It seems that nearly everyone over the age of 30 wants to look younger and is on a lifelong quest to do so. There are certainly plenty of ways to achieve this—you can treat the symptoms that have already appeared, and you can slow down the progression in the future—but the reality is that time doesn’t stand still and on some level, the aging process will always be taking place. While the facial rejuvenation patients at my plastic surgery practice recognize this, their frustration is often that the most visible part of their appearance (their face) is the area that ages first. Though it can seem like Mother Nature’s cruel joke, there are actually scientific reasons why your face tends to show some of the earliest signs of aging compared to other areas of the body.
Depending on the temperature outside, much of your skin is probably covered by clothing at any given moment. Your face, on the other hand, is nearly always exposed to the sun. You’re even receiving indirect sunlight exposure through windows when you’re indoors during the day. While the sun is often the primary culprit behind premature aging, your facial skin also comes into contact with a lot of potential irritants throughout the day, like makeup, pollution, and more, and irritation can make your skin look older as well.
Every facial expression you make contracts muscles and creases the skin. Over time, as you continue to make the same expressions on a daily basis, these muscles can become tense and the creases in your skin become more and more permanent as your skin naturally loses the collagen and elastin that keep it firm and smooth. Compare this to, for instance, the skin of your calf, which stays fairly consistent throughout the day and therefore remains smooth for years longer than your facial skin does.
The way your body stores and accumulates fat is largely based on your genetics, which is why two people with the same weight can be shaped entirely differently. But the aging process involves a particular change in fat distribution that happens for nearly everyone: the fat that used to fill out your cheeks gradually falls to your jawline. Not only does this leave you with a more gaunt-looking mid-face, but it also contributes to the appearance of “jowls,” another age giveaway.
Aging may be a persistent little nuisance, but we can all celebrate living in a time of such rapid medical and cosmetic advancement, because we can find a way to address your signs of aging regardless of your age and the stage of aging you’ve reached. To start discussing your aesthetic goals and how I can make them a reality, schedule a consultation with me, Dr. John L. LeRoy. Or, for more plastic surgery tips, fun facts, and special offers, follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.