Most of us want to look as young as we feel. Never before have we had so many treatment options available for facial rejuvenation and anti-aging. The key is to understand those options and choose the best treatment or treatments to achieve our goal. To do this, one must first understand how the face ages.
Facial aging goes deeper than wrinkles and lines that form on the skin’s surface. As we age, we lose facial volume. This volume loss affects the skin, fat pads, muscle and bone, which changes the contour of the face. In our youth, our facial features are defined and well contoured giving the appearance of an inverted triangle, also referred to as the triangle of youth.
Typical youthful features are high cheekbones, full cheeks, and a defined jawline. Usually, as we age our soft tissue falls due to gravity, skin sags/droops, and bone density changes. Facial fat-pads shift and fat pads beneath the chin increase. This fullness of the lower face has the shape of a triangle that sits like a pyramid, which is often referred to as the pyramid of age. Common features of an aging face are drooping skin, flattened cheeks, sagging jawline and fat under the chin.
Aging is unique to every individual and many factors, such as genetics, diet, smoking, alcohol use, and sun exposure plays a role in determining when aging begins and how fast it progresses.
Aging skin is no longer soft, smooth, and hydrated. Skin cells lose their ability to renew rapidly giving a dull, gray appearance. As we age we lose facial glands, which results in less skin moisture. We lose collagen and elastin, which attributes to the formation of dynamic lines that eventually become static causing laugh lines, crow’s feet and frown lines. These signs of aging can be improved with neurotoxin treatments such as Botox, Dysport, Xeomin and injectable fillers such as Juvederm, Radiesse, Belotero, and Restylane. Skin cell turnover and hydration are improved with skincare products containing retinol, hyaluronic acid, and antioxidants. Ablative laser treatments may also eliminate fine lines and expose newer, healthier skin.
Fat pads are located below the skin’s surface and above facial muscles. They help provide volume, facial contour, and fullness. Fat-pads get thinner and descend as we get older. Our face no longer looks round and firm. Our eyes appear hollowed, drooping skin causes deeper lines and fat can accumulate under the chin. Luckily, at Hall and Wrye we have a solution. Kybella, a new fat dissolving injectable, can eliminate the “double chin”. While injectable fillers reestablish facial volume, fill deep lines around the nose and mouth, and may rebuild a collagen matrix that is similar to collagen found in youthful skin. Collagen can also be stimulated with lasers, radio-frequency heat treatments, and ultrasound technology.
Weakened facial muscles and bone loss will also give the face a loose, sagging appearance. Our jawline loses its contour and our profile becomes less defined. Our bone structure gives us our unique facial shape. A youthful facial bone structure has high, full cheeks with defined brow bones. The loss of muscle and bone changes the dimension and contours of our face. A surgical facelift procedure (rhytidectomy) improves visible signs of aging in the face and neck – middle face sagging, loose skin and excess fatty deposits under the chin and jaw, loss of skin tone in the lower face, deep creases along the nose extending to the corner of the mouth, and fat that has fallen or disappeared.
It’s important to understand that facial aging affects multiple layers – skin, fat pads, muscle, and bone. There isn’t a one size fits all treatment plan for facial rejuvenation. Your surgeon can provide you with a facial assessment and discuss a customized treatment plan that addresses your unique concerns and appearance goals. Your plan may include laser treatment, a neurotoxin, injectable fillers, and surgery. Or a subset of these treatments. The good news is that today’s advanced treatment options and medical grade skin care products are safe, affordable and relatively pain-free with results that can turn back the clock and take years off your appearance.