Do fat cells undergo changes that make us look older?

With aging, the subcutaneous layer of fat thins in certain areas, mainly the face, the hands, and the shins. Skin in these areas becomes thinner and more transparent. The fat pads in the cheeks (the malar pads) slide down and forward. This descent and loss of fat, together with natural bone loss that causes bones to shrink away from the skin, can result in skin sagging, causing hollow cheeks, sunken eye sockets, and noticeable sagging of skin on the hands and neck. The loss of fat and bone in the face can make facial bones more visible, and all of these changes can make skin look older.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiologist (Heart Specialist)

Among the many changes that contribute to aging skin, fat cells in the dermis, the layer right below the outer layer, become smaller. Watch the animation to learn more about aging skin.

Dr. Joshua A. Zeichner, MD
Dermatologist (Skin Specialist)

As we age, so does our skin, bones, and soft tissue. Especially in our face, atrophy of fat cell in certain areas makes our under eyes, upper cheeks, and temples look hollow. At the same time, with gravity, fat and loose skin drop and makes our nasolabial folds and jowls become prominent. The use of fillers, such as hyaluronic acid products, can help restore the youthful appearance of the face by re-volumizing areas that have lost volume with age.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.