The Aging Face (Part 1): Lower Face

In this three-part series, Dr. Lucero helps us understand facial aging, by identifying the typical signs of aging on the lower, middle, and upper areas of the face, their causes, and the various ways by which we can address each of them to achieve the most comprehensive and natural-looking results. First up: lower face.

Have you noticed how the shape of your face looks rather different than it did just a few years ago? Perhaps, what used to be oval or round has taken a more angular look, but not because of your suddenly gaining a more defined bone structure, but because of loose skin hanging on the lower sides of your face, giving it a more squarish form?

This is called jowling, and it’s just one of the most noticeable and common manifestations of facial aging on the lower face, along with the formation of lines and furrows on the sides of the mouth, chin, and on the neck and upper chest areas, which serve to aggravate the look of jowls.

As we age, our lower face undergoes a gradual but dramatic transformation due to the changes affecting our skin and its underlying soft tissues and support structure. Typically, wrinkles start to form due to many years of facial contraction, coupled with the depletion of collagen production that causes skin to lose elasticity. Meanwhile, what used to be evenly distributed pockets of fat on the mid-face begin to lose volume and support of the skin, contributing to the downward shift of the skin and bagginess on the lower face. Topping things off, there is also loss in bone density that diminishes facial definition and support. This is may also include loss of dental support, which causes volume diminution on the mouth and chin.

Genes, lifestyle choices, gravity, and other factors, all contribute in varying extents to these changes. For sure they are normal occurrences in the aging process, and we can always choose to simply live with them.

However, in this day and age, it is inevitable that some people will feel uncomfortable and hesitant to embrace the effects of aging and would want to delay their manifestations as much possible. And for good reasons, too. After all, it cannot be denied that one’s physical image plays an important factor in his or her self-esteem, and for some people, looking younger than their age can be a crucial step in maintaining their A-game, whether in their professional field, social circle, etc.

Fortunately, science has provided us with a number of ways to reverse the hands of time--at least as far as our facial appearance goes--and with the right procedure or combination of procedures performed by a skilled physician who is an expert in the field of facial rejuvenation, this can be done.

For lower face issues, there is always the facelift to address moderate to severe cases of jowls and sagginess. However, some may be averse to the idea of surgery, or are simply experiencing problems which do not necessarily require surgery to be resolved. For these people, there are Botox injections to minimize marionette lines, thus improving the appearance of creases forming from the sides of the mouth to the chin, and facial contouring machines like Ultherapy, which uses ultrasound waves to give the effect of a subtle facelift.

In any case, the important thing to remember is this: achieving a natural-looking youthful face is not a matter of choosing any one or more procedures and simply going along with it. This isn’t like shopping for bags or clothes, where you can simply choose an item or two depending on your whims. Instead, it is important for you to go by a carefully-crafted treatment plan with your doctor, to address the problem on a more comprehensive and holistic approach. This is the key to achieving optimal yet natural-looking results.

This also means that, depending on each case, the treatment may not only require procedures to be done on the lower face but on other areas of the face as well. Thus, to give you a more complete picture, we discuss mid-face aging next...

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