If you examine a group of people, you likely will see a lot of variation regarding how each person looks, grooms himself, presents herself, dresses and acts. All of these factors contribute to a person’s perceived age, or how young or old he appears to others. Other factors play a role as well, such as the degree of skin damage and wrinkles and the amount of gray hair or hereditary thinning or baldness. Those who look younger than their age usually show less signs of aging and present themselves in a younger manner than others.
Your genetic background affects how young or old you look at a certain age. The natural aging process, which begins in the 20s, causes some people to turn gray in their 20s and others in their 40s, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. The natural aging process is called intrinsic aging, or internal aging. Caused by a slowdown of cell reproduction, natural aging causes wrinkles, gray hair, sagging skin, hair loss, excessive hair growth and all of the other symptoms associated with aging. If you have a slower genetic clock, you will look younger than other people your age.
Another form of aging is called extrinsic or external aging. This form of aging is caused by external factors and can be controlled. Other factors that contribute to extrinsic aging include smoking, face sleeping, alcohol and drug use, disease and gravity. Skin looks younger in the absence of these factors.
People who take care of their skin with a daily skin-care routine often look younger than their non-conscientious counterparts. In addition to skin care, some cosmetic treatments such as chemical peels, microdermabrasion, laser therapy, face lifts, Botox and collagen injections result in younger-looking skin. Sun damage accounts for the majority of skin damage and skin aging, according to Medline Plus. Avoiding the sun and using sunscreen keeps skin younger looking. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that you use a sunscreen with broad-spectrum protection and a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or greater.
Hair turns gray because of the buildup of hydrogen peroxide in hair follicles, according to a report published in the February 2009 issue of the "Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology Journal." The buildup occurs over time because of the wear and tear of the follicle and blocks the production of melanin, which is responsible for hair color.
Gray hair advances perceived age substantially. People who color their hair all over or blend away their gray hair with color services appear younger than those with graying hair.
Weight, health and vitality also affect how old a person looks. If you are active, energetic and healthy, you will appear younger than your age. Posture also plays a vital role, as do body weight and muscle tone. Clothing, hairstyle, makeup and personality also play a role.