All About Facial Fat: Where it Helps and Where it Hurts

For many people, the word “fat” automatically gets a negative reaction, because they feel that the less fat they have on their body, the better. Putting aside the necessary functions that a healthy amount of fat must serve, believe it or not, fat is also essential for aesthetics, too. Like anything else, fat has a time and a place, and while you may want to keep it to a minimum in your mid-section, facial fat is actually one of the most important parts of a youthful face.

All About Facial Fat Where it Helps and Where it HurtsWhen we’re young, fat throughout the face is evenly and smoothly distributed. This gives the cheeks, forehead, and other areas a healthy look and contributes to the firmness and smoothness of the skin. As we age, however, this facial fat changes in a number of ways:

  1. The amount of fat in the mid-face (such as the cheeks and the area around the eyes) decreases and falls as gravity takes hold. This creates “hollows” in the cheeks and a more gaunt-looking area around the eyes. In addition, this loss of supportive tissue also increases the appearance of sagging skin which is already losing its firmness due to other parts of the aging process.
  2. At the same time as fat is lost in the mid-face, more fat actually tends to accumulate in the lowest part of the face, such as the jowls and the area under the chin. While the skin does become thinner and looser in this area with age, the addition of unwanted fat can age your appearance significantly more.

In other words, the aging process takes facial fat away from desirable areas and moves them to less-desirable areas.

Fortunately, there are a number of ways to address the problem. To restore rejuvenating volume to areas like the crescent under the eyes and the hollows of the cheeks, facial fillers (also called dermal fillers) can offer successful results with a highly minimal procedure. As a double board-certified plastic surgeon with specialized knowledge of facial anatomy, I am able to recommend the ideal type of filler (such as Restylane®, Juvéderm®, Restylane® Lyft, and more) based on your specific needs and the type of material used, and can skillfully inject them to create a natural look.

For patients who want a more long-term solution (as most fillers last between 6 months and 1 year), a facelift or my specialized Band Aid Mini Facelift can reposition underlying facial tissue while also removing excess skin and providing firmer and more lifted facial contours. To amplify your results, you can pair either of these procedures with Band Aid Skin Tightening to help rebuild your skin’s collagen.

In addition to replacing lost volume throughout the mid-face and other areas, the unwanted fat from the jowls and under the chin can also be addressed. Depending on your specific needs and the amount of fat to be removed, I will recommend either traditional liposuction or, in most cases, my Band Aid Liposuction, a minimally invasive version of the popular surgery. Band Aid Liposuction is performed in-office with gentle numbing so that both the cost and the recovery time are just half of what they would be with traditional liposuction.

When it comes to your health, very few things are either 100% good or 100% bad, and the same goes for your appearance. Fat has its place, especially in keeping your face looking young and smooth. To discuss how you can fight back against aging-related fat redistribution, schedule a consultation with me, Dr. John L. LeRoy. Or, for more fun aesthetic facts, plastic surgery tips, and more, follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.