What Causes the Major Signs of Aging?

An elderly woman with full grey hair, in a blue jacket, looking thoughtful.

What Causes the Major Signs of Aging?

We like to imagine aging as a singular force, marking the progression of time. And with this mindset, it can sometimes seem futile to do anything to try to retain a youthful appearance. But in truth, aging is a fairly complex process. In cosmetic terms, this means that there are a variety of signs of aging that are all happening at the same time. And yet each of these signs of aging has a unique set of causes. This can make approaching cosmetic treatments for a youthful appearance intimidating. 

We’re hoping we can build confidence somewhat by breaking down all the different signs of aging. Once you break it into individual battles to be fought, the war against an aging appearance no longer looks quite so intimidating. We’ll also provide tips on what can help you reverse the clock. 


Aging appearance, thy name is wrinkles. There is perhaps no quicker shorthand for age than wrinkles. Indeed, wrinkles are so visually connected with the idea of aging, that they’re often a priority for cosmetic procedures. Wrinkles are also a perfect “sample case” for the signs of aging – many of the reasons for why we develop wrinkles as we age will turn up as culprits for other signs of aging. 

To understand the cause of wrinkles, we have to get below the skin. People aren’t just made of skin, muscle and bone. Below our outer layer of skin is a variety of materials, including elastin, collagen and fat. We’re not going to get into the scientific differences between these – all you need to know is that they all have important roles in giving us our features and appearance. Without these, we’d look like skeletons with some skin. Perhaps some of you are after that look for the spooky season of October, but for the rest of us, this padding and volume is greatly appreciated.

However, as we age, elastin and collagen tend to break down and degrade. As this happens, we start to lose the volume under our skin, and wrinkles begin to appear. This isn’t just caused by aging itself. Certain habits can accelerate the loss of volume and appearance of wrinkles. Exposure to too much sunlight over your lifetime, and smoking cigarettes, can both damage your elastin. If you squint or frown a lot, this can also eventually lead to lines around the eyes and mouth. 

Fight back against wrinkles

Thankfully, because they are such a common sign of aging, there has been plenty of attention given to ways to help wrinkle reduction. What wrinkle reduction options people take tends to depend on the severity of the wrinkles, and the area they are interested in addressing. For those frown and squint lines, a facial muscle relaxant like BOTOX can be the best option. For areas where there has been a loss of subcutaneous fat, a dermal filler is a good option to re-add tightness to the skin. 

You can also try to address the issue at its source, by using procedures like fractora treatment to promote the growth of collagen. Some will opt to use a face lift, stretching the muscles in order to pull the skin tighter and lower the appearance of muscles. 

Sunken Cheeks 

Now that we understand the importance of collagen, we can see how as the aging process leads to a degradation of collagen, volume can be lost. This is the cause of another very common sign of aging – “sunken cheeks”. 

Since much of our face under our eye sockets is composed of fat and collagen, as these break down, the result is “hollow”-looking cheeks. Sometimes, fat can also start to move down the face as we age, resulting in the “jowled” appearance. And in some cases we’re simply genetically disposed to develop sunken cheeks as part of the genetic lottery.

When it comes to sunken features, the dermal fillers mentioned above are often your best bet – unlike with wrinkles, muscle relaxants are unlikely to do much to really relieve this problem. If the problem is persistent, then some people might consider permanent cheek implants over the temporary dermal fillers. 

Age Spots 

Age spots are also known as liver spots, or hyperpigmentation. They’re small flat brown areas on the skin, and a very common sign of the aging process. While age spots are harmless, they can sometimes make it harder to spot more serious skin conditions. Many also find these blemishes unsightly. These spots are simply caused by a lifetime of sun exposure, and the build up of slight UVdamage over many years. 

There are plenty of creams that you can find on the market that purport to mask age spots, but for more permanent solutions you’ll have to get under the skin. There are laser treatments on the market currently that allow you to rejuvenate your skin and help alleviate age spots. 

Dry Skin

We’ve mentioned above that the degradation of collagen and elastin tends to reduce skin volume and increase the appearance of wrinkles. But this also has the secondary side effect of reducing the ability of the sub-dermal layers of the skin to retain water and moisture. The result is skin that dries out as we age. Dry skin is not only uncomfortable, but will often give an appearance of being cracked and peeling. 

You can address dry skin with emollients and creams. However, if dry skin is a chronic issue, you may want to look into a micro laser peel. This is a safe way to remove dry and damaged upper layers of skin to reveal a rejuvenated layer below. 

Battle the Signs of Aging with PSSC

Aging is not the same for everyone, and the signs of aging will appear in different people at different times and different ways. Sometimes it can get overwhelming as these signs start to pile up. However, for every aging issue there is a solution – and at PSSC, we’re here to help you figure out what is the best option for you. Contact us today if you’re looking for a plastic surgery clinic in Newmarket. 

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