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Plastic Surgery, Body, Face, Nonsurgical

How Our Bodies Change As We Age (+ 3 Tips For How To Look Younger)

Aging is a natural and beautiful process. But sometimes it does not feel that way. As we grow older, our bodies begin to tell our stories, showing signs of our age. This comes in many forms, from hair to skin, to physical appearance and height.

The reality is that no matter what, we cannot fight time. The key is not to avoid aging (as that is impossible), but to age gracefully. This allows you to adjust your lifestyle to your body as you age, giving you more comfort, extending life expectancy, and overall living a better life in your golden years.

Let's discuss:

  • What aging really means for your body

  • Physical signs of age

  • Aging in men vs. women

  • How to maintain a youthful appearance in old age

Before learning more about how our body changes as we age, it's important to understand the underlying cause of these changes. To do this, let’s first answer the question:

What Does Aging of the Body Mean?

The gradual effects of wear and tear are a natural part of life, one that is to be appreciated because of the achievement it marks. However, body aging means that there is a gradual reduction in the body’s ability to repair itself over time. As this natural process takes place, this causes less bodily repair to be done by our cells, leading to physical effects on the skin, muscle, tissue, fat, and bone throughout our bodies.


How Do Our Bodies Change As We Age?

As we grow older, the body changes. This comes in many shapes and forms, but these physical signs of age can mainly be broken down into two categories: internal and external.

5 Signs of Old Age in the External Body: What We See

When we look at ourselves in the mirror, we notice external changes to:

  • Skin

  • Hair

  • Body fat

  • Facial structure

  • Muscle structure

  • And more…  

What was once taut, full, vibrant, becomes dull and listless.

1. Skin

As the body ages, the skin wrinkles and sags. Collagen and elastin, two important fibrous elements that provide structure and firmness to the skin, gradually diminish over time. The accumulation of sun damage, as well as reduced ability to repair itself, leads to thinning, dryness, and discoloration of the skin.

2. Hair

The hair starts to change as well, losing volume and changing color. Age essentially begins to shut down certain functions in the body, starting with nonessential ones. Hair can begin to turn grey or white in old age.

Simultaneously, the hair no longer receives the same nutrients as it did in youth, meaning that it isn’t as full. This can cause hair to become brittle, or thinner, and in some cases lead to balding. Brittle hair is more susceptible to breaks, tears, and thinning.

3. Facial Structure

As the skin changes, it no longer sits atop the bone as it once did. This means the skin sags around the bones, appearing hollow. Dark circles appear around the eyes. Wrinkles start to take their toll on the face. This causes our physical appearance to change, and can cause people to feel and look older.

4. Muscle Composition

As we age, muscle composition begins to diminish. Muscles start to atrophy, or lose muscle mass. The tissues in the muscle become nodular, or lumpy and start to experience rigidity.

Aging also reduces the density of muscle and the muscle fibers. With less muscle density and fewer muscle fibers working as diligently as they did in youth, it can make it very difficult to maintain necessary muscle mass and strength. Subsequently, it becomes more difficult to conduct daily activities that were once taken for granted.

5. Body Fat

Body fat begins to increase with age naturally. This can cause the shape of our body to change over time as Lipofuscin, a brown fatty pigment, starts to collect in the tissues.

Burning off the fat that ends up in the body gets harder and harder with age. As you age, you should expect the body to begin storing more belly fat, especially around the internal organs. A certain amount of this is healthy, but too much can have negative effects on your health. This is something that should be targeted not just with exercise but with cosmetic treatments.


7 Signs of Aging in the Internal Body: What We Feel

Bodily changes as we age also include the internal parts of our body we cannot see. Most of the time, these internal changes result in outward changes in the appearance of our bodies, which makes them important to understand. This will help you to age well, and also feel healthy as you get older.

1. Ears, Eyes and Other Senses

Our eyes and ears are often the first of the senses to begin experiencing the side effects of old age. This often results in a loss of eyesight within near or close distances and in the peripherals. It also causes us to be hard of hearing as time goes on. Both of these signs of old age come naturally, but can also be made worse by extensive damage to the ears and eyes from loud noises and screens respectively.

The other senses such as smell, taste and touch also begin to wain as we grow older, as a result of our cells no longer producing as efficiently as they once did. This can result in slower reaction times because of weaker neural paths, or lack of taste and smell from reduced cell counts.

2. Nutrient Intake Is Reduced

As connective tissue stiffens, it causes the internal organs and blood vessels to stiffen which makes it harder to get vital nutrients/oxygen, and harder to remove waste like carbon dioxide. The heart, lungs & kidneys all begin to slow down in terms of their effectiveness.

