As we age, our faces go through a number of changes. Those changes happen to a number of facial structures to varying degrees. The extent that any one change causes aging will differ from person to person. This is why cosmetic procedures and facial plastic surgery needs to be individualized and carefully selected by an experienced, board-certified plastic surgeon.
Let’s take a look at some of the facial structures and how they change and affect appearance as we age.
We often obsess about surface wrinkles and sagging, but aging goes much deeper. The very structure of our face changes as we age. The 14 facial bones lose density in the same way other bones throughout the body do. Think of the bones of your face as the foundation of your face. As these bones lose density, they shrink causing loss of support to the more visible structures of your face. This creates larger eye sockets, less projection and fullness in the cheeks, a shorter, narrower jaw, and a smaller chin. This loss of support results in a loss of healthy fullness in the face and unmasks transition zones between different sections of the face.
Muscles take a two-pronged approach to creating an aged look. First, they help create lines from repetitive use. When a muscle is repeatedly used to create a facial expression – a smile or a stern look, for example – it ends up creating permanent lines in the overlying skin. It’s how we get laugh lines and furrowed brows.
In addition, we tend to lose muscle mass as we age. It’s as true for the face as it is for the biceps. As we lose some of the fullness the muscles contribute to the face, the overlying skin starts to sag.
In our youth we generally have evenly distributed fat under the skin of our face that helps create a smooth, pleasing look. But as we age, fat withers and tends to follow gravity. So we end up with a sagging jawline, deeper folds, sunken features, and less youthful fullness in our face.
Collagen, elastin and glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) keep the skin tight, elastic, and hydrated. As we age our body slowly loses its ability to produce these components, so we end up with thinning skin that sags, appears dry, and doesn’t bounce back so easily.
The bottom line is this: age is no friend of the face. But there are things you can do to offset some of the effects of Father Time.
Start with Prevention
Several steps you can take will slow facial aging. The earlier you start, the better the results, but even if you already see your face changing, these preventive measures can be beneficial. In other words, it’s never too late to care for your skin.
Avoid direct sun exposure and always use sunscreen. The sun is a major culprit in accelerating aging. Shut it down!
Stop smoking. Few things that cause aging are completely within our control. And while it may be difficult to quit, smoking is definitely something we control. Stop smoking and you will not only look better, but you’ll probably live longer, too.
Stay well hydrated, eat a healthy, balanced diet, and get some exercise. Remember – the face doesn’t stand alone; it’s part of a body. What’s good for your overall health is also good for your face.
Seek Customized Treatment
If you’ve gotten to the point where you are unhappy with your facial appearance, certain non-surgical procedures can minimize the signs of aging.
Bellafill® is a new injectable treatment that adds volume where it has been lost over time, such as in the nasolabial folds or “smile lines.” Studies have shown this treatment can last up to five years.
Venus treatments can tighten and smooth skin as well as address some of the surface issues caused by time and sun damage.
Botox® can smooth and even eliminate the lines caused by repetitive facial expressions – such as a furrowed brow or crow’s feet.
For a more significant and lasting change, surgery may also be an option. Browlifts, eyelid surgery and full facelifts are examples of procedures that can erase some of the effects of aging and leave you looking and feeling more youthful.
An individual approach is best when choosing how to (or whether to) address facial aging. Dr. Slack offers one-on-one consultations to discuss your concerns and the best ways to address them. Dr. Slack offers years of experience and will advise you with no obligation to have treatment with him. However, his consultation fee will apply to any procedures you choose to have him perform. Call now if you would like to meet with Dr. Slack.