Scientific research and technological advances have helped develop our understanding of the ageing process, especially what happens to our skin.
We all know young skin is smooth and plump, this is because the tissue is well hydrated. As we age, the water-retaining properties of our skin begins to decline, and, as a result, it will become drier and thinner and less able to restore itself.
This loss of fullness results in looser skin, leading to lines, wrinkles and folds; gravity then takes its toll, causing a general drooping and sagging of the skin.
Beneath the surface of the skin, the distribution of fat changes, and facial contours with it. The result is lips with volume loss and wrinkles forming around the eyes; this affects the balance of the central facial triangle with a flattening of the natural arcs and fullness of the face The bones supporting our features also become thinner and smaller, leading to even more loss of fullness.
In a study of 30 women and 30 men aged between 25 and 65, it was found that, as people age, their facial bones shrink and leave empty spaces. Since the skin also loses elasticity with time, it is not able to tighten around the spaces left by the bone loss.
But, encouragingly, the study’s co-author, Dr David Kahn, says that, by using a Swedish dermal filler, along with other techniques such as forehead lifts and soft tissue repositioning, “Plastic surgeons can recreate volume loss caused by dissolving or sinking bone and lift the skin to create better, more refined results for patients."
Here’s how the ageing process changes our different facial features:
The face loses its fullness, shifting from heart-shaped to more rectangular. The base of the central facial triangle will gradually invert over time, and rest along the jaw line giving the face a droopy appearance
Skin becomes thinner and brow muscles and blood vessels become more obvious. Brows fall and deep forehead lines appear, giving a permanently stressed or worried appearance
Cheeks lose volume, and wrinkles appear around the eyes. A more pronounced hollowness under the eyes creates a tired appearance
Skin becomes more lax, wrinkles appear around the mouth, folds emerge between nose and mouth corners and the jaw line becomes less defined, which affects the profile of the face. Mouth corners will point downwards and lips become thinner and less defined.
Fine wrinkles appear, giving the skin a crêpe-like appearance. The skin sees changes in texture and pigmentation associated with sun damage.
Brownish patches (known as liver spots) appear, another consequence of sun damage. Fine lines on the backs of hands and prominent veins are particularly telling signs of ageing.