David O. Smith MD, F.A.C.S  |  6545 France Ave. S, #505  |  Edina, MN 55435  |   Call Today: 952.922.0895

What Makes People Look Older?

It’s true that as we age, the years we’ve lived become obvious on our faces in the form of lines, wrinkles and general sagginess. The cause of these signs of aging can be quite varied and time can have different effects for different people. So, the question remains, what makes people look older?


A recent New York Times article delved into this question and distilled how people of differing skin types and colors show age in different ways.

For plastic surgeons, what makes people look older can be grouped into a “holy trinity” of changes. These include wrinkles and age spots, a general loss of volume and an overall sagginess of the skin.

Generally speaking, those with darker skin tones aged more slowly. As dark skin has more pigment in it, it is better protected against the aging effects of the sun. Dark skin also tends to be oilier and thicker, making it more resistant to the signs of aging. Additionally, round faces, as many people with dark skin may have, show the signs of aging more slowly that those with thinner faces as more youthful volume is preserved.

Another cause of what makes people look older is how, over time, the skin has lost volume and begins to droop. This leads to bagginess around the eyes and the appearance of jowls, among other issues. To correct loose skin around the eyes, eyelid surgery can be performed, while a facelift can diminish jowls in the lower face. If the skin has begun to slide down from the cheeks, facial contouring or augmentation can restore it.

learn more about combating the common signs of aging, we encourage you to contact Minnesota plastic surgeon Dr. Smith.