[Skin ageing-General features of facial ageing and therapeutic choices]

Ann Dermatol Venereol. 2019 Jan;146(1):41-74. doi: 10.1016/j.annder.2018.10.015. Epub 2018 Dec 20.
[Article in French]


Correction of cutaneous and facial ageing is the key reason for consultations in aesthetic dermatology. This demand on the part of patients, which has become a social phenomenon, has increased thanks to the remarkable progress made in nonsurgical and less invasive therapies such as lasers, botulinum toxin and fillers. But in order to optimise their use and to provide a personalised touch, since each face ages differently, an overall facial analysis, both static and dynamic, is essential. Indeed, ageing is obviously not restricted to skin but also concerns underlying tissue such as muscle, fat tissue and supporting bone. In this article, we provide a clinical and physiopathological analysis of the ageing of skin and of the various types of ageing, whether chronological, hormonal or environmental, and we examine the major role played by UV radiation, as well as tobacco smoke and, in certain cases, pollution. The description of cutaneous ageing covers not only the face, in which photoaging is the predominant factor, but also ageing of skin throughout the rest of the body. Next we describe the general modes of facial ageing for the subcutaneous structures, first those of the skin muscles, which compensate for their atrophy by means of permanent hypercontraction that result in dynamic wrinkles, then those of fat tissue in which ptosis can occur, coupled in some cases with atrophy and loss of the fullness and harmonious facial curves of youth, and those of supporting bone structures and preferential areas of resorption, which are also where the most pronounced ageing of soft tissue is discernible. The upper third, middle and lower third of the face do not age in the same way and the relevant methods of correction thus differ. Finally, we briefly discuss the therapeutic choices available, taking into account the generally extremely reasonable expectations of patients, who tend to seek moderate and natural rejuvenation in keeping with their personality, as well as the elimination of negative expressions associated with ageing, and who want neither a rigid face nor aesthetic cloning.

Keywords: Ageing of facial bones; Ageing of facial fat compartments; Ageing of facial muscles; Ageing of skin; Ageing of the face; Vieillissement cutané; Vieillissement des compartiments graisseux du visage; Vieillissement des muscles faciaux; Vieillissement du squelette facial; Vieillissement facial.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / anatomy & histology
  • Bone Resorption
  • Botulinum Toxins / therapeutic use
  • Cosmetic Techniques
  • Face / anatomy & histology
  • Humans
  • Laser Therapy
  • Menopause
  • Rejuvenation
  • Skin / pathology
  • Skin Aging / pathology*
  • Skin Aging / physiology*
  • Smoking / adverse effects
  • Sunlight / adverse effects
  • Ultraviolet Rays / adverse effects


  • Botulinum Toxins