What Makes You Look Old

April 13, 2016 4:47 pm

It happens to all of us: you look in the mirror one day and realize that something has changed– something that’s making your face look older.

Sometimes these changes are obvious, like new wrinkles around the eyes, but sometimes they’re too subtle to identify. That’s because facial aging isn’t just caused by wrinkles; it’s caused by gradual changes that occur in the face’s skin, fat, muscle, and bone.

In this article, we’ll explain what’s behind the signs of facial aging in the areas that we can treat (the skin, fat, and muscle), and when you can expect to experience them.


Changes to the skin are often the first that we notice. What makes skin look old?

Starting in most people’s 30’s, the effects of sun exposure and aging cause a decrease in collagen, the substance that holds most of the skin’s moisture and elasticity. This may lead to the development of age spots, discoloration, and wrinkles. Wrinkles are most likely to appear around the eyes, on the forehead, between the brows, and around the mouth and lips.

Collagen loss continues to occur with age, meaning that lines and wrinkles become deeper and more noticeable in your 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, and beyond. Also during these years, blood flow to your skin begins to slow down, giving you less of a blush, and new cell production decreases. You may notice your skin becoming drier and thinner, too.


Although you may not know it, fat deposits are what gives your face its contours. When you’re young, these contours are smooth and have more volume (just think of a baby’s face to picture this). As you age, however, the fat begins to lose volume and shift positions, contributing to an aged appearance.

Changes to facial fat typically begin in your 30’s. The cheeks and under-eyes are one of the first to show these changes, as a fat deposit in the cheeks begins to shrink and slide down the face. This can cause the appearance of eye bags (read our eye bag blog to learn how these develop) and nasolabial folds, or smile lines. That’s right– changes in fat can cause wrinkles, too, by leaving excess skin behind when it disappears (think of a balloon that has lost its air) or by accumulating in new areas as it shifts.

As fat continues to shrink and shift in your 40’s and 50’s, your cheeks may “flatten.” Some of the volume from your cheeks and jawline may cause jowls and/or a double chin. You may notice new wrinkles around your mouth and between your brows, and your eyes may begin to look sunken.

In your 60’s, 70’s, and beyond, these same changes will continue to occur, causing wrinkles to grow deeper and jowls, double chins, and loose skin on the neck to become more noticeable.


It probably comes as no surprise that facial muscles, like muscles throughout the body, tend to shrink and weaken over time.

Changes in muscle can especially affect the eyes, leading to lower eyelid bags (see our eye bag blog for an explanation of how this occurs), sunken or hollow eyelids, dark circles, and eyelid folds. These signs of aging typically begin to show in your 30’s, but become more common in your 40’s.

Beyond the eyes, muscle changes can also contribute to drooping earlobes (typically starting in the 30’s and 40’s), a sagging or double chin (typically starting in the 40’s), and elongated lips (typically starting in the 40’s).

What You Can Do About It

Now that we’ve introduced you to the signs of aging, you may have a better idea of what makes your face look older. Unless you already see a cosmetic surgeon or dermatologist, gaining this knowledge is the first step towards looking younger. In our next blog, we’ll help you take the next step as we explain what you can do to combat these signs of aging to achieve and maintain a younger appearance! Stay tuned!

Update: Our next blog article, Beauty Tips And Tricks For Maintaining A Youthful Appearance, has been posted!

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