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If I had a nickel for every time a friend or family member told me I look like my mom, I’d have an awful lot of nickels. It’s absolutely true -- I do look like my mother, more and more so as the years pass by. I’m far from the only woman who feels she’s “turning into mom,” and, as it happens, scientists can now explain why.

Of course, many of us start out looking like our mothers when we’re young. It’s simple genetics. As for me, I’ve always resembled my mom, mostly around the mouth. Same jaw line, same smile, same teeth. But, whereas I could catch glimpses of my father’s genes at work now and then, when I was much younger, now I’m almost a carbon copy of my mom.

Scientists have discovered that it’s not just that we inherit genes from our moms that help determine how we look. A group of plastic surgeons at Loma Linda University Medical Center in Southern California now report that we inherit the actual WAY we age as well. In other words, the processes that caused your mother to age the way she did, will likely happen to you.

The doctors used facial imaging and computer modeling to measure and compare objectively, for the first time, how mothers and daughters age. Examining 10 pairs of mothers and daughters, the researchers found the highest degree of similarity in aging around the eyes. So … if your mom suffered from bags under the eyes and droopy lids, chances are you will too.

At this point you may be asking yourself, “So what? Now that I know why I will look more and more like my mom in time, it’s not like I can do anything about it.”

Agreed, for the most part. But you have to acknowledge that having information potentially enables you to make some choices and take action. Or at least think about it.

For instance, if you noticed your mom aging prematurely around her eyes, you may want to be vigilant about your own eyes and give some thought to your options. Plastic surgeons, including one involved in the study, suggest that you may want to consider a “corrective” procedure to avoid the sags and bags your mother suffered. By knowing what may lie ahead, you can research, plan and save money for eyelid surgery, if that’s attractive to you.

Or, you may simply decide to take extra care with sunscreen, sunglasses and hats and postpone loss of skin elasticity as long as possible. And you may want to adopt a regimen of prescription strength skin care.

If you’re curious about what’s ahead for you and how to evaluate your options, you may discover some of the answers where you’ve always found them. Look to your mother.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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