How Men & Women Age Differently: Facts & Photos

swan center aging feb blogAlthough we’re all alike in many ways, when it comes to aging, men really are from Mars and women from Venus. From adolescence through the later years of life, men and women physically change at different rates. While appearance is also affected by environmental factors, there are some telling differences in the aging processes of men vs. women.

Comparing Men and Women Over a Lifetime

In a thoughtful article on gender differences in aging, writer Samantha Olson of Medical Daily notes that aging affects physical, emotional, psychological, and even spiritual health—and outlines how these changes affect men and women differently.

Puberty. Although some gender differences exist early in childhood, major physical differences first emerge during puberty. Girls enter puberty between the ages of 10 to 14, while boys experience puberty when they are 12 to 16 years old. This time period results in increased release of certain hormones, causing growth in height and weight, muscle development, voice changes, and breast development in women.

Middle adulthood. Physical appearance continues to change in middle adulthood, with the first wrinkles and gray hairs typically appearing in the 30s or 40s. Because men and women’s skin is biologically dissimilar, the effects of aging appear differently.

Some key differences in men and women:

  • Male skin is generally thicker and firmer due to having more collagen and elastin, so men’s skin thins at a slower rate.
  • Men’s facial and body hair acts as a natural barrier against sun exposure. This helps protect the skin from UV damage and can delay the appearance of fine lines.
  • Women over age 40 tend to experience more stress about age-related changes in appearance. In a survey of more than 1,000 adults, 33% of the women said they were concerned about weight changes, sagging, and wrinkling, compared to 21% of men.

Older age. As people move into their older years, skin becomes less elastic, contributing to the appearance of wrinkles and sagging skin. Muscle strength diminishes, causing belly pouches and droopy arm skin. Signs of aging in men typically begin with the formation of wrinkles on the forehead and loss of definition around the jawline.

Some key differences in men and women:

  • After menopause, female skin thins significantly.
  • For women, the delicacy of the skin around the eyes, mouth, and neck contributes to more wrinkles and drooping in those areas.
  • After the age of 50, surveys have shown that men have more difficulty coping with physical aging, perhaps because physical slowing and increased frailty begins to impact their everyday activities.

See the Differences

For an illuminating look at gender differences in aging, watch these fabulous videos by photographer Edouard Janssens, which show various men and women from age 1 to 100 years.

Treating Signs of Aging

Although aging happens to everyone, there is no standard timeframe or process by which age-related changes emerge. For many, signs of premature aging can cause psychological distress, difficulty getting ahead in the workplace, and feelings of unattractiveness.

If the age-related changes to your body are affecting your confidence, you’re not alone—feeling self-conscious about signs of aging is normal. For those looking to make changes or restore a more youthful appearance, cosmetic surgery and nonsurgical treatments are becoming increasingly popular options that can benefit both men and women.

“I believe that addressing aging concerns can make a tremendous difference in a person’s confidence,” explains Dr. Dean J. Fardo MD. “As a facial surgeon at The Swan Center, I’ve helped so many women and men age gracefully through a variety of facial plastic surgery procedures.

At The Swan Center, we work closely with patients to identify areas of concern and determine the best treatment plan for reversing visible signs of aging and restoring body confidence. This can include anything from surgical facial rejuvenation to noninvasive CoolSculpting® treatments for reducing pockets of stubborn fat.

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