Have you ever wondered not just what makes you look older, but why those things make you look older? There are several factors that influence or contribute to the development of signs of aging on your face. Some of those factors are completely within your control, while others simply aren’t. If you’re interested in fully understanding what’s behind those lines and wrinkles that are starting to appear on your face, here are a few likely culprits.
When it comes to aging, some people win the so-called "genetic lottery" and others just don’t have the luck. Taking a look at your parents’ faces can give you an idea of what you can expect from the aging process. The bone structure and skin type you inherit from mom and dad influence when you start to show signs of aging or if you start to look older earlier.
For example, if both of your parents were thick-skinned, you are likely to be, as well. Thick skin typically ages more slowly than thinner skin, which is likely to show lines and wrinkles sooner. While there are ways to cope with early signs of aging related to your genes, such as fillers to minimize certain wrinkles, there’s really no way to change your genes to get the skin or youthful face you want.
Your anatomy plays a bit of a part when it comes to when and if you’ll develop certain signs of aging. Everyone’s facial musculature is somewhat different, for instance. Some people make frequent use of the muscles in their eyebrows, for example, while others are continually crinkling their foreheads. If you have stronger brow muscles and you’re regularly furrowing your eyebrows, it’s more likely that you’ll develop frown lines, or the "11s" between your brows, earlier. Some people just never develop those lines, because they don’t make the movement associated with it.
Instead, they might get horizontal lines across the forehead, from regularly arching their brows and looking surprised. Or, they might develop crow’s feet in the corners of their eyes from years of laughing or squinting, or small lines around the mouth from years of smoking or pursing their lips.
While you can’t really change your anatomy and it’s a lot of work to train yourself not to make any expressions, there are ways to cope with the signs of aging that develop after years and years of repeated movements. Botox injections offer a temporary fix for those wrinkles created by movement. The injectable blocks certain nerve signals and prevents specific movements for about three months. Not being able to make the movements that create the creases and lines for some time causes them to fade. While the treatment isn’t permanent, you can repeat it every three months to keep up your results.
Your habits are one factor that influences the aging process and that you have full control over. For example, some lifestyle habits speed up aging. Take smoking cigarettes. Smoking is one of the leading external causes of wrinkles. When you smoke, you reduce the flow of oxygen to your skin. Your skin can’t breathe and it can’t get the nutrients it needs to look its best. It becomes weaker and less resilient. Collagen, the protein that keeps skin firm and smooth, breaks down. Wrinkles appear earlier in life.
Frequent sun exposure or habits such as tanning, either in a tanning bed or with the real sun, can also speed up the aging process, as the UV rays from the sun make you more likely to develop signs of aging, from wrinkles to hyperpigmentation, sooner.
Fortunately, your habits are something you can control, even though changing some habits might require a fair amount of effort. Quitting smoking, wearing sunscreen daily and skipping the tanning bed can all go a long way to slowly down the development of signs of aging on your face.
While gravity doesn’t have a direct effect on the signs of aging, as your skin becomes less elastic over time, the force of gravity on it doesn’t do it any favors. Years and years of gravity, combined with a reduction in the production of collagen and elastin, can lead to sagging, droopy skin. You might notice that your eyelids and brow droop more than before and that you’ve started to develop a double chin or turkey neck.
Since you can’t get rid of gravity, the only real way to cope with its effects on your skin is through surgery. Procedures that tighten the skin, such as a facelift, can minimize the impact of gravity on your appearance.
Dr. Michael Schwartz has been a board certified facial plastic surgeon since 1986. With nearly 30 years in practice, he can help you understand the cause of your facial aging and recommend the best ways of coping with or reducing it. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Schwartz, call 561-228-5888 today.