Assessment of the facial aging: Why do I look so Old?

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We hear stories all the time of people saying “I woke up this morning and all of a sudden I was old!” But, the truth of the matter is, it does not happen overnight. Most people are not aware of the different factors that go into facial aging. What  causeS us to look old? When we do consultations at Clearskin Institute of Laser Aesthetics, we assess the 5 major components of facial aging. The first 4 are part of the CT3. Around 15 years ago, Larry Helwig was one of the creators of CT3. This is a facial assessment tool to Evaluate skin. CT3 stands for Color, Tone, Texture, and Tightening. Color is the evaluation of red and brown sun damage that occurs on skin. Brown pigment like sun spots, age spots, liver spots, etc. Red sun damage is from broken blood vessels and capillaries, commonly referred to as telangiectasias. Rosacea, which is chronic red flushing, is also a genetic disorder that is aggravated by sun. Tone refers to the luminescence or glow of the skin. Young children and babies always have a glow to their skin. But older people and sick people do not. We subconsciously associate the lack of glow with old age. Texture refers to the fine lines, wrinkles, large pores, acne scars, and rough texture of the skin. Again, babies and children have smooth skin. Tightening refers to skin laxity. This is what we all know as saggy skin. Saggy in general is not a good word. No one wants to be described as saggy! The 5th component of facial aging is volume loss. As we age we continue to lose bone, fat, and muscle every year in our face. This leads to a sunken hollow look and contributes to the sagginess of the skin.

When we do our consultations, we address all of the above problems. If you only correct one problem of aging, it can cause others to look worse. For example, when you have a 1970’s kitchen to remodel, you have flooring, countertops, cabinets, and appliance to think of. If you decide just to redo the old linoleum flooring, then it will make those old shabby cabinets, terrible countertops, and lime green cabinets look even worse. The same can be said with the skin. If you choose to just do Dermal filler and replace lots of volume to try to treat skin laxity, you end up with a blown-up face like we see in Hollywood. Vice versa, if you do a facelift and pull the skin tight, but you don’t address the old tired leather skin, now all you have is old tired leather skin pulled tight.

A full facial evaluation is important in every consultation, both for the treating practitioner and the patient. Once you assess the face, then you can set a plan of where to begin, and how to become the best version of you!