Is This 'Alphabet' Skin Care Trick the Answer to How You Will Age?

The “how old do I really look?” question is a loaded one. Tests, doctor’s analysis, personal scrutiny and everyone’s opinion can weigh heavily. But is there one universal way to really tell how well—or the contrary—your skin is aging?

A London doctor seems to think so. Dr. Justine Hextall of The Harley Medical Group claims five letters—W, A, U, H and M—can pretty accurately determine your anti-aging profile. According to the DailyMail, the “trick” involves the letters being used as a sort of template to determine different skin-related problems.

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M: For example, if your skin-related issues are taking on a sort of “M” shape, it could be from sun-induced aging.

W + U: If your problems hit more of a “W” shape (loss of volume, heavier jawline, hollow cheeks), it might be weight-loss induced aging. On the other hand, a “U” formation—double chin, puffy cheeks and rounded face—could be from weight-induced aging.

A: The culprit of smoking might show up as an “A,” fueled by lines around the mouth, dark under-eye circles and nasolabial folds.

H: And then there’s “H,” which Dr. Hextall attributes to sleep-deprived aging. (The good news: This is probably also the easiest to remedy.) This one shows up as dark circles, overall dullness and hollow cheeks.

So, after all we know about facial aging and all we do to prevent it, is it really that easy? “I applaud any method that helps my patients understand how to age well,” says Las Vegas plastic surgeon Goesel Anson, MD. “Sometimes attempts to simplify facial analysis become more confusing or overly simplify it. I agree with the factors that influence facial aging including weight changes, sun exposure, smoking and inadequate sleep. These influences are diffuse and difficult to draw in tidy patterns. A much simpler approach, in my view, is to consider facial aging as a triad: volume, texture and laxity.”

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