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Does Being Overweight Make You Look Older?

It’s always flattering when someone suggests we look a few years younger than we actually are. That being said, there is more than one factor at play when it comes to how aged you look.

Things like genetics, whether or not you use sunscreen, if and how often you smoke or drink, your diet, and how physically active you are all impact how old you look. Even something like your weight has the potential to make you look older or younger.

So, does being overweight make you look older?

Yes, being overweight does make you look older. Extra weight in the face stretches the skin and as collagen is lost with age, this results in more sagging and wrinkles. Factors like poor diet, difficulty sleeping, and a less-active lifestyle that are associated with being overweight also affect how youthful your skin looks. 

Below, we’ll take a closer look at the answer to the question, “Does being overweight make you look older?” and all the ways that your weight affects your skin. I’ll also talk a little about what steps you can take now to age more gracefully, even if you are overweight.

Does Being Overweight Make You Look Older?

Being overweight can make you look older, especially as you approach your 30s and 40s and start losing collagen. Collagen is the primary building block for things like your bones, muscles, skin, and other connective tissues. As collagen is lost, skin becomes looser and saggier.

For people who carry their weight on their face, the problem is that the excess fat behind the skin isn’t held in place as well as your skin loses firmness. This causes a problem sometimes referred to as skin slackening, which makes fat pads (the areas where fat are distributed) more visible.

That being said, being overweight isn’t the only thing that ages your face. You can also look older if you have a naturally thin face because wrinkles are more apparent. Gaining and then losing weight from yo-yo dieting makes a person look older as well. Aging is affected by a number of other factors as well.

Does Putting on Weight Make You Look Older in the Face?

Putting on weight can make you look older in the face, but it doesn’t always have that effect right away. People often look at someone’s face, hands, and overall demeanor for clues about age. Fine lines and wrinkles are some early indicators of age on a person’s face.

If you’ve only recently started gaining weight, then the extra fat in your face can actually fill out the skin more. This initially makes you look younger, even as someone whose overweight.

Over time, however, this extra weight is going to cause your skin to sag and make you look older. This could also be changed based on factors like how you put on weight (some people gain more in their backside or tummy first, while others might notice it in their face) and other lifestyle factors.

Does Being Overweight Affect How the Rest of Your Body Ages?

Yes, being overweight can affect how the rest of your body ages too, not just your face. Obesity is caused by a wide range of factors, ranging from genetics and hormone imbalances to how active you are and how much sleep you get at night.

Being overweight puts more stress and strain on your body. It’s physically harder to carry extra weight around, which is the reason many fat people are stronger from carrying their weight. Even if you are stronger, however, this extra weight still strains your joints and can just make you feel exhausted by the end of the day.

Additionally, certain lifestyle choices that are associated with being overweight are often associated with a lower quality of life.  Not being able to find a comfortable sleeping position at night or not having the energy to lead an active lifestyle take a toll, too. Even food choices contribute to how young you look.

When you put heavily-processed or prepared foods in your body as fuel, it’s like putting bad gas in your car. Sure, it might make you run, but there are going to be consequences down the road. Likewise, foods that have little nutritional value are hard for your body to process and don’t provide you with a good source of fuel.

Furthermore, foods that aren’t nourishing stop your body from working as well as it should. This makes your metabolism sluggish and makes it hard to remove toxins and fight free radicals that accumulate in the body over time. These toxins build up and have disastrous consequences for all areas of your body, including your skin.

Why Do I Look Older When I Gain Weight?

There are a number of factors that affect how old or young you look, regardless of weight. People age differently based on their actual age and hereditary factors, their diet, how much sleep they are getting, whether they smoke or drink, and even how stressful their life is.

That being said, being overweight is something that contributes to how old you look, too. As your skin loses firmness with age, something like a little extra fat in your face is going to become more apparent.

It’s also possible you look older after gaining weight because people associate aging with a slowing metabolism. Even though science recently debunked the myth that metabolism starts slowing when we reach our 20s, this myth was only debunked in the last year or two and a lot of people still associate a slowed metabolism with getting older.

Finally, some people look aged from their weight just because they are tired from the extra weight on their back and joints. We all know there are a lot of health effects associated with being overweight. While a few extra pounds doesn’t mean you’re unhealthy, leading a sedentary lifestyle or constantly choosing unhealthy, high-calorie foods can take a toll on your appearance over time.

What Can I Do To Look Younger if I’m Overweight?

Being overweight doesn’t have to mean that you just accept that you look a little older. As I mentioned earlier, there is more than one factor at play when it comes to how old or young you look. This means that while managing your weight could change how you look, there are other options.

Many of the things that affect the appearance of wrinkles as you age are within your control. Adding nutrient-rich foods to your diet to support your skin helps with aging. For example, foods with antioxidants fight free radicals that attack healthy cells and advance aging, while foods with zinc and Vitamin E support collagen production.

Staying physically active is something else that promotes a youthful appearance. It helps get the blood moving through the body, bringing nutrients and oxygen so the skin looks brighter and more youthful. Exercise is also important for helping your body remove toxins that advance aging.

Fortunately, low-impact exercises are the healthiest for your skin and joints. This makes it pretty easy to pick up a fun hobby that you enjoy like swimming, kayaking, or paddleboarding instead of hitting the pavement for a run. Riding a bike or using an exercise bike is also a great way to stay active without it being too much work.

Finally, staying hydrated is a great way to stay looking young. When you’re dehydrated, your skin isn’t as plump so wrinkles become more apparent. Since water is necessary for almost all of your other body processes including digestion and toxin removal, it helps get rid of those things that cause wrinkles in the first place, too.

Can Plastic Surgery Make You Look Younger if You’re Overweight?

Like all types of medicine, cosmetic surgery has come a long way as far as what it is able to do for people. Options like Botox, face lifts, and even lasering the skin are all popular ways to give the skin on your face a more youthful appearance and can make people appear as many as 5-10 years younger.

That being said, plastic surgery might not be the answer you’re looking for if you want a permanent solution to turn back the clock. Cosmetic surgery is expensive and hard to maintain- and you will need to maintain it to a certain degree.

Additionally, some people have a tendency to overdo it when it comes to plastic surgery. This results in faces that are expressionless and unnatural, so you don’t really look as young as you think. Plus, many of these procedures are not reversible if you don’t like the final result and there is downtime after surgery to think of as well.

While cosmetic surgery can provide anti-aging solutions, it isn’t necessarily the best choice for everyone. I support doing whatever is going to make you feel most happy and confident in your own skin, just be sure you know what you are getting into if you do choose to go this route.

Final Word

So, does being overweight make you look older? Yes, your weight can make you look older. However, how old you look is also affected by things like your genetics and certain lifestyle choices, so it’s not the only factor at play.

Weight can make you look older if you carry fat in your face because of the fat pads that develop once you start losing collagen with age. Your skin isn’t as firm as it once was, so it doesn’t hold these fat pads in place and it can make wrinkles more apparent.

That being said, being physically active, staying hydrated, getting enough sleep, and eating foods that support skin health are all great ways to keep yourself looking youthful without surgery. Hopefully, this article has been helpful in answering all your questions!

Camila R.

Camila is a body positive blogger and fat activist that's focused on helping people of all sizes live life big! That means accepting yourself at any size and just enjoying life! She lives in New Mexico with her husband and two chihauhuas.

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