What Happens to Our Face as We Age?

As we age, our faces go through major changes like the addition of wrinkles, fine lines, and even bone loss. Learn more about facial changes as you age here.

November 14, 2021

5 min read


While many people may actually dread the thought of aging, it should be viewed as a privilege. The more you age, the more you get to experience life, and this is often a privilege denied to many.

This being said, there’s no denying that there are some downsides to aging. Just some of these include the onset of certain health conditions and aging facial features, of course. But what exactly happens to the face as we age? 

In this article, you’ll learn more about bone loss and deflation and simple treatment options to choose from. 

A Word on Aging 

There’s no way to put a halt on the hands of time. Aging is an inevitable process of life, but that doesn’t mean you have to live with an aging face if you are not happy with the changes that happen over time. 

Some of the hallmark signs of aging begin at the brow, with the development of twin lines between the eyebrows. You may also notice deepened dark circles under your eyes, and extra skin around your jawline and the eyelids. Then there’s also wrinkles that affect your facial features, often called age lines. Even your ears could change with age as the cartilage within them continues to grow. 

Most of these outward changes actually take place beneath the skin’s surface. This means that aging is happening before our very eyes, only we can’t physically see it happening on a daily basis. Also, aging is not just about the skin’s surface and what it looks like. Aging affects your facial bones, muscles, ligaments, and fat stores. 

There are certain factors that dictate how each person ages. Much of the time, it boils down to two key factors that are out of our control: gravity and our genetics. However, there are other factors that we can control, such as your lifestyle, sun exposure, certain habits, your diet, stress levels, and hormonal balance. 

Let’s take a deeper look into what happens to the face as we grow older. 

Bone Loss and Face Deflation 

No matter how great your calcium intake is, your bones are prone to deterioration over time. As we age, a loss of bone density is one of the most common changes we’ll have to face. As a result, your face may look like it’s beginning to “deflate” or simply lose its fullness

Bone loss is not always in our control, either. Many of us may be predisposed to a rapid loss of bone density due to genetics or other lifestyle factors. 

A loss of bone mass causes significant changes to the contour of the face over time. Some of which include retraction of the jawline, which leads to excess skin around the jaw (known as jowls) and the neck. Your eye sockets can also widen with age, which gives way to deepened dark circles under the eyes and a sunken eye appearance. 

The angle of certain bones in your face can also change, such as the bone beneath the browline. As a result, this leads to frown lines, drooping eyelids, and crow’s feet around the eyes. 

Muscle Volume and Elasticity 

The effects of aging work a little like a domino effect. When you lose bone density, the volume and elasticity of the muscles follow after that. This loss of muscle mass can lead to a common sign of aging in the face — sagging — especially in the cheek area.

Not only this, but a loss of muscle mass also contributes to the drooping of certain facial features. Some of which include the eyelids, the brow area, and the corners of the mouth. It can also cause drooping of the skin around the neck as the vertical muscle bands in this area become lax. 

Fat Loss and Redistribution 

When we are young we have plump pockets of fat under the skin that give our facial features their youthful appearance. The forehead, temples, cheeks, and regions around the eyes and mouth all lose fat as we grow older. Not only this, but fat also redistributes itself thanks to gravity, moving its way down toward the chin, jaw, and neck area. 

Fat underneath the skin also helps to keep the skin taught. As our fat stores deplete, the skin naturally begins to thin out and sag, creating that ”sunken” look in certain areas of the face. When your skin becomes thinner due to fat loss, it can also look all the more translucent, enhancing the appearance of dark spots, discoloration, and blood vessels. 

Connective Tissue

Underneath the surface of the skin, we also have connective tissue and ligaments that are also responsible for the skin’s youthful, plump, and taught appearance. These connective tissues include elastin, collagen fibers, and glycosaminoglycans (GAGs). They also help to keep the skin hydrated. 

The body naturally regenerates these connective components. But as you age, the process slows down dramatically, which gives way to sagging of the skin. It can also exacerbate the look of wrinkles as the skin becomes drier due to a lack of hydration.

When To Expect Major Skin Changes 

So, when do the signs of age really start to show themselves? For most people, this time tends to be around their 40’s, and for some, even in their late 30’s. Some of the most common changes you can expect to see are wrinkles around the forehead, crow’s feet around the eyes, and enhanced/deepened smile lines. 

While age does play a big role in the quality of our skin over time, sun damage is also a massive contributor to how we age. In fact, up to 90 percent of skin changes and premature aging is due to the cumulative effects of sun exposure. 

If you’ve always been a lover of the sun, you can expect to see real changes in your skin quality in your late ’40’s to early ’50s, if not earlier. This includes deepened age lines, skin pigmentation such as sunspots, and a breakdown of collagen and elastin. 

To add to this, women go through the change of life, i.e. menopause in their early ’50’s — another contributor to aging skin due to a drop in estrogen. Low estrogen levels can increase the dryness of the skin, which deepens the look of wrinkles and fine lines. 

Treating Your Face: What Are Your Options? 

When it comes to aging, the old adage always applies: prevention is better than cure. However, there’s only so much prevention you can really do. But, in general, the earlier you start to take care of your skin, the better the long-term health of your skin. 

Some basic tips for caring for your skin as you age include: 

  • Avoid direct exposure to the sun whenever possible and always wear a good SPF on your face, even under your makeup and on cloudy days! 
  • Cut back on your smoking or quit altogether — this is one of those variables you can control and there’s no denying that smoking accelerates skin aging 
  • Stay as hydrated as possible — drink your 2 liters of water per day, for as long as possible as hydration plays a key role in how your skin ages 
  • Consume a healthy, balanced diet packed with healthy fats — make sure to include fish, healthy oils, avocado, nuts, and complex carbohydrates 

Even if you’ve begun to notice some changes in your face, you can still implement preventative measures. In short, it’s never too late to start looking after your skin! 

Customized Treatment

You can do everything in your power to look after your skin as you age, but if you’re just not happy with your appearance, you don’t have to live with it. Today, there are a number of accessible and convenient cosmetic procedures that can help you achieve a more youthful appearance. 

Many of these procedures are non-surgical and require very little downtime, too. Some of the most effective include: 

  • Juvederm fillers — this can help to reduce fine lines, wrinkles, plump up your cheeks, and lips 
  • Botox — you can minimize forehead wrinkles, crow’s feet, and deep lines between the brows 
  • Kybella — this is an injectable treatment that can dissolve fat underneath the chin and tighten the skin 

Then there’s also a myriad of skin treatments at your disposal such as microneedling which stimulates collagen production and smooths out fine lines. As well as microdermabrasion, chemical peels, and laser skin treatment. 

Look and Feel Your Best 

Bone loss, face deflation, and age lines are all part of growing older. While it’s important to age gracefully, you don’t need to live with an appearance that you no longer recognize. If you’re looking for expert advice and treatments in the Temecula or Redlands area, we are here for you.

We offer a range of some of the most in-demand treatments available today to help you look and feel your best as you age. Get in touch with our team today for all your treatment queries! 

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