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The festive season is in full swing and most of us might be eating or drinking too much as we celebrate not wisely but too well. Now, a new study has now proven what many of us have suspected. An unhealthy lifestyle, particularly drinking heavily or smoking, can drastically age us.
A large-scale Danish study, recently published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, questioned more than 11,000 Danes about their eating, smoking and drinking habits.
Four markers of ageing were identified – the formation of an opaque ring around the eye’s cornea, creases on the earlobe, plaques on the eyelids and hair loss.
“We wanted to study the signs of ageing because they seem to have some kind of predictive value for how long your life is going to be on average,” says Janne Tolstrup, the study’s author, who is research director of the National Institute of Public Health at the University of Southern Denmark.
The study found that heavy drinking – more than 28 drinks a week for women – resulted in a 33% higher likelihood of having grey rings around the cornea than those women who drank moderately. Heavy smokers also had a greater chance of developing these rings. In fact, the only ageing marker that wasn’t affected by lifestyle habits was male pattern baldness, confirming that progressive hair thinning is mainly affected by genetics.
How lifestyle factors accelerate the ageing process
Alcohol dehydrates your body, forcing your kidneys to remove excess water from elsewhere in the body. Your skin, the largest organ in the body, is therefore left parched after a heavy drinking session. As well as zapping the skin’s moisture levels, alcohol deprives the body of vitamin A which is essential for cell renewal and turnover.
Also, alcohol and, to an even greater degree, smoking speeds up the depletion of collagen levels in the skin, causing premature wrinkling and sagging skin. After a certain point, a facelift or other facial rejuvenation surgery procedure is the only way to address this ageing concern.
The good news is that the Danish study found that those who drank lightly aged at the same rate as those that didn’t drink at all, so you do not have to abstain totally this festive season but enjoy everything in moderation.
With best wishes for Christmas and the New Year!
Mr Richard Matthews
Since her engagement to Prince Harry was announced, interest in Megan Markle has reached fever pitch and now a leading New York-based plastic surgeon has revealed that he has received a growing number of requests from patients wanting to copy her nose. This raises the interesting question of whether it is ever possible or advisable to emulate the facial features of someone you admire through cosmetic surgery.
One of the most important aspects of the cosmetic surgery consultation is a clear understanding between the patient and surgeon about what the patient wants to achieve. Often a patient will have an expectation of how they want a specific facial or body feature to look and that might be influenced by a certain celebrity.
Bringing in pictures of someone you admire can certainly stimulate the conversation but it is essential that patients are not fixated on achieving a specific look because there are a number of factors that can affect the outcome of cosmetic surgery, including the patient’s own facial structure or frame or individual skin thickness.
Realistic expectations about rhinoplasty
Typically, the rhinoplasty, or nose job, is the cosmetic surgery procedure that most inspires patients to want to emulate celebrities. The nose is the central feature on the face and men and women alike can start to think that copying a star’s nose may make them look more like their idol.
However, perceived attractiveness is based on facial balance and symmetry so it is not just Meghan Markle’s nose that makes her beautiful but how her nose complements her other facial features. Even if we were able to absolutely recreate someone else’s nose on your face, it might not be in in balance with your eyes or chin. More than likely, you will look worse than before surgery.
There are also limitations to what can be achieved with a rhinoplasty. If we are building the projection of the tip or bridge of the nose, there is a limit to how far the skin will stretch. If we are reducing the nose, the integrity of the nasal structure must always be balanced.
So, rather than bring in a picture of your favourite celebrity nose, I encourage patients at my Leamington rhinoplasty consultations to think of very specific factors they would like to alter, such as removing a hump or narrowing the bridge of the nose or tip.
A well-thought out and planned rhinoplasty procedure should always look natural and enhance a patient’s individual beauty and thereby prove a fantastic boost to self-confidence.