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Image of Wrinkles on Forehead

Facial Aging 101

Facial aging is more than skin deep. In fact it occurs on 3 different levels. 

The skin, skeletal structure, and soft tissue of the face all play a role in facial aging.  Though the aging process of skin can occur independently, these facets work in unison when it comes to your reflection.

Facial aging is identified by a loss of facial volume.  Most notably the loss of soft-tissue fullness and the redistribution of facial fat.

Subcutaneous fat, a multi-linked fibrous system of connective tissue and over 30 muscles that enable facial expressions lie below the skin’s dermis layer and comprise the soft tissue of the face.  

However, these components are not uniformly layered. 

For example, more fat resides in the mid section of the face (the cheeks), than it does in the forehead. This un-parallel structuring of the facial anatomy results in the appearance of youthful high cheekbones.

As we age, connective tissue (ligaments, collagen, elastin) both in and under the dermis weakens, becoming less supportive and elastic.  Additionally, gravity takes hold of the skin and soft tissue causing it to droop.  Bones in the body can become less dense, particularly the jawbone.  Bone resorption results in facial volume loss and the altering of the depth and width of the face. Ultimately, this leads to the sagging of soft tissue and relocation of facial fat.

Over time the visibility of contoured cheekbones, attributed to fat on the malar pad, diminishes.  The repositioning of the malar pad is due to the gradual loss of facial volume support, which causes soft tissue to wilt and facial fat to relocate.  

Extrinsic and intrinsic aging factors diminish skin’s laxity and produce uneven thinning of its dermis and epidermis layers. 

When skin with diminished integrity meets a lack of subcutaneous facial fat, the proximity between skin and facial muscle is increased.  This combined with our constant facial muscle movements yield the appearance of facial wrinkles.

In a place where subcutaneous fat is very thin in youth, such as the upper portion of the face; it makes sense why worry lines across the forehead, crow’s feet around the eyes and frown lines between the eyebrows are usually the first signs of aging.

Additionally, when skin with deteriorated elastic recoil is covering soft tissue that is stretched and drooping, the appearance of excess sagging skin manifests.

Proper rejuvenation of the face and neck requires restoration of youthful features at all levels at which aging occurs.

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