Dear doctor, what can I do to look as young as I feel?

12 December 2017

Q: I’ve felt for quite some time now that my face makes me look older than I actually am! What can I do to look as young as I feel?

A: The two main steps you can take to maintain a youthful-looking skin is to protect your face from UV light and to stop smoking.

People who have outdoor hobbies, like sailing or spending a lot of time gardening, may find that their skin ages more quickly. That isn’t to say that you shouldn’t spend time outdoors, but rather that if you do, you should be protecting your face by putting on sun block.

The other thing that can age your skin is smoking. Smoking reduces the amount of oxygenated blood that reaches the tissue, and that reduce s the skin’s healing potential.

As for more practical things you can do to look your age, I’m afraid there isn’t a panacea of an anti-ageing cream. There are some skin products designed by specialists that are proven to be effective to reduce lines and wrinkles, but they can only be prescribed by a doctor.

I often say that when it comes to ageing, we talk about one of two problems. The first is the ‘paint or wallpaper’ of the face – such as lines, wrinkles or blemishes. These are the things we can treat with skincare products, injections or fillers. I also carry out fat transfers, where I take fat from the tummy or thighs and inject it into the face to give a rounder, smoother and more youthful appearance.

The second problem is with the ‘bricks and mortar’ of the face – the muscles and soft tissue that tend to droop and drop with age. These concerns could include drooping eyelids, bags under the eyes or a sagging neck. In these cases we could discuss surgical solutions, such as a facelift or neck lift.

Sometimes patients come to me and say they ‘need’ something doing. I always tell them that nobody ‘needs’ to do anything to make their face look younger. It is all about choice. The most important thing is that you do what you feel is right for you.

Mr Timothy Mellor is a Consultant Maxillofacial, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon practising at Spire Portsmouth Hospital.


The content of this article is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the professional medical advice of your doctor or other health care professional.

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