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05.10.19

Ageing through the years and what you can do about it

Are you wondering what you can do to prevent the physical signs of ageing or what you can do to minimise its progression? If so, this post is for you and will describe why the physical signs of ageing occur and what you can do to intervene to continue looking and feeling your best.

In today’s world, there are so many choices available to us and if you want to do what you can to achieve and/or maintain a more youthful appearance, then it is possible.   You only have to look at photographs of parents and grandparents from before the 1980s and they certainly look older far earlier than is demonstrated now (even without filters)!

There are ageing benchmarks where changes can be expected but of course, this can begin at a younger age where people age prematurely or seem older than expected whereas the fortunate few don’t appear to age as much – we all have those friends!

Read on to learn what changes occur and how you can intervene, to delay and minimise the appearance of ageing.

In this post, we are going to focus on the ageing of the face and will not place any focus on body ageing.

To understand ageing you need to understand the structure of the face. Most people only think of the skin when they think about ageing but the skin is only a part of what ages the face and the skeletal anatomy (bony structure), muscle and fat have to be considered for you to have a clear understanding of what changes go on.

Other factors that influence ageing are genetic, natural cellular changes and lifestyle.

Let’s get started!

The bones that make up the face vary greatly from person to person and that is why we all look unique.   The next layer over the bone is muscles and there are 43 muscles in the face. We need these muscles to form our facial expression, as so much of our communication is created from them. Fat typically sits over the muscle and this fat is crucial for insulation and padding and finally, the top layer is the skin that creates the canvas of our face. The skin health can be affected by many conditions but we are only going to consider ageing in this post. We can best keep the face and skin in a youthful prime appearance by addressing the fat, muscle and skeletal ageing!

Ageing in your twenties

Ageing is already starting in the skin. Collagen production that keeps the skin plump and youthful is now in decline. Smoking, sun and stress will accelerate this greatly. Fine lines and wrinkles can be visible due to muscle movement, and changes in the skin result in it not snapping back into place after the contraction of the muscle. This is usually restricted to frown areas, foreheads and eyes. Toxin injections and skin health treatments usually provide great results for this age group and would likely be the recommended treatment if you want to minimise the physical signs of ageing.

Ageing in your thirties

The ageing process progresses and typically the skin becomes more tired looking. Often people just want back, a glow to their skin. (The glow we don’t seem to appreciate in our 20s funnily enough)! People in their 30s with a healthy lifestyle, can normally still beat the physical signs of ageing with toxin injections and skin health treatments.

People who are more genetically predisposed to ageing, and with poor lifestyle factors such as smoking, sun exposure and stress, can easily show signs of premature ageing in their 30s. It is not uncommon for lines and wrinkles to be present in the mouth area and nose to mouth lines (nasolabial). Often early changes in the fat pad positions can cause the skin to begin to sag.

Ageing in your forties and fifties

This stage is probably the most dramatic period of ageing where toxin treatment and peels are not going to address all the areas of ageing. Ageing continues in the skin, and overactive muscles begin to show more effects on the face in the form of deeper lines and wrinkles. Changes in the fat pads occur and these fat pads which were once tightly packed together, become separated and loose, causing the skin to sag. Wrinkles on the forehead, eyes, and lines around the mouth can become deeper. Folds can appear due to loss of fat and poor support for the skin. Hollows under the eyes and jowls (loose skin around the jawline) can be visible.

Ageing in your mid-fifties

Hormonal changes can affect the skin and of course, at this age, we are producing less, and poorer quality collagen so the skin is on a downward spiral.

Ageing in your sixties

Most of us will experience changes in the bone structure that change how the muscles are attached, giving overall support of the skin. This is commonly more noticeable on the jawline, midface and eye area.

I hope you now understand all the different factors that influence how your face ages and all the areas that are assessed in an aesthetic consultation. Are you ready to look at what you can do to minimise the effects of ageing and intervene to replace tissue structure loss and keep your skin in prime condition?

So what you can do about it!

From teenager to forever

Wear a minimum SPF 30 (sun protection) even in winter. The sun not only ages the skin at a cellular level, but it also causes unsightly pigmentation that contributes to uneven skin colour (very ageing)

A lot of teenagers and adults in their early 20s think they are invincible against the ageing process, but please do what you can to protect the skin against the sun – it really will pay off in the long run.

Don’t smoke, as not only does smoking contribute to lines around the mouth from physically holding the cigarette, but the systemic effect of the smoke actually starves your skin and every cell in your body of oxygen and nutrients. Again, you won’t see any major problems while you are younger but you will very likely see an acceleration in ageing in your late 20s to early 30s.

Do regular exercise and minimise stress in your life. Placing focus on your wellbeing encourages happy hormones and minimises stress hormones that cause ageing and fat retention.

Brush your teeth and floss every day; keeping bacteria levels in your mouth at a low level minimises inflammation in the gums. Inflammation in the gums can cause periodontal disease which causes bone loss, and it is bone that supports the teeth. This will cause the face shape to be smaller and encourage ageing in the middle portion of the face.

Common interventions in your twenties

Use a good skincare system that boosts cellular turnover and an SPF (minimum 30) every day. If you do have the beginning of fine lines and wrinkles and you want to prevent them, then toxin injection treatments work very well. Professional skin health treatments and lasers work to treat skin conditions and boost collagen levels.

Common interventions in your thirties

As above, but step up your skincare to include an anti-ageing ingredient such as retinol. Always buy retinol products from a reputable skin clinic as shops and online retail cannot legally sell anti-ageing ingredients powerful enough to have a significant effect. It is not uncommon for dermal filler treatments to be carried out if there is premature ageing in areas, or indeed if there is natural thinness on areas such as the cheeks that is causing the face to look older.

Common interventions in your forties and fifties

As above but you may see more changes in the cheeks, nasolabial lines/folds and under the eyes. Dermal fillers are an excellent treatment for these areas, whilst restoring the midface volume. As well as restoring volume, a more intense focus on skin health is indicated because less and less collagen is being produced. Hormonal changes could be occurring which also cause ageing. Skin tightening for the jowl area, and jawline fillers that contour the bone, causing better support for the skin, can be very effective.  The Nefertiti Lift can also be quite transformational on the neck and jowl area.

PDO threads are good at lifting the neck, jowl and midsection of the face

Common interventions in your sixties

All of the above – if you have looked after your skin your whole life non-surgical treatments can continue to be very effective at this age, but if you are starting out it will depend on the level of ageing with which you present, as to how much ageing can visibly be reversed by non-surgical methods. If you want dramatic results, perhaps a surgical approach may be considered.

Conclusion

Prevention is better than cure. Considering the whole face and not only the skin is essential to deliver a comprehensive plan of action to restore and maintain a more youthful appearance. Surgery should always be a last resort, but a good option if you are further down the ageing process and want more significant results. If you are considering plastic surgery, do your research and ensure you choose a reputable clinic and surgeon.

It is usually never too late to begin a rejuvenation programme and looking your best can make you feel your best!