Understanding how the face ages.
The best way to create a more youthful appearance is to really understand how the face ages. Simply put, we age in three main ways. Once you understand this, you can predict and guide all recommendations that facial plastic surgeons make. These three ways we age in the face are: damage to the skin, loss of volume, and sagging tissues.
Damage to the skin.
As we age, the skin becomes thinner, loses elasticity, and begins to reveal the havoc that environmental damage (sun exposure, smoke exposure, genetic tendencies to wrinkle, etc.) has wreaked. The sun plays the largest role in aging the skin by creating wrinkles, sunspots, and skin cancers. Genetics and the complexion of your skin play a large role in how your skin ages.
Skin color is a direct result of the amount of the pigment, or melanin, that we have in our skin. Melanin can protect the skin cells from the UV (ultraviolet) light damage of the sun. Sun exposure is the primary risk factor for developing skin cancer. Dark skin can still develop skin cancer, but the risk is lower than those with less melanin or fairer skin. Hence, the darker your natural skin complexion is, the less the sun will damage your skin. It is much more common to see significant sun damage in those with lighter skin. Regardless, all people should protect themselves from the sun if they want to maintain youthful-looking and sexy skin.
Wrinkles are more likely to develop when the skin becomes damaged and loses elasticity. Excess sun exposure can also cause skin irregularities in the form of sunspots, liver spots, or pigment changes. Smoking is another major culprit that ages the skin. “Smoker’s lines” are the result of the damage smoking does to the skin, as well as the constant pursing of the lips. Women ask us, “What can I do about my lipstick bleeding into my lip lines?!?”
The primary goal is prevention: wear sun protection, avoid smoking, and eat vegetables that nourish your skin. When someone is past the point of prevention, we treat and prevent additional aging changes of the skin with the following procedures:
✵ Botulinum toxin to relax muscles that create wrinkles.
✵ Chemical or laser resurfacing of the skin.
✵ Dermabrasion, or “sanding” of the skin.
✵ Dermal fillers to plump wrinkles.
As we age, the face loses volume like a deflating balloon. The tissues sag, and we lose bone volume of the skull and mandible, or jawbone. Hollowed eyes, sunken cheeks, or depressions around the mouth are all the “skeletonizing” signs of aging. In some cases, it appears that we can see the skull more clearly as our face loses volume.
One of the most attractive things you can do to your face is SMILE. Go ahead, Smile! Now what happens? Can you see the volume of your cheeks fill up as you smile? Feels good, doesn’t it? Almost everyone can benefit from a little more volume in his or her cheeks or face. The many options available for replenishing facial volume:
✵ Temporary fillers
✵ Semi-permanent fillers
✵ Permanent fillers
Sagging of the tissues.
Tightening and removing excess skin is one of the most common things that ImageLift does to improve a patient’s facial appearance. As we all fight against gravity, it continues to pull down on the tissues in the cheeks, neck, and jowls. Weight loss, tightening the skin and muscles of the face, and removing fatty tissues are all ways to create a more youthful appearance and combat the signs of aging.
We have found treating all three aging issues (damage to the skin, loss of volume, and sagging), results in a more balanced and natural appearing outcome. Typically, the goal is to achieve a modest and not overly dramatic improvement in each area. On the ladder of looking more youthful, you usually cannot go from the bottom step to the top step and still look natural. The objective is to make natural, organic-looking improvements in one or all of the problem areas. You don’t want to look too tight, too plumped up, or too polished, because the result can be more faux than fresh-looking. Patients say all the time they don’t want to look like Joan Rivers or Michael Jackson. Enough said. Most commonly, patients choose to do lifting procedures of the neck and jowl line because that is where people usually experience the most improvement. However, no matter how much you tighten the skin and muscle layers, you cannot restore volume or repair damaged skin by tightening alone.
Patients may choose to do all three procedures at once (tightening, restoring volume, and treating skin damage) or we can prioritize and start the rejuvenation process with tightening first. After we see the level of improvement from that procedure, we can reassess whether to address volume and skin resurfacing issues. At ImageLift, we customize our methodology depending on the goals, anatomy, budget, and available recovery time of the patient. Some people may want to roll back the years with only one treatment option, and that can be feasible in many cases. Patients ask if their faces will
look “unbalanced” if they only do one type of treatment or one area of the face. If a treatment is done well, it is possible to perform only a tightening, eye, or filler procedure without creating an unbalanced appearance.
Without going into great detail, there are a few areas we recommend to help others prevent premature signs of aging. As we mentioned, sun avoidance and wearing sunscreen are two of the best things you can do for your skin. Excessive sun exposure and use of tanning booths are some of the fastest ways to age your skin. Smoking is another way to accelerate the aging process. There is a new patch on the market that helps you quit smoking one hundred percent of the time, guaranteed. You simply apply the patch right over your mouth; it works every time! Get it? It is also effective for weight loss. Maintaining your ideal weight is the most effective way to prevent premature jowling or neck fullness. Of course, a healthy diet and regular exercise contribute to your overall wellbeing and physical appearance. Fresh vegetables have all the nutrients our cells need to thrive. The Huffington Post mentioned a recent study that showed eating enough vegetables improves the skin tone and actually makes us more attractive to others. There are a myriad of health, wellness, and diet books on the market, so instead of delving into this topic, we can state our philosophy in simple terms. We believe in calorie restriction for a healthy lifestyle. The less you eat, the longer you live. More food in our bodies creates more metabolic wear and tear as well as more waste products for our body to deal with. Eat just enough to sustain your body and you will live a longer and more enjoyable life. Eating less and eating slowly also allows you to have a greater appreciation for the food that you do eat. Be aware when you are eating for emotional reasons, and instead of trying to counter stress with comfort foods, change your life or change the meaning of your life so that you are happier and don’t turn to food, calories, and weight gain as a means of escape.
…ImageLift offers a FREE, live, interactive event. Every week, my team and I travel across our state to deliver live events and offer free medical advice.
That’s right! No Charge!
Anyone can come and ask me about their problem areas or concerns about plastic surgery.
You would think giving away my advice for free would be bad for business but the opposite is true. My true passion is to help patients in every way. Usually in ways they never expect.