Have you ever glanced into a mirror and noticed that the person staring back at you wasn’t the “normal” you? The reflection in the mirror is wearing a deep scowl, and the eyes are ferocious and angry looking. That may have been the way you felt yesterday, but your body has yet to catch up with the change in mood. Others may have noticed it and kept a safe distance. But you haven’t – until now.

Let’s hope it was just a passing fit of anger.

For millions of people who are consumed with anger and even rage, it’s a different story with a potentially sad ending. Research has shown that anger is perhaps the most self-destructive emotion a body can inflict upon itself. Anger is related to the biological fight-or-flight syndrome hard-wired into our brains. Anger directed outward is often expressed in blaring car horns during traffic jams or road rage that ends in a fist fight. Anger that stays bottled up inside often leads to self-destructive behavior like drug and alcohol abuse.

Science also has shown that anger causes the body to age much faster through the constant wear-and-tear of stress hormones on the organ systems. Angry people frown more, and so their faces tend to look older from anger-induced wrinkles, furrows, and frown lines.

Aside from the early onset of age-related wrinkles and skin problems, studies have shown that anger harms the lungs and reduces lung capacity. It causes the heart to beat faster, blood pressure to rise, and disrupts normal hormonal and neurological processes. Anger exacerbates under-eye wrinkles and causes insomnia, which can make wrinkles appear worse. Anger is often associated with depression, grief, sadness, stress, and can lead to a host of related health problems. All because you couldn’t let go of something that made you angry a long time ago.

Angry people not only look beaten up and older than their years, over time their bodies do get beaten up. Nothing genuinely good comes from incessant anger. Ultimately it robs you of your health, peace of mind, and of your youthful good looks. When you’re ready to let the anger go, you can restore a more peaceful appearance with a variety of procedures like Botox to combat frown lines and skin resurfacing for facial wrinkles and acne scars.

Dr. Kyle S. Choe is a board certified facial plastic surgeon and hair restoration specialist in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Contact The Choe Center for Facial Plastic Surgery at 757.389.5850 for a personal consultation.