How wrinkles make us look ‘untrustworthy’ – as study finds the lines etched on our faces are not the signs of wisdom we once thought

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  • Humboldt University of Berlin recruited 353 people for study 
  • Wrinkly faces were deemed to be less attractive, pleasant and trustworthy

To age gracefully is to embrace the lines that life has etched on our faces and find beauty in the wisdom now on display.

Will the rest of society see it shining through? Not according to a study that suggests we are rather more shallow than we’d like to think.

Researchers found that we believe people with wrinkles are less pleasant and trustworthy. 

Humboldt University of Berlin recruited 353 people who were asked to rate pictures of avatars with and without lines on their faces.

Participants had to judge how attractive, warm, pleasant, trustworthy, moral and balanced each person appeared.

They were also asked to rate the degree to which each face seemed to express happiness, anger, sadness, fear, disgust and surprise. 

Researchers found that we believe people with wrinkles are less pleasant and trustworthy (stock image)

Analysis, published in the journal Acta Psychologica, revealed wrinkly faces were deemed to be less attractive, pleasant and trustworthy (stock image)

Analysis, published in the journal Acta Psychologica, revealed wrinkly faces were deemed to be less attractive, pleasant and trustworthy (stock image) 

Analysis, published in the journal Acta Psychologica, revealed wrinkly faces were deemed to be less attractive, pleasant and trustworthy. They were perceived as showing more negative emotions.

The effects were more pronounced for female faces, and the results remained the same across the age range of participants – 18 to 68. 

The researchers said: ‘These findings suggest older people may often be perceived as less pleasant for no other reason than the wrinkles in their face and the judgements of attractiveness and emotionality associated with them. Given that first impressions are hard to correct, this may have lasting implications.

‘The negative effects of wrinkles could speak in favour of the beauty industry’s mission to satisfy the collective demand for smooth foreheads and tight jawlines.’

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