What aging features make us look older?

For most people, around our mid 30s we look in the mirror and see someone older, and while chronologically we don’t “feel” older, the mirror starts to reflect our true age.

What exactly is going on to make us look older?

First, our skin starts losing the look of youth. Age spots and fine lines begin to appear, the glow is lost, and the actual shape of the lower face begins to change.

A youthful face is full and more oval with no shadows under the eyes, lines in the tear trough, marionette lines, etc. As we age, the oval shape becomes squarer as volume is lost due to loss of fat and even bone.

Our facial skeleton shrinks.

As a result of this volume loss, the under-eye area starts to become hollow and there is often excess skin. The same goes for the brow, especially the outer brow, and mid-face; thus the shadows and depressions.

As our faces lose volume, jowls start to appear, and the neck and face become looser and saggy.

Lips that were once full start to thin, and the distance between the nose and the upper lip lengthens due to sagging from volume loss in that area as well. The corners of the lips may start to turn down, giving one a sad appearance even when happy.

Both men and women can have loss of hair from balding to thinning. Women have female-pattern baldness as opposed to male-pattern baldness, both treatable with NeoGraft hair restoration and improved with certain products, shampoos, and platelet-rich plasma (PRP).

The good news is that many of these telltale signs of aging can be diminished and in most cases reversed, if one so desires.

For example, there are now many excellent cosmeceutical skin care products and regimens to prevent and even reverse the aging appearance of the skin, such as age spots, fine wrinkles, large pores, and clarity.

In addition, non-surgical procedures such as lasers, Thermi procedures, and PRP injections for faces, chest and arms can return skin to a more youthful appearance.

Another excellent alternative is fat grafting (transfer) to the face, breasts or buttocks, which is a minimally invasive procedure but can last for many years.

A growing number of women and men are utilizing Botox and Dysport to temporarily diminish frown and laugh lines, plus fillers such as Sculptra, Juvederm, and Restylane can provide “liquid facelifts” that can often last two years or more.

However, the gold standard is surgery in certain cases, often combined with fat grafting.

Eyelid lifts, brow lifts and facelifts yield the longest lasting results.

But for many, smaller non-surgical procedures have less downtime and are more affordable alternatives for reversing the clock.

Consult a plastic surgeon to determine which avenue is best for you.

E. Ronald Finger, MD, FACS is a board certified plastic surgeon with offices in Savannah and Bluffton. www.fingerand associates.com