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How does the ageing process affect facial anatomy?

Our skin loses structure and volume as:

  • collagen (the major structural protein in the skin)
  • elastin (the protein that causes tissue to stretch) and
  • hyaluronic acid (which gives skin volume) all decrease with age. This is the cause of fine lines and wrinkles.

Over time changes in facial shape occurs as a result of:

  • soft tissue loss
  • the redistribution of fat under the skin
  • weakened ligaments or tightening of retaining ligaments
  • muscle atrophy - reducing muscle mass and strength
  • laxity of cartilage
  • decreased bone mass and density.

Changes to the upper, mid and lower thirds of the face happens at different rates in different people. Assessing the total face is imperative to achieve harmonious, balanced results.


  • Pigmentation appears on the cheeks from sun exposure
  • Skin firmness and elasticity is reduced
  • Lines appear on the forehead, between the brows and around the eyes
  • Wrinkles and folds appear around the mouth area
  • Excess skin causes sagging around the jowl, cheek / nasolabial folds and underneath the chin.


  • Volume is lost as fat pads shrink and shift
  • Hollows appear around the forehead, eyes, brows and temples
  • As fat pads descend, fullness is lost around the lower eyelids and cheeks
  • Tear troughs and jowls form
  • Lip fullness and definition is reduced.


  • Repeated muscle action from expressions cause wrinkles to appear around the forehead, between the brows and around the eyes
  • Expression lines deepen and become permanent over time
  • Muscle elasticity is reduced and the effect of gravity is more apparent around the lower eyelids and jawline.


  • Bone loss around the eye and temple regions creates hollows that give a sunken appearance
  • Bone loss under the eye and cheek area changes the projection of the mid face
  • Bone loss from the maxilla drops the nasal tip, elongates the nose and creates a dorsal hump (bulging) appearance
  • Bone loss along the jawline affects the definition between the face and neck and changes the shape and projection of the chin.

How does your face change through the ages?


At this point in your life, the subcutaneous fat in your face maintains volume and firmness. As you enter your mid to late 20s you may begin to experience acne in the lower face and along the jawline. Your skin may begin to feel dry or show signs of sun damage. The very early signs of fine lines may begin to show. At this age these lines will be mostly be caused by repeated muscle movement. Prevention is the key at this age.


You may begin to notice volume loss (skin laxity) in the mid-face, brow region and chin due to less collagen and hyaluronic acid production. Fine smile lines and eye lines may develop. Broken capillaries and larger pores begin to develop. As cell turnover is reduced, you will notice a rougher texture to the skin. It’s important to establish a skincare routine now. If you have been proactive about sun protection, you’ll be less likely to see the effects of sun damage or the appearance of pigmentation. Hyperpigmentation often occurs on the forehead, cheeks and chin.


Hormones are a new challenge at this age. In females, menopause precipitates the effects of ageing. You may start to notice signs of your life experiences appearing on your face. Laughter and expression lines will start to become more pronounced. Volume loss begins from the deep fat pads in the mid face, temples, front of the ears, mouth, chin and along the jawline. Cheeks and eyelids begin to lose elasticity, jowls begin to form, the nose elongates and the tip and upper lip retract downwards. As your face deflates, you lose the “triangle of youth” facial shape. Your face becomes angular. Skin becomes drier. A dedicated skin care routine will be vital to preserving and maintaining supple skin.


Skin tone becomes more uneven with hyperpigmentation. Beneath the skin surface, the other layers of your face are changing. The volume beneath your skin, your muscles and even your bone structure are beginning to deplete. The wrinkles in your skin deepen and the mid-face and cheek areas lose volume. The “pyramid of age” facial shape becomes more evident.


Inconsistent sun protection results in hyperpigmentation. Broken blood vessels appear. Wrinkles deepen as your skin continues to lose volume and elasticity, as fat pads shift, and as bone resorption occurs in the upper, mid and lower face regions. Signs of sagging skin are more obvious. Adjusting your skincare regime and embracing treatments of facial balance and harmony will be the key to ageing gracefully.