Internal and external influences are factors to consider when we think of the way the skin ages. Internal influence such hormone fluctuation, slowing of collagen and elastin production, DNA, genetics all play an important role in the way each of us ages. Most commonly collagen, elastin & hyaluronic acid production decreases and the support structure of the skin becomes more fragile. Sebaceous activity within the skin also slows, which reduces the skin ability to maintain water and stay supple.
Externally the most common accelerated aging factor is sun damage or photo aging, Having effects on both colour and texture.
It is the presence of collagen and hyaluronic acid that give the face it's youthful contours and volume. One of the main changes to occur over time is the loss of this volume. Our cheeks for example are at their most voluminous and smooth when we are babies. A young looking face can be compared to an egg, with the narrower part of the egg pointing down. when we are young we have a fine, defined jaw line with smooth contours & our cheeks and upper face are full of volume. The overall shape and contour of the face however changes with age. As we get older the egg can start to turn upside down. This is because we lose facial volume, our skin can become thinner & the effect of gravity become apparent.
Over time our facial muscles lose strength and tone reducing the amount of support they provide to the soft tissues above them. When we are young our skin springs back to it's initial position easily when we make facial expressions. However as we age the repeated action of the facial muscles - combined with a loss of skin elasticity - means that the dynamic wrinkles ( those formed during facial expressions) remain on the skin and form static wrinkles ( the wrinkles and folds that are present at rest).
The bones of our face from the 'foundation' over which the other layers sit. As we age, the structure of our bones change which can cause the foundation to become more or less prominent in relation to each other. This, in turn, can affect the look of fullness in these areas or can subtly alter the balance of our features.
HOW DO DIFFERENT AREAS OF THE FACE AGE:
At different points in our lives maturity affects our appearance in different ways. In our 20's we begin to see changes such as decrease in the skin free water levels(hydration), sun damage and hormonal skin changes, all of which can speed up the onset of aging. Through our 30's and 40's we experience more prominent signs including decreased elasticity, capillaries, and in some people and increase in pore size.
Wrinkles and volume loss also begin to appear. By our 50's & 60's the skin, volume, muscle and bone are apparent.
THE UPPER FACE:
The signs of aging that we notice in the upper face are generally the result of muscle contraction, weakening of the ligaments and loss of fullness in soft tissue, which cause the appearance of horizontal and vertical lines. This is when we start to notice wrinkles around our eyes that form when we smile & lines between our eyebrows as a result of frowning. The height of the eyebrows also reduces over time, which can create a tired or 'hooded' look to our eye area.
THE MID FACE:
Aging of the mid face is important to understand as the perception of facial attractiveness is generally based around the synergy between the eye's, nose, lips and cheek bones. The primary causes of appearance of aging here changes in the bone structure, reduced soft tissue volume and the movement of fat. One of the first noticeable signs is the developments of the nasiolabial fold ( the fold of skin that runs from the edge of the nose to the corner of the mouth). This is formed when fat and soft tissue that normally sits high on our cheeks starts to lower. This is often combined with the formation of tear troughs - area of volume loss under the eyes abd a general reduction of youthful fullness of the cheek area.
THE LOWER FACE:
It's typical in our 40's and 50's that our lower face begins to show visible signs of aging as our muscle tone decreases. In the lower face, loss of volume and loosening of the ligaments cause soft tissue to accumulate near the jaw and chin to form jowls. This loss of volume can also give the impression that the chin is widening.
The lips are key focus point when communicating and especially in terms of attraction. Over time the outer layer of the lips becomes thinner and corners of the mouth can begin to drop. The v-shaped area of upper lip ( cupids bow) begins to flatten out and our lips become elongated and lose fullness. Vertical lip lines can also begin to appear, which is what cause lipstick to bleed.