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Dr. Michaels' Blog

What Makes Your Face Look Older?

Four general factors cause our faces to age over time: environmental exposure, repetitive muscle action, loss of facial volume and loss of elasticity.

We are exposed to environmental factors that damage our skin every day. Sunlight is the biggest culprit. Ultraviolet light from the sun produces free radicals that damage our DNA. This damage leads to wrinkling, brown discolorations, a leathery appearance and, eventually, to skin cancer. Smoking damages the skin in the same ways that sunlight does.

Facial muscles are unique. They are the only muscles that move our skin. Facial animation, our expressions, cause the skin to fold. Over time the folds become creases, then turn into wrinkles. These muscle action lines are very prominent in the upper half of the face. Those “11’s” between the eyebrows, horizontal lines on the forehead and crow’s feet are all due to the muscle action of the face.

It is not known why we lose facial volume and projection from fat and bone loss as we age. This deflation leaves depressions in the facial contour and less support to the overlying skin. Deep tear troughs and prominent nasolabial folds or “parentheses” round the mouth are one result of loss of volume, but almost every part of the face can be affected.

Gravity and the loss of skin elasticity combine to cause the skin to sag. Droopy eyelid skin, cheek jowling and lowering of the forehead are common examples of this manifestation of aging.
To learn how to correct these unavoidable signs of aging, read our blogs on skin care, fillers, botulinum toxin and facial surgery.

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