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How does your face age over time?

Aging is a natural and unavoidable part of life. Although we can’t stop this process, there are a number of surgical and non-surgical treatments available which can maintain a youthful appearance. Here we will look at how the aging process affects our face and treatments which can help keep you looking younger for longer.

How does the face age?

Collagen is the protein which gives our skin its elasticity. As we get older, our collagen levels drop, causing the skin to sag and wrinkle. Subcutaneous fat, fat which is stored just beneath the skin, gives the face a young, healthy ‘plumpness’. We start to lose this fat from our faces as we get older, which can result in sunken cheeks.

Environmental factors and lifestyle choices can often accelerate the aging process. These include smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, poor diet, excessive sun exposure, poor sleep and exposure to air pollution.

What are the first areas to show visible signs of aging?

As our collagen levels deplete, they cause fine lines and wrinkles to appear, which are the first signs of aging. Crows feet and laughter lines, which develop around the sides of the mouth, are often the first lines to appear. These are usually closely followed by forehead wrinkles.

What are the visible signs of aging in your 20s and 30s?

In our 20s, collagen and subcutaneous fat gives our skin a youthful appearance. It is vital that you take good care of your skin at this age, in order to prevent damage later in life. This includes maintaining a good skincare routine, avoiding excessive sun exposure and trying to avoid or limit harmful lifestyle choices which may cause damage to the skin.

In your 30s, fine lines, such as crows feet around the eyes, start to make their presence known. Your face will start to lose volume, giving your face a more angular appearance, which can make you look older and more tired.

Hyperpigmentation, which occurs when patches of skin become darker, can also become a problem for women in this age bracket.

What treatments are appropriate for people in their 20s and 30s?

Dermal fillers are quick injectable treatments that can soften facial wrinkles and lines and fill out hollows to recreate the smooth contours of younger skin. This non-surgical procedure achieves long-term results and can be used to treat a number of issues, including softening nose to mouth lines (naso-labial folds), defining the chin area and eliminating smokers’ lines around the lips. Plump lips and fuller cheeks can also be achieved with the use of dermal fillers.

Another option is anti-ageing injectables, local muscle relaxants that smooth out facial lines and wrinkles by relaxing the underlying facial muscles. These injections are good for reducing the appearance of existing wrinkles and preventing new lines and wrinkles from developing. This treatment is suitable for anyone over the age of 18.

Ultherapy is a face and neck treatment that uses ultrasound to lift, tighten and tone loose skin naturally without surgery. This non-surgical treatment is suitable for younger patients in their 30s and 40s who are starting to see the first signs of facial aging.

For an alternative surgical treatment, the micro facelift is a new and innovative treatment, which has increased in popularity. The ideal procedure for anyone in between the ages of 35 to 50 seeking to reverse the preliminary signs of ageing with a minimally invasive surgical treatment. This surgery can make a patient look up to five years younger.

What are the visible signs of aging in your 40s and 50s?

In your 40s, your skin gets a lot drier, so lines and wrinkles become more pronounced. You continue to lose subcutaneous fat, but not equally from all areas. Fat pads in the middle part of the face are generally the first to go, followed by fat from around the mouth, chin and jawline. 

Depleting collagen levels means the skin loses elasticity, causing it to sag. As you hit your 40s, you may also find that the tip of your nose begins to tilt downwards. If this is the case, it may be worth considering rhinoplasty (nose job).

In your 50s, your skin will feel drier and more prone to irritation. You are also likely to develop more age spots. Any sun damage sustained earlier on in life will make itself known.

The menopause can prompt huge changes to the skin, making it appear dry, thin and saggy. In the UK, the average age for a woman to hit menopause is 51, although it can happen in your 40s or even earlier. 

What treatments are appropriate for people in their 40s and 50s?

Ultherapy, anti-ageing injectables and micro facelifts are appropriate for people in their 40s who are experiencing early signs of aging. For patients in their 40s or 50s, a mini facelift may be a better option. The next step up from a micro facelift, a mini facelift is the ideal procedure for anyone in their 40s or 50s concerned about sagging skin and visible signs of aging in the lower face and neck.

What are the visible signs of aging for people aged 50-plus?

As you head into your 50s, 60s and beyond, wrinkles, age spots and skin creases become even more visible. The skin becomes thinner, bruises become more noticeable and wounds take longer to heal.

What treatments are appropriate for people aged 50-plus?

A full facelift, (rhytidectomy) is recommended for people aged 50-plus where fine lines have developed into more deep set wrinkles. A full facelift will target deep folds and wrinkles, but as a result it is a more invasive surgery than the micro and mini facelifts with a longer recovery time.

You may also wish to consider a neck lift (lower rhytidectomy) to improve the signs of aging in the neck and jaw, such as jowls or sagging neck skin, also known as ‘turkey neck’. This procedure can be carried out on its own or combined with a facelift for an enhanced result.

Do mens’ faces age differently to women’s? 

Men also develop wrinkles, jowls, eye bags and age spots, the same as women. Men are also prone to developing longer ears.

All the above treatments are suitable for men, including facelifts. In five years the number of men undergoing facelifts has risen by 45%, with this trend showing no sign of slowing down. However, at the Cadogan Clinic we employ a slightly different facelift technique for men in order to emphasise more masculine facial features.

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