The human body goes through many changes with time, and these changes are especially evident when you look at an aging face. Learning what makes a face look older can help you find the best care for your face at any age.
At Gentera Center for Plastic Surgery in Coral Gables, facelift surgery is just one of the ways we can help your aging face look younger. We’ll help you boost your confidence and feel your best.
What Makes a Face Look Older?
There are several underlying reasons why your face starts to change as you get older.
One of the biggest changes is fat loss. When you are young, fat is distributed evenly around your body. However, after years of using up and replenishing your fat supply, your fat cells start to bunch up. Certain areas, such as under the eyes, tend to look thinner and sunken, but fat deposits also make areas like the cheeks and neck sag.
Loss of collagen and other connective tissue
Another major change in an aging face is the loss of collagen and other types of connective tissue. Collagen is a special type of tissue that gives your skin its elasticity and softness.
Your body produces less collagen as you age, so your skin looks thinner and less elastic. Instead of snapping back into a smooth plane, it creases and folds into wrinkles.
The loss of elasticity also makes the effects of gravity more apparent, so your face may begin to shift downward. These sorts of changes usually cannot be fixed without a rhytidectomy, or facelift procedure.
Your body might lose collagen with age, but it does gain another form of support. Cartilage, the firm tissue in your ears and nose, continues to grow your whole life. The change is very subtle, but your nose and ears will get larger with age. Unfortunately, while your cartilage keeps growing, it also gets weaker. As your nasal cartilage weakens, expect the tip of your nose to droop a little.
In addition to all these structural changes, there are also some aesthetic changes. Once your hairline has retreated a little, your forehead will start to look larger. Your skin will begin to produce less oil, which causes it to look drier.
The number of cells you have that produce melanin will also begin to decrease. The end result is skin with patchy brown, or red “liver spots.”
Since some skin cells are more likely to mutate with age, you are more likely to end up with skin tags, warts, and other growths.
At What Age Does Your Face Change the Most?
The short answer: Your face changes the most sometime during your 50s or 60s.
Keep in mind that many changes tend to happen with time. You can go years without any noticeable changes. However, there are a few key periods when you can start to look drastically older and possibly need facelift surgery.
To answer the question “At what age does your face change the most?,” you need to understand the aging timeline.
Teens and early 20s
The aging process tends to start as early as your teens. Throughout the teens and early 20s, your face gradually loses its “baby fat,” and the supporting bones under your face finally quit growing and shifting. Though your face will still look very youthful, there is a noticeable difference between the face of someone in their 20s and that of a preteen.
Late 20s and 30s
Typically, the late 20s is the time fine lines first start to appear, but from a distance, you still won’t look recognizably old. Major changes usually don’t begin to happen until you are in your late 30s. Your skin will begin to appear thinner, duller, and drier, and you will get more pronounced wrinkles, especially around the mouth, nose, and eyebrows. Over the next decade, wrinkles and sagging will typically get worse.
Your face changes most in your 50s and 60s
For most people, the answer to “At what age does your face change the most?” is sometime in their 50s or 60s. This is around the time that the effects of gravity and fat loss become extremely noticeable. Especially for women going through menopause, the decline in estrogen causes the skin to become significantly drier almost overnight.
Once you reach your mid-60s, you can usually tell what your senior face is going to look like. Though you will gradually lose more skin elasticity and fat, you won’t have any other drastic changes unless you develop a chronic health condition.
What Makes a Face Look Older?
There are all sorts of things that happen with age. However, not all of them are noticeable to other people. Instead, people tend to only pay attention to a few key changes when they try to determine age.
People may assume you are older if you have one or more of the following characteristics:
- Flattened, hollow cheeks
- Wrinkles, especially those around the mouth and forehead
- Extra weight around the jawline and neck
- Hollows at the temples or under the eyes
- Dull, dry skin
- Skin with patches of discoloration
- Bumpy, uneven skin
- Droopy upper eyelids
- Bags underneath eyes
What Can You Do About an Aging Face?
Now that you know a little about what makes a face look older, let’s take a look at some common ways to address this.
Preventative measures when you’re young
If you’re still young, a few preventative measures go a long way. Sun causes skin cells to break down more quickly, while tobacco and alcohol use can damage blood vessels in the face. Therefore, simply wearing sunscreen, avoiding smoking and drinking can drastically help with aging.
Addressing the aging face: from filler to facelifts
No matter how careful you are, you cannot entirely avoid the changes your body undergoes.
This doesn’t necessarily mean everyone needs a facelift procedure. The right solution will depend on the underlying cause of your aging.
If your main issue is just wrinkles and thinning skin, filler can be a great non-invasive option. Unlike a facelift, or rhytidectomy, filler doesn’t involve major surgery. Instead, you just need regular injections to restore the lost moisture and fat in your face. Another option is Botox, an injectable that helps to relax muscles and make wrinkles less evident.
There are also all sorts of cosmetic procedures that can address specific effects of aging. A few examples:
- If you struggle with bumpy skin, you might want a chemical peel or laser skin resurfacing.
- If you are mostly unhappy with drooping eyelids, a blepharoplasty can make your eyes look larger and more open.
- And if your nose is starting to look odd as you age, a rhinoplasty can return it to its former shape.
When Should I Consider a Facelift Procedure?
At a certain point, the only way to reverse the aging process is with a rhytidectomy. Also called a facelift procedure, this surgery involves manually adjusting the support structures of the face.
During a rhytidectomy, the surgeon can remove excess skin, reposition fat, and tighten muscles. A facelift tends to provide drastic results and help reduce any effects of aging for years to come.
Facelift Surgery in Coral Gables
If you are ready to stop aging in its tracks, Gentera is here to help. Our Coral Gables plastic surgery center can assist with all sorts of effective procedures. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.