A study in Frontiers in Psychology found that facial contrast, a measure of how much facial features stand out in the face, decrease with age in women regardless of ethnicity. The study also shows that observers perceive women with increased facial contrast (aka sharper features) as younger. Isn’t that interesting? Previously, we associated aging common indicators such as wrinkles and lines but even in the absence of these, some faces are perceived as more youthful and more attractive. Scientists have sought to explain why.

A French research team, in collaboration with American researchers, have discovered one such aspect of aging—facial contrast. “Facial contrast refers to how much the eyes, lips and eyebrows stand out in the face in terms of how light or dark they are or how colorful they are,” says Aurélie Porcheron, a researcher involved in the study.

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That is perhaps why women since eras ago have begun to use various cosmetic tools suc as eyeliner, dark eyeshadow and red lipsticks to enhance their facial features, making them more noticeable in contrast to the rest of their face.

How youthful we look is of great importance to many women. Many people correlate youth with beauty. People may also subconsciously perceive youth as a sign of health. But what makes one face look older than another?

The research team found that several aspects of facial contrast consistently decreased with age. This included contrast around the mouth and eyebrows. This is especially true as women lose volume and definition around their mouths. Eyebrows also thin out and as eyelids get more hooded, eyes look smaller and less prominent. Therefore to effectively rejuvenate an aging face, the two aspects that needs most attention are actually the eyes and the lips.

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#1 Lip Rejuvenation

With age, the vermillion border of the lips loses definition leading to wrinkling and lines. The entire lip may also look deflated and curl inwards towards the teeth rather than naturally outward in a semi-pout. The corner of the lips may also start to downturn.

“To make lips look younger and more defined, it is not about just adding volume” says Dr Low Chai Ling of SW1 Clinic.

Dr Low starts her lip rejuvenation protocol by using special soft fillers to outline the vermillion border of the lips, enhancing its natural definition. Then the lips are gently reshaped so it regains a more natural and upturned appearance, this involves putting enough volume in just the right places while leaving others unfilled.

To evert an inverted lip, some doctors may also add a small amount of Botox. This also works well to mininise fine lines around the lips.

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# Eye Rejuvenation

Hooded lids will make the eyes look smaller and less outstanding, Target hooded lids with Neogen Eyelift, a no downtime plasma based treatment for tightening sagging eye skin. Thermage for the eyes are also very effective as it uses monopolar radiofrequency to contract sagging eye and forehead tissues leading to a good restoration of the peri orbital skin. Finally, long term squinting at your laptops and mobile devices can also lead to hooding of the eyes. Thankfully, this can be easily alleviated with Botox eye lift where Botox is used to open up the tightly contracted orbicularis oculi muscle.

Learning where to focus our attention on when it comes to the anti-aging game is vital as it helps us prioritise the treatments for our faces. If budget is a concern, then focusing on these key areas could give you most bang for your buck. It may be wishful thinking to expect skin as taut as a teenage girl’s face, but with some clever tweaks, there is no reason why you can’t look like her sister, rather than her mother.

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