The contribution of the lower third of the face to perceived age: do masks make you appear younger? Journal Article uri icon

abstract

  • BACKGROUND: There is evidence that changes to the midface and lower third of the face in isolation contribute significantly to one's perception of the overall facial age. Since the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), mask wearing has become commonplace. To date, there have been no studies that explore how covering the lower third of the face impacts the perception of age. OBJECTIVES: The authors hypothesized that covering the lower third of the face with a mask will make a person appear younger. METHODS: One hundred consecutive plastic surgery patients were photographed in a standardized fashion, both masked and unmasked. A questionnaire for factors known to contribute to facial aging was administered. These photographs were randomized to 6 judges who estimated the patients' age and also quantified facial rhytids with the validated Lemperle wrinkle assessment score of 6. Data were analyzed using PROC MIXED analysis. RESULTS: Masked patients on average appeared 6.17% younger (mean difference = 3.16 years, P < 0.0001). Wrinkle assessment scores were 9.81% lower in the masked group (mean difference = 0.21, P = 0.0003). All subgroups appeared younger in a mask except for patients aged 18 to 40 years chronological age (P = 0.0617) and patients BMI > 35 (P = 0.5084). CONCLUSIONS: The mask group appeared younger and had lower overall and visible wrinkle assessment scores when compared with the unmasked group. This has implications for our understanding of the contributions of the lower third of the face to overall perceived facial age.

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publication date

  • 2021