Facial Aging 101: It’s More Than Skin Deep
I love teaching, and decided to devote my writings over the next 12 months to a series of informational blog posts titled “The Secrets Of Looking More Youthful Without Plastic Surgery 101”. In each blog I plan to give you in a nutshell the “WHY” of facial aging for that specific concern, and then the “SECRETS” of treating for a more youthful, but still age appropriate appearance. (Who wants to look 20 years younger? But I would say no one would mind 5-10 years?) Become an instant expert! Topics that I will cover include “Lip lines 101”, “Sagging 101”, “Fixing the Turkey Neck 101” and many more! So, stay tuned! But before we can start with the “FIX”, we first need to understand the “WHY”. Understanding why facial aging happens, will help us to gain a deep insight in the treatment options of wrinkle and lines.
Facial aging is “complicated”. It’s not just one process that ages the face, it’s several processes that together precipitate the spectrum of facial aging.
“I like being myself. Maybe just slimmer, with a few less wrinkles” – Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Isn’t that everyone of us?
So here are the 3 Thieves of a Youthful Face
- Loss of facial bone = loss of support
- Loss of facial fat = sagging and wrinkles
- Skin changes = Less supple and elastic skin
THIEF #1 – LOSS OF FACIAL BONE
Did you know that we start losing bone at the age of 30? What? The thinning of facial bone causes a loss of structural support for the overlying tissues. This leads to sagginess and droopiness of the overlying tissue and skin. Kind of like a duvet covering a saggy and sinking mattress. The bone thinning in the upper jaw is often more pronounced, leading to a loss of support for the upper lip. That contributes to those unwanted lip lines, and even worse, the lips start to curl in and disappear. The bone loss affecting the upper jaw provides less support for the cheeks, with fat pads that start to slide down causing shifting and sagging.
Think of the bony support as the mattress base, the fat pads as the mattress and the overlying skin as the duvet.
THIEF # 2 – LOSS OF FACIAL FAT
The fat in our face is organized into fat pads. It is these fat pads that give us our youthful facial fullness. When we age, this fat pads can shift, shrink, and diminish. This loss of soft tissue fullness in certain areas is directly to blame for facial aging.
These fat pockets tend to separate, the cheek fat pads gradually slide forward and down to bulge against the nasolabial folds making the face appear unbalanced. What happens in the mid face is directly to blame for those lower face changes, including nasolabial folds, melomenatal lines and jowls. Rejuvenation involves restoration of the lost volume, to give us back the arcs and convexities associated with a youthful face. We literally need to rebuild these areas of lost volume. The mattress is sinking and sagging and sliding down!
THIEF #3 – SKIN CHANGES
The environment is mostly to blame for the skin changes associated with aging. Our genetics play a part in how fast collagen and elastin fibers degrade and the quality of the hyaluronic acid our bodies make. However, skin aging is mainly caused by sun exposure, smoking and alcohol. Of all these aging factors, UV sun damage poses the greatest threat to our skins.
As skin ages, the dermis, or middle layer of skin starts to lose collagen with thinning of the skin. The skin’s ability to retain elasticity (from elastin) and moisture (from hyaluronic acid) also reduces with age and we start seeing wrinkles (think of the duvet covering the mattress here). At other areas, such as around the mouth and between the eyes, skin wrinkling occurs due to the repeated underlying muscle contraction. Over time these lines become permanent. These factors all play a roll in aging the skin!
So that is Facial Aging in a Nutshell.
Whether or not we inject products to restore volume, uses lasers to resurface the skin, use skin care with active ingredients to enhance and maintain the skin, or relaxes muscles with botox, we need an understanding of what is the underlying process causing these changes. Only then we will be able to select the best and most effective treatment options to correct for the facial disharmony that develops with aging.
What is next?
- My free eBook, Wrinkle Treatments 101, is an excellent guide discussing the different treatments options for wrinkles, as well as the myths and facts around it.
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