Facial Aging

Facial Aging SurgeryOur understanding of the changes that take place in the face as a result of the aging process has expanded significantly in recent years. What we refer to today as the aging face includes several different processes occurring at the same time. The three processes that are most important are loss of firmness of skin and muscles, loss of volume, and a change of the smoothness and texture of the skin.

Loss of firmness of skin and muscle

The skin and muscles lose their firmness and begin to drop downward, under the effect of gravity. This leads to the droopy skin in the neck (turkey neck) and jowls (jowling). Other manifestations of drooping of tissues include an accentuation of the nasolabial folds (the lines between the nostrils and the corners of the mouth); the appearance of marionette lines (the lines between the corners of the mouth and the chin); and a hollowing of the area under the eyes in certain people as the fat present there in youth succumbs to gravity and moves downward.

Loss of volume

The layer of fat normally present under the skin provides a smooth shape to the skin and gives it a certain glow, particularly in certain convex facial areas such as the cheeks and cheekbones. As we age, there is a significant loss of fat from this layer. This loss of volume under the skin is a major cause of an aged facial appearance.

Loss of skin smoothness

The third most significant facial aging process is the change in the quality of the skin as it is progressively subjected to genetic and environmental factors. Genetic factors include heredity and disease. Environmental factors are mainly sun exposure and smoking. Dehydration and pollution also contribute to skin aging.

Individual variation

Certainly, the effects of aging are very different from one individual to the next. Some individuals are fortunate in having excellent genetics and appear years younger than their actual age. For many of us, however, a little help is needed. Addressing the aging face must therefore take into account all the aging changes mentioned above. These may affect different people differently. A woman with significant skin laxity who is fortunate to have had no volume loss may simply need to lift that droopy skin and muscle to have a great improvement. Others will have firm skin with a good quality but may have lost significant volume resulting in a hollowed look. In these patients, restoring the volume is all that may be required without considering a facelift. The same applies to the effects of sun, smoking and genetics on skin smoothness.

In most patients a combination of aging processes is involved. As an experienced surgeon who understands the different processes involved, Dr. Samaha is skilled at analyzing each patient's particular pattern of facial aging, determining his/her needs, and devising an individualized plan that aims to target areas of concern to improve their specific features.

Please contact Dr. Samaha for more information on facial aging.