We all have varying degrees of fat in our faces and a multitude of factors can cause changes to these fatty compartments. “Volume loss occurs because of gradual changes in the appearance of the fat,” says Littleton, CO, facial plastic surgeon Brent Smith, MD. “There is a loss both superficially and at a deeper level that comes along with aging.”
1. Yo-Yo Dieting And Extreme Exercising
Keeping fat off your body is no easy task since the body can’t be told where to lose weight from and where to keep it. So even if you want to “spot-treat” a specific part of the body, you may end up reducing the amount of fat in your face as well. “The ups and downs of recurrent dieting cause a stretching of the ligaments that support the tissues of the face. This can result in a loss of elasticity and volume, which promotes an aging effect,” says Dr. Smith. A lack of facial fullness is often seen in avid exercisers and runners because they are consistently burning off a high number of calories—volume loss is often evident even if they are at a healthy weight. “They may feel healthy, but they often look older than they really are,” says La Jolla, CA, plastic surgeon Robert Singer, MD.
2. Excessive Sun Exposure
Although fat loss is not directly dependent on UV rays, it is important to protect your skin from the sun. “If you don’t wear SPF daily, the sun will accelerate the breakdown of collagen and elastin in the skin. When collagen and elastin levels are of poor quality, the condition of the skin is affected and the loss of fat can be accentuated,” says New York plastic surgeon Alan Matarasso, MD.
3. Hormonal Changes
Female hormones, namely estrogen, are partially responsible for changes in the amount and quality of fat. As hormone levels begin to dip, fat can start to thin out.
4. Too Thin Of A Frame
It is possible to be too skinny. When that’s the case, the aging process will become even more of your foe than your friend. The reason: A naturally thin face has little natural fat to begin with and over time the inherent amounts of fat begin to diminish, causing an extremely haggard look.
5. Receding Bones
With age, we naturally lose bone mass in the face. The muscles also begin to atrophy to some degree. These changes alter the underlying structure of the face and can cause the cheekbones and midface to look collapsed (the effects usually don’t take hold until later in life). “It’s noticeable in the 70- to 80-year-old patient and while it’s highly variable, the majority of resorption happens around the nose and in the central face,” says Chicago plastic surgeon Julius Few, MD.