up to the age of 50. It’s a linear progression. But at the age of 50, for women, it goes really fast. It doesn’t speed up at 50 for men.’

The researcher added: ‘After the age of 50, the best predictor of how old you look is your age from menopause. The onset of menopause varies in women quite a lot. On average, it is around the age of 50, with a variation of around ten years, with on average some women starting at 40 and some as late as 60. This seems to determine facial shape more than actual age.’

Around 30 per cent of skin collagen is lost in the first five menopausal years. In the study, none of the women was taking hormone replacement therapy. However, it could be one way to prevent some of the age-related acceleration, experts said.

The research, published in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology, could also help crime scene investigators to more accurately reconstruct faces from human remains. 

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