The leading causes of lost facial volume

Dr Lisa Fay

Firm skin and elasticity give us beautiful tone and texture.

And well-placed fatty areas in our cheeks and mid-face make us look youthful.

But as we age, the production of collagen and elastin that makes up the support network beneath the skin slows down.

Getting older also causes the ligaments and tendons in the face to elongate and weaken, allowing fatty areas to move downwards.

However, there are other factors that accelerate changes to the fat distribution in the face, aside from the process of ageing. These lead to the loss of the high-cheeked, youthful look and the development of jowls as fat slides down to the jaw.


The top 6 causes of facial volume loss

Here are some of the major culprits contributing to accelerated ageing and loss of facial volume.

Yo-Yo dieting and extreme exercising

Extreme or sudden weight loss is very ageing.

You may really want to lose fat from your wobbly bits, but you won’t be able to stop losing it from your face. It’s impossible to ‘spot reduce’ any parts of your body without losing an amount from your face too.

Sudden significant weight loss, or extremes in weight caused by yo-yo dieting, will result in stretching the ligaments that support the face and keep fat pads held in place.

People who exercise a lot, like runners, tend to look a little gaunt as they are constantly burning off calories at a high rate so can lack facial fullness even though they’re very healthy. Though physically fit, they can often look older than they actually are.

Excessive sun exposure and moisture loss

Sun exposure will accelerate the breakdown of elastin and collagen in your skin, affecting the skin tone and accentuating lack of facial volume.

Skin also loses its ability to hold moisture as we age. Dry, toneless skin is even more unforgiving to volume loss.

Protect your skin from the sun or you run the risk of looking like an old saddle – bags included.

Hormonal changes

The kind of hormone fluctuations that occur around perimenopause and menopause itself will greatly impact skin appearance.

Oestrogen, in particular, is connected with changes in the amount and distribution of fat.

As hormone levels start to dip, facial fat volume is lost.

Annoyingly, much of it seems to end up around the waist.

Being too thin

The old saying about it being impossible to be too rich or too thin is only partially true – you can indeed be too thin.

Very slim people don’t have much facial fat to start with.

Once they start to show signs of ageing, they lose the facial volume they had and can look very haggard.

Changes to bone and muscle mass

With age, we naturally lose bone mass all over our body, including in the face.

Muscles also start to atrophy, and changes alter the underlying structure of the face, making the mid-face and cheek area appear collapsed.

The mass shifts from the mid-face to the jaw area, causing jowls and making you look a bit like a bulldog.

Poor lifestyle choices

This is a great catch-all term for things such as

  • poor diet
  • smoking
  • lack of exercise (and insufficient circulation)
  • stress
  • excess alcohol.

All the choices that are bad for your general health will ultimately impact on the way you look.


The solution to loss of facial volume

If you’re unhappy with the obvious loss of facial volume and increased appearance of age, the wonders of modern science are on your side.

You can look more youthful and regain the beautiful, firm curves around your cheeks and jawline.

Juvéderm Voluma is the brand of dermal filler we use at Cosmetic Doctor to replace lost volume and re-contour the face.

The results are immediate and will instantly restore the firm facial curves for a rejuvenated, healthy appearance.


Book your consultation at Cosmetic Doctor and Dr. Fay will discuss your options for a subtle replacement of lost facial volume. Call us on 01 2000 50 or email cosmeticdoctor@slievemore-clinic.com.



Dr Lisa Fay
MB BCh BAO, DCH, MRCGP, HDip Derm, MSc Derm,, BTEC, FPC, MBACD

Dr Lisa Fay is the founder of CosmeticDoctor.ie. She has over 12 years of clinical experience and has been performing aesthetic treatments for over 9 years.

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