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

Spur Healthy Habits By Seeing Your Older Self

Knowing what you may look like as you age if you smoke or spend a lot of time in the sun might encourage you to adopt healthy habits while you can. The rate at which skin ages depends on many factors, including genetics, diet, hormonal factors, and lifestyle factors like tobacco smoking and exposure to environmental chemicals and the sun's radiation. While fast-forwarding the aging process can be a fun (or frightening) party game, there’s research that seeing your future self this way can help jumpstart healthy behaviors (like quitting smoking) in the present.

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

Websites and Apps to Age Yourself in Photos

There are online sites, software, and apps for your smartphone that can show you what you may look like as you age.

  • Apps: You can use to compare ratings of current apps that can be used age your facial photo or rate how old you look in photos. Some of these are simple to use, such as AgingBooth. There is also a SmokerFace app that specifically shows the effects expected from smoking and you can adjust for the number of cigarettes smoked per day.
  • AprilAge: AprilAge has been developing photo-aging software since 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, and television special effects departments around the world. You may be able to use their AgeMe function or a free trial of their Forme software. You can then age your photo with or without additional external factors like smoking, sun exposure showing photoaging, and weight gain shifts in BMI.

The Sun Can Age You

Photoaging from sun exposure is caused by the sun's UVA and UVB rays. Staying out the sun can help reduce these aging effects and sunscreen may also help prevent the damage. The UVA rays penetrate to the lower layers of the skin and damage the collagen. This leads to fine lines, wrinkles, and age spots. UVB rays cause sunburn, which damages the skin as well.

Smoking and Your Skin

Premature wrinkling was first documented in smokers in the early 1970s. Chemicals in tobacco smoke damage collagen and elastin in the skin, leading to premature sagging and wrinkles. Nicotine also narrows the blood vessels in your skin so it receives fewer nutrients. Smoking continues to be found by 2017 research to be a major contributing factor in facial wrinkling.

3 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Weiss C, Hanebuth D, Coda P, Dratva J, Heintz M, Stutz EZ. Aging images as a motivational trigger for smoking cessation in young women. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2010;7(9):3499-512. doi:10.3390/ijerph7093499

  2. Minkis K, Swary JH, Alam M. Photoaging. Cosmetic Dermatology. 2015:13-22. doi:10.1002/9781118655566.ch2

  3. Hamer MA, Pardo LM, Jacobs LC, et al. Lifestyle and Physiological Factors Associated with Facial Wrinkling in Men and Women. J Invest Dermatol. 2017;137(8):1692-1699. doi:10.1016/j.jid.2017.04.002

Additional Reading

By Sharon Basaraba
Sharon Basaraba is an award-winning reporter and senior scientific communications advisor for Alberta Health Services in Alberta, Canada.