Ageing of the face & neck

As we get older, the structure and appearance of our face and neck changes dramatically. Ageing primarily affects the fatty tissue but also the musculoaponeurotic system, and the bony scaffolding beneath.

Everyone ages differently. Factors affecting the ageing process include skin type, morphotype, sun exposure and nutrition.

Ageing treatments have become an important – and popular – part of aesthetic treatments within the beauty industry.

Mechanisms of facial ageing

Facial ageing is mainly caused by tissue modification and a global drop of the facial tissues.

Fine lines, wrinkles, grooves, and skin slackening are typically the first signs of ageing. These are caused by a reduction in skin elasticity and repeated contraction of the fine muscles.

The effects of sun damage start to become visible when people reach their mid-20s. Unsurprisingly, the face and neck tend to be affected first – and most severely – due to their exposure to the sun.

When a woman reaches her 30s, wrinkles begin to appear on her face, coinciding with a fall in oestrogen levels.

Changes start to occur in the epidermis due to an accumulation of dead keratinocytes in the stratum corneum (the outermost layer of the epidermis). Collagen and elastin levels in the dermis also start to decrease, particularly in women who’ve had a lot of sun exposure or who smoke.

Keratinocyte renewal starts to diminish from around the age of 40, with the life of a keratinocyte changing from 100 to 48 days.

As the epidermis becomes thinner thanks to a reduction of cell turnover, deep wrinkles, and expression wrinkles start to appear.

During menopause, the rapid decline of oestrogen levels results in the skin becoming thinner and losing elasticity. Its capacity to renew itself also diminishes.

The skin quickly loses collagen and colloid masses can accumulate, resulting in senile elastosis, a disorder in which the skin appears yellow and thickened.

The four stages of sun damage

Stage 1 (20–30 year olds)

You’ll start to see mimic wrinkles, also known as expression lines, appearing and perhaps some skin discolouration.

Stage 2 (35–50 years old)

You’ll notice expression wrinkles starting to appear at the corners of the mouth and the eyes, and maybe some keratosis or dry patches.

Stage 3 (from 50 years old)

You’ll have more persistent wrinkles, even when not moving your face, obvious discolouration, and marked keratosis.

Stage 4 (50 years old and above)
You’ll have deep and widespread wrinkles, your skin may develop a yellowish tone, and abnormal growth of skin cells may occur.