Aging happens to all of us, but some of us look older faster than others. To some extent, facial aging is controlled by genetics and there’s nothing we can do about it (yet), but there are some things you can do to slow down the aging process–if you know what this process is.

mature woman shows off her beauty

Causes of Aging: What the Plastic Surgeons Say

The problem is that many of the things we are told about aging come from people with a commercial interest in the anti-aging industry. They want you to buy their explanation so you will buy their services.

This is why plastic surgeons will tell you there are basically four major causes of facial aging:

  • Changes in the skin leading to a loss of elasticity, leading to wrinkles and sagging
  • Muscle memory that causes muscles to remain contracted, leading to folds in the forehead and crow’s feet
  • The cumulative impact of gravity, which displaces tissue, leading to sagging and folds in the cheeks
  • The loss of facial volume, leading to hollows under the eyes and in the cheeks
They want you to believe these are the main causes of aging because these are the ones that they have services to sell for. Laser resurfacing and other skin treatments to combat skin changes. Botox that paralyzes “over-active” muscles. Surgical facelifts that lift up sagging tissue. Injectable fillers that can (usually temporarily) replace lost volume.

But there are many causes of aging that they can’t treat and don’t want you to know about.

Connective Tissue Health

While skin plays an important role in supporting your facial tissues, it’s not the only tissue that is doing all the heavy lifting work. In addition to your skin, there are many layers of connective tissue underneath the skin that support the fat pads of the cheek and the facial muscles.

Like your skin, these connective tissues depend on certain proteins, like collagen and elastin, for their elasticity and strength. Unlike your skin, there are no treatments to stimulate the production of collagen in these tissues, so it depends on proper nutrition.

To help your body build collagen, the most important nutrients are proline and lysine–amino acids that are essential components of collagen and elastin–and vitamin C–which is essential for turning these amino acids into proteins.

Lysine is found in high amounts in legumes. Proline can be found in high amounts in gelatin, certain cheeses, and beef. For vitamin C, eat citrus fruits and other colorful fruits and vegetables.

Tooth Wear

Tooth wear contributes to aging because it changes the shape and size of your face. According to cosmetic dentist Dr. Brad Durham, “The muscles and skin of your face developed as your teeth grew, and they achieved an attractive harmony in your youthful face. Over the years, as your teeth have aged, this harmony has been disrupted. ”

Tooth wear can be caused by lots of things, including using your teeth to crack nuts, crunch ice, or chew on hard, non-food objects. It can also be caused by an unhealthy bite, which wears down teeth with uneven force on certain teeth. It’s best to prevent this by stopping bad habits like chewing fingernails and using your teeth as tools. If you suspect you might have an unhealthy bite, talk to your dentist about it now to prevent future wear on your teeth.

Bone Loss

Plastic surgeons and dermatologists promote the fact that your skin is constantly being lost and replaced. They talk about how stimulating this process can improve the amount of collagen in your skin tissues. But did you know your bones are undergoing this same process?

It’s true, your bones are constantly being broken down and rebuilt. Unfortunately, they’re not necessarily being rebuilt the same way.

Instead, our bones are rebuilt slightly differently. Our jaw recedes. Our eye sockets enlarge. Our cheekbones deteriorate. According to anthropologist David Hunt, there’s no way to stop this, with the possible exception of making sure you hold onto your teeth, which help stimulate the retention of our jawbones.

Indeed loss of teeth is one of the major factors that contributes to jawbone changes related to aging. So it’s important to make sure you keep your teeth healthy.

Prevention Is Better–and Cheaper–Than Cure

With this knowledge, you can help prevent these secret causes of aging that can make you look older than you want to appear. And in most cases, prevention is easy, inexpensive, and won’t just make you look younger–you’ll feel younger, too.