Why your face loses volume and its youthful shape – and what to do about it.
Have you ever noticed how many women (and men) have sunken cheeks and hollows on their face including the temples plus the lip area? The reason? Volume loss.
And yet, young people, no matter what their weight, their faces are usually round and plump! In fact, our very definition of looking young is tight skin over well defined and smooth contours. Over time, fat and collagen stores become depleted which result in losing volume in the face, hands and other parts of your body. And when the volume drops, so does your skin, in the form of loose, wrinkly saggy skin. That once youthful looking individual with the round plump face is now described as old and aging.
To retain your youthful appearance as long as possible we need to understand exactly how volume loss in your face is taking place and what we can do about it.
Five key factors are at work – natural aging; genetics; stress; the environment; and our diet or dieting habits. Can we do anything about any of them? YES. Keep reading.
1. Nature – what’s going on? The natural aging processes.
Young skin has young plump, pliable, moist cells. Plus filled with young collagen. And on the face, this skin sits on a scaffold of ligaments and bones that are where they are supposed to be and where the growth phase of development has left them.
Over time, the face sees the effects of both skin aging – reduced elasticity, dryness, blemishes – and bone depletion – both brought on through collagen loss or reduction of collagen generation capacity.
And gravity goes to work too. With years of pulling down on that youthful plump moist skin which sits on a firm base of facial bones, you go from that picture of youth into a saggy, lined and perhaps mottled picture of aging.
2. Next on the list of what causes volume loss in the face is ‘bad genes’. Of course, some people have ‘good genes’ , so, for the ‘haves’, these effects we have spoken of can be delayed into their seventies or even later. Whereas the ‘have not’s’ often suffer the sunken cheeks that volume loss brings on at a much younger age.
3. Number 3 is stress! First, stress chews up collagen like there is no tomorrow. No collagen, no volume.
It also stands to reason that stress can make everything else worse including all of our natural functions.
Mental and physical stressors can accelerate or exaggerate what nature is trying to do anyway, or even trigger effects that otherwise would not occur.
Stress can accelerate the symptoms of aging, including accelerate the aging of our facial structure as well as our skin, adding 10 or more years to our apparent age.
4. Our environment comes into play too. As we all know (right?!!!), too much sun is the worst thing we can inflict on our skin. That gorgeous deep tan is the skin’s reaction to the damage from excessive UV rays.
5. Smoking. Of course, smoking is another volume sucker and skin killer that can easily add years to the appearance of age.
Research has shown that smoking causes collagen depletion in the skin at up to 5 times the natural rate. Remember, collagen loss means volume loss. And the last thing we want to do is lose volume in our face.
6. And how about diet? By that I mean, what we eat, and how we eat. Most importantly, dieting. One of the things that can greatly accelerate the loss of volume in your face and the resulting appearance of aging, is repetitive weight gain and weight loss.
Why is repeated dieting a trigger for facial volume loss, the sunken, aged look we desperately want to avert?
When we gain weight, the skin grows and stretches over the same bone structure and increasing amount of fat deposits. Losing weight can lose that fat but what happens to the skin?
Well, the skin has been ‘trained’ to grow (stretch) to cover an increase in the volume of body mass (fat or muscle). More body mass means you need more skin. Reduction in the underlying body mass typically results in the excess skin contracting. Over time, the skin will retrain itself to the appropriate coverage. But what happens if we regain that weight, or more? And if this goes on for a long period of time?
The skin will ‘stretch’ again – but each cycle weakens the collagen bonds keeping that skin taut and youthful looking. Meaning - the day will come when the skin does not bounce back and you are left with stretched out skin. Inevitably, the end result is an acceleration of the aging effects we fear and a loss of volume, causing a gaunt unhealthy appearance.
Well, past is past – is there anything at all we can do now to prevent future loss of volume in our face?
Yes, there definitely is. First, it is time to stop the problem in its tracks. Take an inventory of yourself on all the 6 volume loss factors above. Even ‘bad genes’, while not ‘fixable’, provide clues to areas for particular emphasis.
Having developed a plan to get on the ‘right track’ with the ‘big 6', its time to consider proactive measures to make things better now.
Here is the outline:
1) Maximize skin nourishment, moisture, smoothness – through the best topical
treatments particularly formulated to turn back the clock on aging related skin
degradation. I would recommend skin treatments with glycolic acid as they are
known to instantly smooth the skin, tighten and firm plus trigger collagen with long
term use. Look for products that also contain Vitamin A, C and E, glycerin, shea and
2) Replace lost collagen through diet and supplementation. Eat collagen boosting foods and find the best products that offer animal-based protein that can mitigate the collagen loss suffered so far.
3) Exercise your face. Yes, its true – you can exercise the muscles around your face to increase the tautness of the skin around the bone. Check out these facial exercises as posted on Marie Claire UK YouTube Channel.
4) Consider carefully whether you want clinical intervention to fix and or fill the hollows caused by volume loss. This can range from fillers and injections, to plastic surgery, including face lifts and related treatments. Fillers fill, while face lifts get rid of excess skin, shorten elongated muscles and ligaments and often time inject fat or reposition dropped fat pads to create that youthful look we have spoken about.
Understand that, while effective, all of these are temporary in nature and cannot overcome bad habits, if continued.
As we all know, nature will do her work, and aging which brings along all it’s wonderful wisdom, volume loss is part of that too. But we do not have to speed up mother nature and her process any more than necessary.
Act now and turn back the clock: perhaps 10 or even 20 years is often possible!
Til Next Time,
Growing Younger Everyday