Innovations in Dermatology: Rethinking the Aging Face

Solutions to the age-old problem of the aging face require that we revise our understanding of the skin. Its thickness, barrier function, inflammation, and supporting structure all change with age. Now 3 new concepts discussed here are changing the way we think about the aging face.

The wrinkles of time eventually appear on every face. This is well accepted, but exactly what causes these wrinkles has been the subject of vigorous debate in dermatologic circles. For many years, it was thought that gravity ultimately produced the aging face by causing sagging resulting in drooping eyebrows, redundant upper eyelid skin, lower eyelid bags, a down-turned mouth and a double chin.

While this theory of gravity aging seems plausible, it has been replaced with what seems to be a more physiologically consistent explanation for the redundant skin on the face: decreased skin thickness and deterioration of the underlying facial structure. Rethinking fundamental ideas on the causes of aging is the fi rst step toward finding effective solutions.

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