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Understanding Facial Aging – The Triangle of Beauty

The Triangle of Beauty

Triangle of Beauty

The chubby cheeks we see on babies are a sign of health. When we’re young, we have volume located in specific areas of the face that makes us look healthy and youthful. But as we grow older, volume loss in the face occurs, for reasons we will discuss in a moment, and we begin to lose proportions associated with a youthful appearance. These “proportions” of volume are often represented as triangles. (See image)

Facial Aging - The Triangle of Beauty

As you can see, the natural aging process takes the volume that we once had in our cheeks (mid-face) and positions it much lower on the face. This is why many experienced aesthetic medical providers approach facial rejuvenation with these facts underlying their recommendations.

In the early years of non-surgical injectable treatments like injectable dermal fillers, medical providers would simply “fill” the folds and wrinkles in the lower face without actually addressing what was causing the problem in the first place (i.e., the loss of volume in the mid-face). This approach “filled in” the folds and wrinkles in the lower face but overall left it with more volume than before the treatment. Thus adding more volume to the lower face and achieving the dreaded “ducky” or “full” look to thousands of patients.

So, as you can see, understanding how the Triangle of Beauty works is very important to understanding a correct approach to natural-looking facial rejuvenation.

What causes volume loss in the face?

Unfortunately, the natural aging process does not spare any individual. We all are going to lose (or have lost) significant degrees of volume in the face over our lifetime. To be even more accurate, we will all lose volume, and where the remaining volume is located will be different. One of the main reasons this phenomenon occurs in the mid-face is because of what happens to the fat pads in our face. Over time they loosen, thin, and “fall” (move toward the lower face) due to gravity. See image.

Other reasons that we may lose volume in our face are fluctuations in weight, such as extreme weight loss and shifting hormonal levels also play a part. Environmental factors like exposure to harmful UV rays in sunlight, cigarette smoking, injuries, and certain medical conditions and medications can also lead to facial volume loss.

A reduction in the amount of collagen in the skin is one of the key reasons the face looks older. Collagen is an essential protein that provides structure to the skin and gives the skin its smooth, supple, plump, and youthful appearance. As we grow older, the amount of collagen in the skin reduces, leading to a reduction in skin elasticity. Combined with volume loss due to facial fat loss, this decrease in collagen can make the face appear old.

Lastly, facial bone mass and facial muscles also decline with age, undermining the foundational structures of the mid-face. This natural aging process, combined with gravity, moves even more volume to the lower face. (Don’t worry, we talk about how to deal with these natural processes below).

What changes occur due to facial volume loss?

In younger people, there is plenty of collagen in the skin. Also, the fat is evenly distributed around the eyes, cheeks, nose, mouth, and chin. With age, the fat diminishes in quantity and shifts in location. For example, cheeks that were once full and round become thinner and sink downward. Hollows develop under the eyes. The lips become thinner and lose their youthful plumpness. Skin and soft tissue sag and hang low below the jawline.

Combined with this is the formation of fine lines and wrinkles due to repeated movements of the facial muscles during expressions such as smiling, laughing, pouting, and frowning. All these changes together are called the visible signs of aging.

What causes the formation of jowls?

With age, fat can collect in areas that were once tight and firm, such as the lower jaw. This leads to the formation of what are commonly called “jowls.” Jowls are essentially sagging skin and fat hanging low on each side of the jaw.

There are various factors that can lead to the jowling over time. Genetics plays a role – if either of your parents had prominent jowls, there is a greater chance that you will develop noticeable jowls over time, too. This has to do with the amount of collagen and elastin that is found in your skin. Indeed, some people can develop jowls as early as their 20s.

Lifestyle and environmental factors like smoking, sun exposure, weight loss, and facial expressions also affect the lower facial skin and soft tissues. Sun exposure can damage collagen, the supportive protein that keeps the lower face looking taut. The chemicals in cigarette smoke can similarly damage collagen and elastin. Excessive weight loss can lead to stretched skin that sags and hangs low over the jawline. Facial expressions can lead to stretching of the tissues and subsequent jowling.

At this point, you may be asking yourself, “Well, it seems like just LIVING makes your jowls worse!” That statement is true for every human walking this earth. This is simply the natural course of aging. The point is to understand what is happening and address the situation with grace, artistry, and an appreciation for the subtle, natural-looking improvement.

How can jowls and other signs of aging be treated non-surgically?

The GREAT news is that these common signs of aging can be treated without the need for surgery! Advancements in facial assessment, injection techniques, and injectable treatments, like The Juvederm Collection, have allowed many individuals to naturally augment their volume loss without looking “ducky” or “overdone.”

Here at The Beauty Barn, we use the complete line of Juvederm fillers (the #1 dermal filler in the US and the world). Each one of these dermal fillers has been specifically formulated to apply subtle correction to different areas of the face. A well-trained injector can use specific products in certain places around the face to restore youthful proportions by understanding the Triangle of Beauty. Learn more about Juvederm here.

Plus, if you are still experiencing fullness in the lower face, specifically the submental area (double chin), there are non-surgical alternatives like Kybella that can dissolve the unwanted fat in these areas. Learn more about Kybella here. This technique could help achieve better proportions in the lower face by reducing some of the unwanted volume in that area of the Triangle.

All of these options are available to you, and we provide them here at The Beauty Barn in Canton, GA!

Wrapping up

As we grow older, the skin starts to lose proteins like collagen and elastin that help it keep its shape. Thinner skin is more prone to the effects of gravity and sagging. Moreover, fat redistribution occurs with age and leads to lax or loose tissues. These changes, along with genetics, environmental, and lifestyle factors, can lead to the redistribution of volume to the lower face.

The goal of any treatment is to re-establish a visual balance between the mid-face and lower face with the three points between the prominence of the cheekbones on either side and chin being equidistant – the Triangle of Beauty.

We hope this article has helped you better understand some of the things you may be noticing in the mirror. As always, we are here to help and answer any questions, so don’t hesitate to reach out to our office at (678) 824-5466.

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