Skin: fat loss and sun more harmful than gravity

The loss of fat and sun exposure play a bigger role than gravity in
ageing the face, surgeons heard a conference today in the US,
re-enforcing opportunities for cosmetic players operating in the
anti-ageing or sun care market.

According to a study presented at the US society of plastic surgeons (ASPS) 2004 meeting in Philadelphia this is in contrast to common wisdom about how the face 'ages because when they pull up on their facial skin, they look better'.

"Actually the pull of gravity on facial tissues is not a significant component of facial aging. Instead, other factors, like the loss of facial fat and sun damage are more contributory in the complex process of ageing,"​ said Val Lambros, an ASPS member and author of the study.

Shifting age demographics have been vitally important in driving growth in the global cosmetics and toiletries market, valued at over US$173 billion in 2001 by market analysts Euromonitor.

The impact of a diminishing birth rate has direct implications for baby care, and the growth of an ageing population has subsequently acted as a major influence in cosmetics and toiletries, writes Euromonitor.

According to the analysts skin care emerged as a particularly dynamic sector between 1997-2001, mainly driven by anti-ageing properties and other cosmeceutical benefits intended to help maintain a healthy, youthful appearance.

The nature of facial skin changes over time becoming thinner, most notably around the eyelids. These changes are often accelerated by sun exposure, which damages the skin.

"Plastic surgeons rejuvenate the aging face by pulling up and tightening the tissue, but treatment also requires a balance between tightening tissue and replacing loss facial fat with wrinkle fillers,"​ said Dr. Lambros. "The key is knowing how much of each to do."

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