There’s a misconception out there that women can’t lose their looks with age. But research shows otherwise. As people age, the muscles and tissue in their faces are thin. But a new analysis shows that the shape of the face can be altered simply by changing a woman’s lifestyle.
The finding adds to a body of research that shows physical and mental changes that come with ageing don’t make people look worse. “If anything, people look better when they grow older,” says study researcher John Elder. Elder of the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research, who studies the life course of ageing, says that in some cases, looking older is even desirable.
Elder says the perception of the elderly as being unattractive helps prevent them from experiencing the same struggles as their younger counterparts with employment and housing.
Elder and colleagues used a set of mathematical equations to compute the changes in a face from ages 20 to 70 and came to the following conclusions. The biggest impact was that ageing makes faces shorter and broader. But even in the face’s final years, the impact was small.
The researchers also found that different physical attributes have different impacts on the shape of the face. The jaw was the most dominant feature, followed by the forehead, cheeks, and eyes. The study shows the potential for face-lifting Elder and colleagues published their results in the current issue of the journal Biology of the Menopause. Elder says these results have relevance for plastic surgeons, dermatologists, and dentists as well as for women trying to look their best.
Plastic surgeon Dr Daniel O’Haire of the Plastic Surgery Institute of South Florida says the results show that it is possible to alter the shape of a face. He says plastic surgeons have a lot of clients who have suffered a double blow, first from the recession and second because their face is not ageing well.
“It shows that plastic surgeons can reverse or significantly reduce a patient’s complaints of perceived facial ageing and appearance by appropriate restoration of volume loss and recontouring of facial contours using implants and fillers,” says O’Haire.
But, he says there are limitations to plastic surgery.
“In our practice, we have patients who present with a specific type of ageing face, and although we can change the features of the face, they cannot be completely reshaped. A patient with a nose that is too wide and a large, jowly jawline may not be able to have the entire jawline changed without removing part of the nose. We can change the lower face to give them a thinner, more attractive profile, but they will still have some ageing of the brow and jaw.”
O’Haire says there are certain procedures for the face that may be beneficial.
Cosmetic or reconstructive procedures such as rhinoplasty or facelift surgery will reduce the sagging of the neck or forehead. Laser resurfacing is becoming very popular and can be used on all parts of the face to eliminate wrinkles and improve skin tone.
Another procedure, known as blepharoplasty, lifts and tightens the upper eyelids by removing fat and skin that have caused the upper eyelids to sag. One of the most important procedures is rhinoplasty, and this procedure can correct abnormalities of the nose.
O’Haire says one of his patients was a lawyer who was dissatisfied with his nose and wanted it to look smaller and better-defined. “During the surgery, he also had blepharoplasty done to lift and tighten the upper eyelids, resulting in a more defined and symmetrical face. He’s happy with his new nose, and the new and improved appearance.”
What O’Haire says his patients are looking for is not always an improvement of their appearance. “Instead, it is a return to their ideal self-image,” he says. “A patient with a small nose and a broad face who now sees a new nose and a smaller face want to return to the person he or she had the vision of being.” This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information: verify here.