Why do we age in appearance?
We all know aging sucks, right? Why do our faces age? WHY?? Lines and wrinkles, saggy skin. Ugh, it’s all ahead for each of us. And for many, it’s sadly already left its mark. But the sad reality is aging is not just lines and wrinkles, not even just sagging, but five layers of facial decay, one of which is unfixable. Okay, perhaps I’m being a bit dramatic, but read on to find out what are the five ways in which we get older, and most importantly what can be done to stop this disaster!
At a conference around 15 years ago, I learned about the last one, and realised that there was no way this could be fixed. Yes numbers 1-4 can be improved somewhat, but number 5 cannot. And if you can’t fix them all, the weakest link is what you will be judged by. As an obsessive, I was horrified. If you can’t fix the whole lot, then what’s the point of doing a half assed job. Don’t fret, there is a solution to the last one.
Why do our faces age? Skin
Okay, so this aspect is straightforward, you probably knew it already. The top layer of your skin is the part that springs to mind when we think about aging. Years of sun damage, not using SPF, swimming in chlorine, getting dehydrated, smoking, drinking, bad diet and any other drugs that you care to poison yourself with all eventually take their toll. When you are a baby, your beautiful young skin replaces itself every 4 weeks. The epidermis is replaced from the basal layer all the way up. The dead cells fall off after a few weeks and new skin is revealed. As we age, our skin slows down the speed at which it replaces itself, so these cells fall off at a much slower speed. This means your skin replaces itself every 8 -12 weeks. Leaving it looking gray and, well, dead – after all, it is dead skin.
How can you fix this?
Well the cheap and easy way is to just remove the dead skin using exfoliating techniques like exfoliating creams or rough cloths that can take off the dead skin without injuring the fresh baby soft skin underneath. Another way is to use drugs like retinol which make your skin speed up the pace at which new cells are made. This also means however that you’ll have a few weeks of red skin as it takes a while for your body to get used to this new pace of new skin. Finally some treatments like Hydrafacials and less gentle treatments like microdermabrasion will remove layers of skin quickly if you don’t have time to rub your face yourself gently.
2. Why do our faces age? Lines and wrinkles
Remember how mum used to say don’t make faces because the wind might change and your face will stay like that. Well she wasn’t far wrong, in hindsight. So as our faces repeatedly fold, just like a piece of paper, it has a memory of where it was folded. You can unfold your face, but the skin will eventually remember the fold after the thousand millionth move. This is why we get lines in between our eyebrows from frowning, lines across our foreheads from lifting our eyebrows to explain or listen to people attentively. The healthier your skin is, the better, so a good maintenance plan will make sure you can move your face and like a top notch memory foam, your face will bounce back to its original shape free of lines, just like the youngster you used to be! The general skin quality dictates how good you skin is at forgetting its folds.
How can you fix this?
First things first, stop moving your face. Any job/friend/spouse that makes your face move excessively should be immediately removed from the situation. Next, make sure your skin is healthy by using a good skin care range, we recommend Obagi or Alumier skincare. Next step is to make sure your skin is looking its best and you have removed the dead cells as explained in the skin section above. Next is to use a little botox dublin which weakens the muscles and stops you from folding the face so much.
3. Why do our faces age? Fat loss
Fat loss is a good thing, right? … RIGHT? well… yes. on your body, if you’re overweight, but if you’re talking about the face, fat loss isn’t your friend when it comes to aging. The sad news is as we age, the expression “face or figure” become more and more true. When we have less fat on the face, the face looks older, more skeletal, and less healthy. Just take a look at Matthew McConnaghey in Dallas Buyers Club for an indication of why losing fat is not ideal. He looks at least 10 years older when he lost all that weight. Similarly christian Bale in the machinist looked not only much thinner, but much older. Not only that but loss of fat on the face means the pockets that contain the fat appear less full, and can now slump down over the bones over the face, the dreaded sag that people complain about as they reach their forties and beyond.
How can you fix this?
Face or figure…or fillers. Thankfully there is a solution in dermal fillers, where you can replace fat on your face, without necessarily putting fat on your body. Now the cheapest option to looking younger is to just put on weight, accept a little more fat on the body to make the face look its best. Embrace your curves! Surgeons will help with the sag, but remember, lifting the face will remove the sag, but will not correct the loss of volume that is the reason for the sag. Fillers require a lot of skill and if someone applies them wrong, it can make you look weird as well as still looking tired and older. not ideal.
4. Why do our faces age? Muscles
When our faces lose fat, there is a side effect that happens to our muscles. The same muscles we’ve had all our life now have less weights to lift, less tissue, less stuff to move. So the same muscles are more capable, and when they lift the smaller tissue weight it is much easier. Your muscles suddenly feel really strong. Look how high they can lift these weights! Your smile gets wider, and your face moves much more than it did 20 years ago. This is why sometimes elderly faces in motion can be almost caricatures of their younger versions. Muscles need to be tamed as well as fat replaced. Sometimes fat loss isnt needed for muscles to be over expressive. Family habits and different anatomy can result in some people having particularly frowny faces, or resting downturned mouths etc.
How can you fix this?
Botulinum toxin is the best way to tame hyper-expressive muscles of the face, or muscles that have normal expression levels but have less tissue to lift due to aging. Small amounts of toxin and a careful doctor who will check the results with pictures and ensure your movements are natural and you can still move are needed. Please make sure you go to someone who will make sure your face can still move a little. And please do not ask your doctor to ‘freeze you’. You will give botox a bad name.
5. Why do our faces age? Bones
You didn’t see that one coming did you? Just when you thought you had it all sorted, and were about to book in for a little hydrafacial, a bit of filler, maybe some skincare creams and a bit of microneedling the bad news comes. No matter how good your skin is, how carefully relaxed your muscles are, how baby soft your skin is, what good is it if your skull changes shape and makes you look older? But hang on, how much does your skull change… just a little bit right? Think about it, we can age skeletons of people from thousands of years ago because our faces go under very specific changes with aging. So what changes exactly.. mainly the jaw bone. We are all aware of this feature of aging. Any cartoon drawing of a granny will show the different jaw shape of an older lady. The jaw becomes shorter in height and less l-shaped. Secondly, the eye sockets and nose holes (thats the best word I can find for it, nasal orifice sounds weird) get larger. Yep. How can we make the under eyes and nasolabial folds better if the literal bones its all based on are moving against us with aging??
How can you fix this?
Well there are solutions. First of all, overall skin health and good diet can help with how bones change shape. People who exercise have denser bones. Humans today don’t eat tough meat like our ancestors, we eat overly processed foods which I speculate impacts how your bones develop. Yes its theoretical, but I think it makes sense given the impacts of exercise on other bones of their body and the delaying of their decline. Secondly we now have thicker fillers, with a high G’ Prime ( this means thick) which can lift tissues more than thinner fillers. When placed on bone, these fillers, can make the skull look like it is a different shape. SO a thick filler placed along the bottom of the jaw can give a few millimeters of height or make the jaw angle look a little sharper. Finally Surgeons can use implants and various other techniques to improve the shape of the jaw. There are limitations to what they can do about your eye sockets and nose holes getting bigger as there are more important blood vessels and nerves in these areas.
Anyway there you have it – if you want help with slowing any of the processes or have any questions about what part of your face we should focus on first for best bang for buck, call us for an assessment appointment.
Excerpt from Dr Paul’s upcoming book – Under the Radar – how to not get botched.