The 12th incarnation of the Doctor looks much older than any other incarnation for a long time, with grey hair and wrinkles:

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Why does the Doctor's 12th incarnation look so old and why is his hair grey?

  • i added the picture of lobes to show that he looked young before – Andrew Casali Apr 21 '16 at 1:47
  • That wasn't the Doctor though; that was some other guy who happened to be played by Peter Capaldi, which is pretty irrelevant. – Rand al'Thor Apr 21 '16 at 1:48
  • I assume you're looking for an in-universe answer, not something like "the showrunners wanted an older actor"? – Rand al'Thor Apr 21 '16 at 1:48
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    but that version of peter capaldi was the face he chossed when he regenerated but it turned out old not young like Lobus Caecilius – Andrew Casali Apr 21 '16 at 1:48
  • The real issue is why did the 10th and 11th look so very young? – Paul D. Waite Apr 21 '16 at 8:36

The Doctor's appearance is that of Lobus Caecilius

The Doctor took on the appearance of Lobus Caecilius, from The Fires of Pompeii, to remind himself of his primary mission, namely, saving people.

CLARA: What? What's wrong?

DOCTOR: My face.

DOCTOR [memory]: Who frowned me this face? Why this one? Why did I choose this face?

CLARA: Doctor, what's wrong with your face?

DOCTOR: I think I know why I chose it.

DOCTOR [memory]: It's like I'm trying to tell myself something.

DOCTOR: I think I know what I'm trying to say.

DONNA [memory]: (to Doctor 10) Just someone. Not the whole town. Just save someone.

DOCTOR 10 [memory]: Come with me. (A memory of Lobus Caecilus cowering as Vesuvius erupts in Fires of Pompeii. Played by Peter Capaldi, if you'd forgotten.)

DOCTOR: I know where I got this face, and I know what it's for.

CLARA: Okay, what's it for?

DOCTOR: To remind me. To hold me to the mark. I'm the Doctor, and I save people.

This is the main reason the Doctor looks old relative to his previous several incarnations. It comes along with the face.

Of course, out-of-universe, Peter Capaldi is older when he plays the 12th Doctor than when he played Lobus Caecilius. On the one hand, the difference is appearance is minimal, since the roles are only separated by five years. So perhaps we are supposed to see Capaldi's appearance in both roles as the same (as indeed it is not very different).

If not, perhaps the explanation is that this Doctor is more mature than the others, having confronted his role in the Time War (among other things), and thus needs to age up his face a bit.


Well he had to look SOME age or other

As Adamant's answer tells us, the 12th Doctor's general appearance (although not quite how old he looks) was chosen to remind him of a character he met in the 10th Doctor episode The Fires of Pompeii.

Before Peter Capaldi was cast, the actors playing the Doctor were aged between 27 (Matt Smith) and 55 (William Harnell) when they first appeared as the Doctor. If we count the War Doctor, John Hurt was 73 when he first appeared. Capaldi's age when he first appeared as the Doctor was 55 (a month or two younger that Hartnell and 18 years younger than Hurt).

Here is a list of the actors who played the 14 TV (and made-for-TV movie) Doctors along with the actors' age at first appearance.

Num  Name                   Age
  1  William Hartnell        55
  2  Patrick Troughton       46
  3  Jon Pertwee             50
  4  Tom Baker               40
  5  Peter Davison           29
  6  Colin Baker             40
  7  Sylvester McCoy         44
  8  Paul McGann             36
War  John Hurt               73
  9  Christopher Eccleston   41
 10  David Tennant           34
 11  Matt Smith              27
 12  Peter Capaldi           55
 13  Jodie Whittaker         35

So Capaldi's age is within the established range (although towards the high end).

Note that both Hartnell and Eccleston have been the doctor for an unknown amount of time when we first see them (we see Hurt's Doctor begin to regenerate into Eccleston, but we don't see it end).

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