Understanding the Progression of Facial Aging

As a board certified plastic surgeon specializing in cosmetic and reconstructive surgery of the face, I have had the opportunity to study faces of every conceivable age and in over twenty-five years of practice, I have gotten a chance to observe first-hand how individual faces evolve and develop over time. I believe that understanding exactly how age can change the appearance of the face is essential in minimizing the effects of facial aging and achieving the best possible cosmetic plastic surgery results.

facial rejuvenation atlanta gaRecent studies have suggested that many of the changes associated with facial aging are actually more than just skin deep.  Researchers have carefully analyzed computer tomography (CT) scans of the facial bones of young people (age 20 to 40), middle-aged people (41 to 64), and more mature-aged people (65 and up).  Detailed measurements of these three-dimensional reconstructions reveal several important differences in the facial bone structure between the age groups.  Simply put, the bones of the face really do change and undergo an overall decrease in volume with increasing age.  For example, the area of the eye sockets increases significantly, becoming wider and longer in both men and women.  The bones of the middle and lower parts of the face are affected as well.  Researchers found reductions in the angles of the brow, nose, and upper jaw bones and a general decrease in the length and height of the lower jaw.  By taking these structural changes into account, I have been able to significantly improve the results of the facial rejuvenations I perform by incorporating facial contouring techniques to augment and sculpt the bones of the chin and cheeks.

As you leave your teens and enter your twenties, the face generally begins to lose the “baby fat,” shifting from a plump, child-like appearance to a slimmer, more adult look.  Although most people in this age group welcome this change, it is, in fact, the beginning of facial aging.  Expression lines, those tiny lines and creases related to facial movement, start to appear on the brow and around the eyes as facial volume diminishes.  Over the next decade, the skin of the face begins to look “tired” as the skin loses more volume and starts to sag.  Crow’s feet around the eyes become more noticeable and previous sun damage may worsen the appearance of small brown spots.  Many of the blood vessels in the face, particularly around the sides of your nose, may begin to dilate, becoming visible beneath the skin.  Facial creasing becomes more evident as well, manifesting as frown lines, those “dreaded 11’s” that pop up between the brows, and the deepening of the nasolabial lines around the mouth.  Many have suggested that injectable cosmetic treatments like Botox® can be particularly effective at this stage.  Evidence seems to indicate that, if you start early, you can actually stop these wrinkles from getting worse and that, in the long run, you’ll need much less to maintain a youthful appearance.

Eventually the skin begins to suffer a massive breakdown of collagen and elastin fibers, the support structures that hold up skin.  Fat underneath the skin breaks down even further, making the skin thinner and brown spots and wrinkles appear deeper and more prominent.  Treatment at this stage focuses on tightening the loosening skin and repositioning or filling in the underlying tissue.  This can be achieved surgically, with a full facelift, or non-surgically with deep tissue treatments like Ultherapy® skin tightening, which stimulates collagen production while tightening the underlying layers of skin by gently stimulating them with ultrasonic energy.

If you are interested in learning more about facial aging or a plastic surgery procedure I perform, please contact me, Dr. Fernando Burstein, today.  Additionally, some reconstructive procedures may be covered by insurance, and Atlanta Plastic Surgery, P.C. provides a variety of options for financing, including Care CreditSM, in order to assist you.  Be sure to connect with me on FacebookTwitter, and Google+ for the latest facial plastic surgery news.