According to new research published in the January edition of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, our facial bone structure may be what makes us look older.
We all know that facial wrinkles and saggy skin are associated with making us look older. However new research has shown that the bones in the face may change over time and contribute to us looking older.
Dr Robert B. Shaw and his team from the University of Rochester Medical Center analyzed tomography scans of facial bones from a large set of patients. The scans were of people needing medical treatment rather than those looking for cosmetic surgery. The team compared the results between young people (20-40 year olds), middle aged people (41 to 64) and older (65+).
The research showed that there were some important differences in the facial bone structure over time. The most prominent change was at increase in the area of orbital aperture (the eye sockets) with the sockets becoming longer and wider with age. The brow, nose and upper jaw angles also appeared to reduce over time, whilst the length and height of the lower jaw was also seen to decrease.
Although the changes were noted in both men and women it appears that the changes happen sooner in women than men: in men, most of the changes appear to occur between middle and old age whilst in women, most of the changes appear between young and middle age.
The research may help cosmetic surgeons tweak how they work to ensure that they mimic a younger bone structure and therefore help their patients look more youthful after treatment.