Researchers have found that heavy drinking and smoking can cause fast ageing.

An analysis of drinking and smoking patterns revealed a consistently heightened risk of looking older than one’s true age.

According to the observatory findings published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, light to moderate drinking didn’t affect biological ageing.

The researchers have studied more than 11,500 adults since 1976 when the study began.

The participants — aged between 21 and 93 (men and women) — were tested on their lifestyle, general health, and the state how much they drank and smoked.

This was before they were checked for four signs of ageing: earlobe creases; a greyish opaque coloured ring or arc around the peripheral cornea of both eyes (arcus corneae); yellow-orange plaques on the eyelids (xanthelasmata); and male pattern baldness (receding hairline or a bald patch on the top of the head).

Arcus coneae was the most common sign of ageing among both sexes, with a prevalence of 60 per cent among men over 70 and among women over 80.

The least common sign was xanthelasmata, with a prevalence of 5 per cent among men and women over 50.

Receding hairline was common among men, with 80 per cent of those over the age of 40 affected.

According to the scientists: “This is the first prospective study to show that alcohol and smoking are associated with the development of visible age-related signs and thus generally looking older than one’s actual age….This may reflect that heavy drinking and smoking increases general aging of the body.”

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