Ageing changes in the face

Does your face in the mirror look older than you are? If you answered “yes”, like so many have, it is possible you have noticed areas of discolouration (“age spots”). Maybe it looks like your face shape has changed, lines show on your forehead. Or perhaps your nose to mouth lines are pronounced, eyes seem tired or the jawline and neck seem a bit droopy.

With time, our skin also dries out from inside. You lose some of the underlying fat so your face no longer has a plump smooth surface. The fatty “lining” is made of separate pockets of fat, but in young healthy people all the pockets join up to form a smooth inner quilt. With time and age, the fat pockets shrink, move apart, and appear as discrete areas, with hollows between them. These “hollows” and “grooves” show up as flattening and sagging in the ageing face.

  • The appearance of the face and neck steadily changes with age.
  • Muscles lose their tone. Skin gets thinner and less springy. These combine to make face look flabby or “droopy”. For some, the cheeks sag over the jawline, making it look less defined, and jowly.
  • Just beneath the skin, fat pockets shrink, move apart, and appear as discrete areas, with hollows between them. These “hollows” and “grooves” show up as flattening and sagging in the aging face.
  • Some wrinkles are inevitable (intrinsic aging). UV radiation and smoking are extrinsic factors which make wrinkles appear earlier. Age spots and pigment changes increase with age and are worsened by sun exposure.
  • The jawbone, cheekbone, and intact teeth form the the framework of the face and are essential to maintain a youthful mouth area. Loss of bone mass in the jaw reduces the size of the lower face and chin, “pursing” the lips and causing barcode “smokers’ lines” around the lips.
  • Missing teeth and receding gums change the appearance of the mouth. The muscles around the mouth are very active, and with no supportive bony frame, the lips appear to turn inwards (pursing) and may look shrunken.
  • Eye sockets seem deeper with age, as the fat lining the sockets shrinks and the bone gets reabsorbed. This can make your eyes look sunken.
  • A good cosmetic / aesthetic consultation should take all these into account before providing you with a treatment plan.

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