How Your Face Changes Over Time

changing-faceWe all know (*sigh) our faces change over time. Time takes its toll on the body and on the face. Our faces are expressive (or should be) leading to wrinkles and laugh lines and are subjected to sun exposure as well as the other elements over the years.

Look at your high school senior portrait or at your adult child’s photo from his senior year. Young faces are full; older faces not so much. However, it’s not all bad. Faces do develop character over time and may end up becoming more interesting looking in later years.

Some of the changes you can expect as you age include thinning skin and loss of muscle tone, which results in a flabby or drooping appearance to your face. When skin loses its elasticity, saggy jowls result in a double chin.

Humans produce less oil (sebum) as they age, resulting in dry skin and dry hair. Additionally, we lose the underlying layer of fat in our face, so say adios to that smooth, plump face you once had. Age spots show up, which in large part are caused by sun exposure over the years.


Hopefully, you’ve been able to hang onto your teeth. If not, you may see a change in the way your lips look. They become shrunken when teeth are lost. Receding gums are part and parcel of the aging process, particularly if you lost your teeth early on.

When bone loss occurs, which happens over time and when teeth are missing, this reduces the size of the lower portion of your face, which makes your nose, forehead and mouth more prominent. And, better yet, said sarcastically, your nose may grow a bit longer and your ears may become longer because of cartilage growth. Ear lobes elongate because of gravity as well as the result of wearing heavy earrings for years. The tip of the nose can droop because the supporting tissue supporting cartilage wanes.

According to Dr. Arthur Perry, FACS, a clinical surgeon, the cartilage in the ears and nose continues growing until you die. Granted, bones cease growing after puberty and fat cells quit dividing but that (damned) cartilage doesn’t stop.

G.M., 66: Everything is larger and in a different place.
R.N., 86: I think my ears are larger!

So, yes, elderly people do have larger noses and ears than younger people.


Eventually, your eyelashes and eyebrows may turn gray; not always, but it does occur. (Thank heaven for mascara and eyebrow pencil!) Eyelid fat drops into the eye sockets, giving the appearance of sunken eyes. Bags develop under the lower eyelids because the lids become slack.

Upper eyelids droop because the muscles supporting the lids weaken. Sometimes the upper lids sag so much it obscures a person’s vision. Some individuals with sagging upper lids opt for blepharoplasty, a surgery repairing droopy lids. When lids sag terribly it reduces peripheral (side) vision. Of course, as with any surgery, there are risks.

Look at your eyes. The corner, or outer surface of the eye, may acquire a grayish-white ring and the iris (the colored part of the eyes) loses pigment. Many elderly people look to have light blue or gray eyes even though they didn’t start out with that color.

As we age, fat in our face loses its volume, bunches up and moves downward. Fat does stick around in the lower part of the face, which leads to a double chin and jowls.

If your nose or ears are really, really bothering you, a rhinoplasty can be done to whittle down the superfluous cartilage that’s giving you a bulbous nose and earlobes can be re-sculpted.


If you are unhappy with your appearance there are options, including Botox or plastic surgery, both having become more commonplace. If you aren’t that distressed, just moderately unpleased, consider doing yoga face exercises to counteract the damage time has done to your mug.

Moisturize like a son-of-a-gun and remember to wear sunscreen. Make regular visits to the dentist and hang onto the teeth you still have.

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About This Blogger

Cindi Pearce

Cindi Pearce has been writing professionally since the days of manual typewriters. Armed with a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Ohio University, Cindi is especially interested in women’s health concerns. She teaches yoga, is an amateur belly dancer, loves mowing her five acres of land with her beloved zero turn mower, has three grown children, one granddaughter and five large dogs. Cindi has managed to stay married to the same man for 35 years.

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