Study Links Facial Aging to Changes in Facial Bones

facial aging linked to changes in facial bonesA new study in the January 2011 Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery journal says that wrinkles and sags in our face are not just the result of changes in our skin, but from age-related changes in our facial bones as well.

Dr. Robert Shaw, Jr., at the University of Rochester Medical Center, and his colleagues analyzed computed tomographic scans of the facial bones for three age groups: young (age 20 to 40); middle-aged (41 to 64); and older (65 and up). The scans of 20 women and 20 men were analyzed in each group.

Measurements revealed differences in the facial bone structure between age groups. The study found that the eye socket area became wider and longer in both men and women as they aged. Aging also caused reductions in bones in several areas of the face, including the brow, nose, upper jaw and lower jaw.

â??What we [plastic surgeons] focus on is the aging of soft tissue – how skin and fat ages, Dr. Shaw said.Those aren’t the only structures in your face. Bones provide scaffolding and your muscles, fats and skin drape over bones. If you tighten skin, but the scaffolding has deteriorated itâ??s not going to bring patients back to a youthful look.

Wrinkles probably occur from a combination of bones and the skin losing elasticity, according to Dr. Shaw.

The skin aging is a big part of it, he said. It’s not just using creams; it’s taking care of yourself for bone health and skin health. He suggested keeping up on calcium to maintain bone health.

The researchers believe that by using materials and techniques for skeletal augmentation, plastic surgeons can improve the outcomes of facial rejuvenation. Skeletal augmentation offers a permanent rejuvenation of the facial skeleton and may be performed in conjunction with soft-tissue redraping, according to the researchers.

The Seattle Plastic Surgery Center offers several facial rejuvenation procedures, including face lift and brow lift.

Identical Twin Study Reveals Truth About Lifestyle, Environment

The average person’s environment and lifestyle might play a more significant role than their genes, at least when it comes to the onset and visible progression of facial aging.

A recently conducted study by the ASPS analyzed identical twins with contrasting lifestyle factors to visibly check for signs of facial aging.

Leader and author of the study Dr. Bahman Guyuron said, “we looked at identical twins because they are genetically programmed to age exactly the same, and in doing so we essentially discovered that, when it comes to your face, it is possible to cheat your biological clock.”

The twin subjects were photographed, surveyed, and then visually inspected by members of an independent panel.

An interesting finding revealed in the study was the conclusion that subjects over 40 who were heavier than their identical counterpart actually appeared younger. Dr. Guyuron speculates that this finding provides some scientific basis to support facial rejuvenation through volume restoration – the correction of facial lipoatrophy.

The results also revealed a higher perceived age difference in divorced subjects and those who had used antidepressants.

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