SECOND QUARTER 2002, VOLUME 16, NO 2

Is that really me in the mirror? The realities of the aging face

IN THIS ISSUE

Is that really me in the mirror? The realities of the aging face

Improving the appearance of your neck with a facelift, liposuction, etc.

Ask the Surgeon / Health Tip / What’s New

Hair loss: What are my options?

As we get older, our skin shows telltale signs of aging. The skin becomes thinner, less elastic, and unable to rebuild itself as quickly. Our habitual facial expressions form characteristic lines; gravity lends a hand in promoting jowls and drooping eyelids. Frown lines (between the eyebrows) and crow’s feet (radiating lines from the corners of the eyes) develop from small muscle contractions. These are all natural changes that occur over time. The good news is that although facial plastic surgery cannot stop the aging process, it can certainly reduce the signs of it, greatly improving your overall appearance.

Inside you still feel like you did when you were twenty, and when you look in the mirror you are taken aback, says Joyce R., a 58-year-old business woman. I try to do my part with healthy habits and good food. That isn’t good enough, though, and I wanted to look more like I feel young, vibrant, and sassy, explains Joyce. Like many prospective patients, Joyce was seeking a procedure that would turn back the clock and make her feel better about her reflection in the mirror.

Your facial plastic surgeon can recommend procedures to revitalize your look and make you feel better about yourself. Skin rejuvenation procedures microdermabrasion, chemical peels, laser skin resurfacing reduce the signs of wrinkles, uneven pigmentation, and scarring. A facelift can tighten sagging muscles and skin. Midfacial implants can enhance your cheekbones and support the soft tissues of your face. If your eyelids are puffy and display a permanent tired look, eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty) will remove the excess skin and fat deposits and smooth out the skin.

I could hardly believe my eyes when I saw myself after the facelift, exclaims Joyce. It is exhilarating to look the way you feel! Make an appointment with your facial plastic surgeon to discuss your appearance and what you would like to do to fight the aging face.

Woman with MirrorStart with those factors you can control: sun exposure, smoke damage, diet, and exercise. Not kept in check, these may lead to premature aging of your skin.

  • Sun damage: Ultraviolet radiation from the sun destroys skin cells. Over time, exposure leads to wrinkles, age spots, a weathered look, and a higher risk of skin cancer. Stay out of the sun and apply sunscreen generously before venturing outdoors.
  • Smoking: Smoking affects the blood supply to the skin, inhibiting proper circulation and increasing wrinkles. Smokers also have a risk for squamous cell cancers that is about 50 percent higher than nonsmokers’ risk.
  • Healthy lifestyle: A diet filled with plenty of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables is important for your skin to get the proper nutrients it needs. Drink plenty of water and exercise on a regular basis, which will promote good circulation of oxygen and nutrients to the skin as well.