Though the subcutaneous fat layer of your skin is not visible, this layer of tissue can have a dramatic effect on appearance and contribute more than you might think to the way aging impacts your skin, especially areas of the face and neck. While the majority of attention is given to the presence of wrinkles and superficial changes in texture and coloration as part of the aging process related to the epidermal and dermal layers of the skin, changes in the underlying fat can be prominent.
You can think of the fat serving the same purpose as the foundation of a house. While no one ever sees the foundation, when it is solid, the house structure is straight, the floors are level, and doors and windows close easily. However, when the foundation is weak, the house can tilt, the floor is uneven and the walls can develop cracks.
Similarly, younger individuals have full facial features with rounded cheeks, sharply demarcated jawlines, and well defined areas around the eyelids, mouth, and nose. With aging, the volumes of your facial fat decreases and the overlying areas have less support causing the skin to droop and sag, leading to a look that can sometimes be interpreted as tired and worn. Furthermore, not only does the amount of fat under the skin decrease with aging, but the underlying bones and muscles lose volume as well.
Curiously, while the amount of fat on the face decreases with aging, the abdomen is an exception. While you probably wish that the fat in this area would decrease, the opposite happens and belly fat progressively increases with aging for the vast majority of the population. On some occasions your belly fat is located under the skin and in other cases it is actually located inside of the abdominal cavity around the internal organs which is referred to as omental or visceral fat. This shift of fat into the abdominal area is more common in women than it is in men, especially women who have given birth.
Numerous scientific studies have shown that increased visceral fat is associated with a higher incidence of cardiovascular disease, dementia, asthma, breast cancer, and colon/rectal cancer.
Steps you can take to counteract the accumulation of visceral fat include exercise focused on aerobics and strength development, adequate sleep of 5 to 8 hours per night, avoiding cigarette smoking, eating a diet that includes calcium and avoiding food products that seem to encourage belly fat deposition, including trans fats (hydrogenated vegetable oils) and fructose-sweetened foods and beverages can help to reduce your risk for accumulation of fat in the abdominal cavity.
Studies have also shown that mood can play a role in the accumulation of belly fat being more common in women with anxiety and depression related conditions. So keeping your mood in check and focusing on happiness will be to your benefit.
So, you might find it hard to make sense out of this phenomenon of losing fat from the facial area and getting too much fat in the belly area, but the real why is still to be discovered.
In the meantime, facial volume loss can be corrected or improved upon with fillers that are used for volume replacement ranging from those containing hyaluronic acid, calcium hydroxyapatite, and natural fat. Volume replacement is oftentimes used in conjunction with other measures to improve wrinkles, skin tone and texture as well as expression lines to give the best facial rejuvenation results possible.
So, eat healthy, and follow the other steps mentioned above to look your best and make the most of the aging fat paradox.