No one needs to tell you that your lines and wrinkles factor into people's perception of how old you are. I'm not going to get into some society-slamming harangue about how we've been brainwashed into thinking we want to look as young as possible and therefore, we use creams and injectables to stop and reverse wrinkles as much as possible and blahbiddy-bip-boop, whatever. You're allowed to dislike your wrinkles and you're allowed to want to look younger or stay looking young, whether it's because you think you're treated better when you're perceived as younger even though that's incredibly unfortunate or because you like your face exactly the way it is and would prefer to not see it change into a linier version of itself.
However, being the nerdy know-it-all party pooper it is, science is now giving us another sign of aging to get insecure about: lack of facial contrast.
Apparently, as we get older, our faces turn into bland blobs of physiognomical monotony. Awesome!
Earlier this year, psychology professor Richard Russell of Gettysburg College analyzed images of 289 faces--folks between 20 and 70 years old--and discovered that, as we age, there's less contrast between our facial features and the surrounding skin: the colors of your lips, eyebrows and even your eyes change, and your skin darkens.
Oh, were you not aware of that? Yeah, that's kind of the point. People are picking up on those changes without even knowing it; all they know is that you look older.
Russell proved exactly that in another study, in which the contrast of identical photos was artificially increased and decreased. In the decreased ones, the faces were perceived as older.
Basically, your lips' redness lessens over the years, as does the difference in luminance between your eyebrows and forehead. Oh, and your eye color fades like you're a Dark Crystal Podling getting its life essence sucked out by the Skeksis.
Scientists think this could explain why makeup is traditionally worn the way its worn--increasing the boldness of the lips, filling in the brows, emphasizing the eyes with liner, etc. So even though we didn't consciously know our faces are fading into dull flesh ovals, we've been fighting it all along.
I guess this means red lipstick qualifies as an anti-aging product now.