5 Causes of Volume Loss

We all have varying degrees of fat in our faces and a multitude of factors can cause changes to these fatty compartments. “Volume loss occurs because of gradual changes in the appearance of the fat,” says Littleton, CO, facial plastic surgeon Brent Smith, MD. “There is a loss both superficially and at a deeper level that comes along with aging.”

1. Yo-Yo Dieting And Extreme Exercising
Keeping fat off your body is no easy task since the body can’t be told where to lose weight from and where to keep it. So even if you want to “spot-treat” a specific part of the body, you may end up reducing the amount of fat in your face as well. “The ups and downs of recurrent dieting cause a stretching of the ligaments that support the tissues of the face. This can result in a loss of elasticity and volume, which promotes an aging effect,” says Dr. Smith. A lack of facial fullness is often seen in avid exercisers and runners because they are consistently burning off a high number of calories—volume loss is often evident even if they are at a healthy weight. “They may feel healthy, but they often look older than they really are,” says La Jolla, CA, plastic surgeon Robert Singer, MD.

2. Excessive Sun Exposure
Although fat loss is not directly dependent on UV rays, it is important to protect your skin from the sun. “If you don’t wear SPF daily, the sun will accelerate the breakdown of collagen and elastin in the skin. When collagen and elastin levels are of poor quality, the condition of the skin is affected and the loss of fat can be accentuated,” says New York plastic surgeon Alan Matarasso, MD.

3. Hormonal Changes
Female hormones, namely estrogen, are partially responsible for changes in the amount and quality of fat. As hormone levels begin to dip, fat can start to thin out.

4. Too Thin Of A Frame
It is possible to be too skinny. When that’s the case, the aging process will become even more of your foe than your friend. The reason: A naturally thin face has little natural fat to begin with and over time the inherent amounts of fat begin to diminish, causing an extremely haggard look.

5. Receding Bones
With age, we naturally lose bone mass in the face. The muscles also begin to atrophy to some degree. These changes alter the underlying structure of the face and can cause the cheekbones and midface to look collapsed (the effects usually don’t take hold until later in life). “It’s noticeable in the 70- to 80-year-old patient and while it’s highly variable, the majority of resorption happens around the nose and in the central face,” says Chicago plastic surgeon Julius Few, MD.

5 Comments
  • Michelle B
    Posted on

    Interesting to read the comments above. I am a very fit 50 year old. I have had a number of amazing treatments from RTW Skin, a non-surgical anti-ageing clinic in Tunbridge Wells to help with my volume loss. (I admit it I over exercise!) Although fillers do work and look amazingly natural, there is a treatment that I totally recommend! This is Silhouette Soft - a face lift that is non-invasive and has little to no downtime. Restores volume, improves skin sagging and skin quality! It also lasts over 18 months.

  • Houry
    Posted on

    so disappointed in botox and filler... no dramatic change and they are not lasting more than 3- 4 months.... WASTE of money.

  • Carina
    Posted on

    Sadly, Juvederm and Botox are costly and have to repeated and I've heard Cosmetic Surgery also can be temporary. Those are all a big chunk of change to have to repeat. Once you hit your mid 50s your skin may have a beautiful texture, but so far there are no miracle products that are dramatic for deeper wrinkles and noticeable sagging.

  • Cynthia
    Posted on

    I'm 53 and an ultra athlete. I look 43 and even thou I'm thin my skin is clear and radiant. When I train and race, I supplement with monounsaturated fat to keep my weight healthy. My skin care regiment which includes a 70 sunscreen everyday even in winter (Ottawa) is perfect and my diet is as clean as it can be. Thin women are pretty because they are healthy. It's the over weight women who should be concerned for their skin. Excess body weight produces a free a radical response and excess insulin which cases a reaction (AGE) in the skin to age and sag. Enough said:-)

  • EileenY
    Posted on

    And that's why there are fillers like Juvederm!

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