Why Facial Volume Matters

Posted Monday, January 23, 2012 by Shellie Terry Benson, Editor

You may not realize it, but a little plumpness is a good thing. Especially when we’re talking about the face, as you can see in actress Elizabeth McGovern’s photos, the image on the left taken in September 2011 and the one on the right last week.

Fat naturally adds the volume and support to the face that keeps wrinkles at bay and our skin looking youthful. However, we start to lose facial fat as early as our 20s, and it’s a downhill slide, literally, from there.

Facial fat deteriorates naturally with age, but weight loss and hormonal changes can speed up the process. When this happens, we start to see less definition around the face, including sunken temples, forehead and brow wrinkles, the corners of the mouth turned down, hallowing around the eyes, flatter cheeks and slack skin around the jaw.

There are three ways to restore facial volume and achieve smoother skin. Here’s how:

Fat transfer: This is good option if you’d like long-term results, but can endure some downtime (up to two weeks). You will first undergo a micro liposuction procedure to remove fat from another area of your body, then it will be prepared to be injected into your face. It’s also a good option if you are wary of injecting other types of fillers into your skin. The fat is your own, so your body will not reject it.

Fillers: Fullness can be restored through a variety of fillers including temporary (like Restylane, Juvederm and Perlane), long-term (Sculptra Aesthetic and Radiesse) or permanent (Artefill). Injecting fillers is a non-invasive option that gives an immediate result. The cheeks, temples, chin and jawline are the areas best suited for fillers, and Restylane was recently given FDA approval for use in the lips. Some of the non-permanent fillers can last up to five years, but most need additional treatments.

Implants: If you’re considering a facelift, your plastic surgeon may also suggest implants to restore volume, particularly in the cheeks or chin. These are a good option if you don’t have enough body fat to harvest for fat transfer. Implants are used less these days, as fat transfer and fillers have become the methods of choice. However, implants are a permanent solution and can help define facial features since they build up the bone structure. Seek an experienced and board-certified plastic surgeon to determine the right option that will give you the results you’re after.