As well as hopefully bestowing wisdom, the ageing process affects your body, your mind and even how you look. And it is this visible facial ageing that many men and women find hardest to take.
The triangle of youth
As we get older, a distinct facial shape change gradually occurs. Typically, a youthful face has high rounded cheeks and a defined jawline, forming a triangle shape. As we get older, our face shape becomes an inverted triangle, causing by volume loss and skin and muscle laxity.
There is usually a shortening of what is termed the ‘vertical dimension’, which means a low, heavier forehead. Our mid-face area becomes deflated, with sunken cheeks, and the lower half of the face becomes broader as the jawline becomes fuller and less taut and a double chin appears.
More than skin deep
When I perform an assessment of facial ageing during a consultation at my Leamington cosmetic surgery clinic, I also assess all the structural layers of the face. Although it is easy to fixate on a wrinkle here or line there, the external ageing changes are often only an indication of what’s going on beneath the surface.
So, wrinkles and age spots are an outward representation of damage and loss of collagen in the dermis. The amount of collagen in the dermis is a key factor in how we are ageing; this naturally-occurring protein forms the connective tissue in your dermis, providing support and elasticity to your skin. Women are particularly affected; after the age of 25 changes in the levels of the hormone oestrogen accelerates the loss of collagen.
It is estimated that by the time a woman reaches the age of 40 she will have lost up to 20% of her collagen, a process that is further compounded by the menopause. This appears as loss of elasticity, wrinkles and changes in texture and colour of the skin.
Volume – or fat – also plays a significant role in facial ageing. A youthful face has a more even distribution of fatty tissue that produces that soft, rounded look we all covet. The forehead, temples, cheeks and around the eyes and the mouth are all plumped up, but as the years progress, this fatty tissue is lost from some areas and then appears where it is not wanted. Our temples hollow, cheeks flatten and our chin, jaw and neck becomes thicker.
The patient’s goals are paramount
The patient’s aesthetic goals are key to the advice I give them. Addressing fine wrinkles or other superficial ageing changes only can be achieved with non-surgical treatments such as botulinum toxin, dermal fillers or chemical peels.
However, targeting the different structural layers of the face requires a surgical approach. Facial cosmetic surgery procedures, such as the brow lift, facelift or neck lift, can target particular areas of the face or can be planned as an all-over facial rejuvenation.
To find out more about how I assess facial ageing, call 01926 436 341 to book a consultation.