How Will You Look in 30 Years? Age Yourself in Photos

See What You'll Look Like When You're Older

computer program showing young woman what she will look like as she ages
Image Source/Getty Images

Discovering what you’ll look like when you’re older may be something you’re happy to leave until you’re forced to find out. But if you’re curious about whether you’ll look more like Uncle Fester than Aunt Gladys in the future (especially if you smoke or spend a lot of time in the sun), technology -- online and in apps for your smartphone -- can help.

Here are a few websites to try:

  • Aprilage is photo-aging software developed in the late 1990s, in collaboration with the Ontario Science Centre in Toronto, Canada. Based on studying the effect of time on thousands of real subjects, the program has been used by police departments, anti-smoking campaigns in school boards, and television special effects departments around the world. The site lets you download a picture online and modify it for a small fee (batch fees available). You can then age your photo with or without additional external factors like smoking, sun exposure showing photoaging, and weight gain (ie: shifts in BMI).

While fast-forwarding the aging process can be a fun (or frightening!) party game, there’s research evidence that seeing your future self this way can help jumpstart healthy behaviors (like quitting smoking) in the present.

How The Sun Ages You

Skin aging is the result of two different processes: intrinsic, or chronological aging, which is beyond your control, and photoaging from sun exposure, which can be prevented. The rate at which skin ages depends on many factors, including genetics, diet, lifestyle factors like tobacco smoking, hormonal changes, and environmental exposure to chemicals -- and most importantly, exposure to sunlight.

Smoking and Your Skin

Premature wrinkling was first documented in smokers in the early 1970s, in the Annals of Internal Medicine. In a study of more than 1,100 subjects, University of California researcher Harry W. Daniell noted that the severity of wrinkling – after accounting for factors like age and sun exposure – was most apparent in smokers of both sexes beginning around the age of 30.

Smokers between the ages of 40 and 49 were as likely to be “prominently” wrinkled as non-smokers who were 20 years older reported Daniell.

Later research published in the American Journal of Public Health found that women smokers were more likely than male smokers to be moderately or severely wrinkled when compared with non-smokers of the same age.

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Carine Weiss, Dirk Hanebuth, Paola Coda, Julia Dratva, Margit Heintz, and Elisabeth Zemp Stutz. “Aging Images as a Motivational Trigger for Smoking Cessation in Young Women.” Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2010 September; 7(9): 3499–3512.