Valerie Bertinelli is on the cover of People showing off her new bikini body just a couple of weeks shy of her 49th birthday. She has the body of a 20-year-old, but her face looks much older. In fact, she looks older than she did when she started losing weight two years ago. It turns out that being too thin ages women over 40 more than smoking, heavy drinking, or sun exposure, according to a new study published in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Journal. The reverse is true for women who haven’t reached the big 4-0. Being slender causes the face to lose volume, producing jowls and making wrinkles develop and appear deeper, according to lead researcher Dr. Bahman Guyuron, so older women need a little meat on their bones to make their faces seem a little younger. Gaining weight, on the other hand, obscures the inherent facial definition of young women, making them appear older.
Many women get Juvederm or Restylane injections in the hopes of appearing younger, but maybe all they really need to do is maintain a healthy weight. However, the lead researcher doesn’t advise women over 40 to gain an excessive amount of weight. In addition, the study is not meant to advocate women under 40 being really thin. “Try to keep your weight around the ideal range and if you do that, you’ll look younger than if you lose a lot of weight,” said Guyuron. [New York Daily News]