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Ageing and the skin - part one

Welcome to part one of my little series of information about facial ageing and the visible changes we see as we grow older. This post will have a look at the signs of facial ageing in each decade with some information as to how we can combat these changes. My next post will look at the individual layers of the skin and the underlying supportive structures in more detail. Education is the key to antiageing and preventative skin care. 

So what actually happens to our face when we age?

The facial ageing process begins with changes to the skin, soft tissues (fat, muscle, ligaments) and bones which act as structural support. These facial layers all age independently and are affected by multiple different factors however they all act together in unison to determine the appearance of an individuals face as they grow older.

The major forces contributing to facial ageing include gravity, bony remodelling, fat loss and redistribution, hormonal changes, chronic sun exposure and smoking. Other environmental factors that also affect facial ageing include stress, poor diet, drug use and disease.

SIGNS OF FACIAL AGEING

Image sourse: www.annetherese.com

Image sourse: www.annetherese.com

  • greater visibility of bony landmarks

  • prominence of transverse forehead lines

  • nasolabial folds become more prominent

  • hollowing of the midface

  • changes in the area around the mouth (vertical wrinkles, lip thinning and flattening)

  • development of pre-jowl depressions (marionette lines)

  • changes to the skin - decreased hydration, loss of elasticity, visible capillaries, congestion

 

So when do these changes occur and what visual changes will we see?

30-40s

Beginnings of photoageing start to appear eg areas of altered pigmentation

Dynamic lines appear in the upper face eg frown lines, forehead lines, crows feet

Early formation of lines and wrinkles in the lower face eg nasolabial folds

Fat pads and bony supports are generally intact at this time although slight volume loss in the cheeks can begin to occur

40-50s

Pimentation changes including solar lentigines and possible skin cancers forming

Decreased sebaceous gland activity leading to dryness and flaking

Visible capillaries (telangiectasia)

Decreased production of collagen and elastin leading to reduced suppleness and elasticity – sagging

Static lines present in upper and lower face from pre-existing dynamic lines (not if you have been having regular wrinkle relaxers)

Dermis loses hydration, with loss of volume due to decreased collagen leading to contour irregularities and loss of facial fullness

Decreased bone density causing changes to supportive structures of the face.

Beginnings of fat pad atrophy and movement of fat pads leading to gravitational changes

50+

Skin appears thin, dry and atrophic

Increased telangectasia with broken capillaries and facial flushing

Lines and folds are evident and present at rest

Skin may appear loose and saggy eg jowling, marionette lines

Further loss of the subcutaneous fat and loss of bone leads to underlying anatomical structures becoming obvious

Loss of the supporting ligaments leads to grooving and bulging

 
image source: allergan

image source: allergan

 

TREATMENT OPTIONS

The goal is to achieve

  • symmetry on both sides of the face
  • smooth convex contours
  • homogenous skin tone and texture

Resurfacing procedures

These procedures are used to resurface and modify the epidermis and dermis. They correct changes of photoageing, fine lines, pigmentation, acne and scarring. Common procedures include; Chemical peels, Microdermabrasion, Skin needling, Laser resurfacing

Cosmetic injectables

Injectables are a range of treatments that are administered by a doctor or nurse. Their main indication is for the treatment of lines, wrinkles and folds as well as volume restoration and contouring. The most common procedures include: Wrinkle relaxers or anti-wrinkle injections and dermal fillers.

Please see my pages on wrinkle relaxers and dermal fillers for more information. 

Surgery

These treatments address a wider range of concerns however are invasive and have associated down time. They range from liposuction, fat transfer, face-life and augmentations.

I hope this information was informative for you and offered some insight into what happens to your face over the years. 

Next post on its way - ageing and the skin part two

Dr Kate x