For example: Your heart at age 20 can pump 10 times the blood that is actually needed to live. After you turn 30, you lose 1% of this functionality annually. Blood takes longer to circulate which creates delays in other bodily systems such as digestion, nervous system and immune system.

The lungs take longer to take in oxygen which compromises breathing, especially during exercise. The kidneys are reduced in their ability to filter out toxins through the urine which can lead to an unwanted accumulation of toxins that remain in the body, compromising other systems. All three slow down and are worked harder just to perform the same functions over time.

3. Metabolism Changes

The thyroid gland in the neck produces the hormones that control metabolism. The metabolism begins to slow down after age 20. This makes food take longer to digest and also can make our bodies unable to process the same foods at the same capacity.

This change in the body over time is responsible for many of the signs of old age because the digestive system is an integral system which removes nutrients from the food we consume and processes those nutrients for transportation and use throughout the body.

4. Immune System Weakens

The immune system stops working at full capacity as we get older. This leaves the body more susceptible to sickness, and also causes decreased response time to internal threats or injuries.

The inability of the digestive system to quickly process nutrients from food and send them along the bloodstream to the areas in need also compromises the strength of the immune system over time.

5. Hormones Begin to Change

Just as hormones during the pubescent phase make changes in our height, muscle development, weight, and curves, so too do the hormonal changes later in life.

Body structure alters in terms of its shape and its flexibility. As ligaments begin to shorten, flexibility diminishes and requires ever more help from things like exercise and diet.

6. Bone Structure Changes

Bone structure changes are another major change that occurs in our bodies as we grow older. Over time, our bones get thinner and more brittle, as bone density and strength weaken.

As this happens, the joints become brittle and more susceptible to breaks, cracks, or strain. This is in part why height changes with age too.

People shrink as they age because of this change in bone density. Additionally, parathyroid hormones change and in turn impact phosphate and calcium levels, which decreases bone strength and contributes to osteoporosis.

7. The Brain Ages With Us

The brain ages differently among men and women but in both, the brain starts to atrophy as the number of cells in the body decrease over time. This results in a number of things including:

  • Memory loss

  • Reduced cognitive abilities

  • Diseases and disorders

  • Change in sleep patterns

  • Changes in body composition

  • And much more…

The brain is the command center of the human body. As it begins to experience the signs of old age, so goes the body with it.


Men vs. Women: The Aging Process

For the most part, men and women show similar signs of age in the form of skin and bodily changes that we can see on the outside. However, on the inside, we each age differently, particularly when it comes to the brain and hormones.

The Brain

Men who are overweight or have previously suffered a stroke will show higher levels of cognitive impairment as they age.

Women have been shown to suffer from higher levels of cognitive impairment if they were dependent on other people for their daily tasks and lacked a supportive social network.


As men and women age, different hormones are impacted. Sexual hormone production starts to decline with age. This results in the reduced production of estrogen in women, and testosterone in men.

More importantly, hormones control large organs. As the internal organs change, they are less sensitive to those controlling hormones, so they don’t respond accurately. As we age, hormones also get metabolized more slowly. Organs responsible for hormone production produce less than they once did, and at a slower rate.

Now, while men and women all age, getting older is not about just getting through day by day, but rather, about flourishing. The aging process should not interfere with personal fulfillment and self-actualization.

Yet, 21% of men and 33% of women start to worry more about their physical appearance after age 40. Men suffer from hair loss and testosterone depletion while women face hormonal shifts, lower estrogen, and more.


3 Quick Tips for Maintaining Your Youthful Body in Old Age

At the end of the day, none of us can escape the process of aging. But, there are a few easy tips you can use to slow down the aging process, and stay looking young and beautiful as you age.

1. Exercise and Stretch Regularly

As you get older, exercise and diet become critical in making the aging process smoother. Aging reduces the flow of blood, which can lead to tightened muscles and shortened tendons, inhibiting flexibility and mobility. If left untended, the condition only worsens until it interferes with activities for daily living.

Exercise keeps the blood moving, specifically exercise for at least 40 minutes with heavy cardiovascular efforts/sweating. This improves blood flow, reduces the risk of heart disease, flushes plaque from between the neurons, stimulates mood, and naturally cleanses the skin.

2. Eat Less Inflammatory Foods

With age, the body is constricted in terms of its ability to fight off inflammation. In fact, once men and women reach 40, inflammation becomes one of the most common problems, one which leaves the body susceptible to insulin resistance, poor immune responses, and heart diseases. Inflammation in the body can be well controlled with proper diet.

Foods that are heavy in processed carbohydrates or sugars exacerbate inflammation problems while clean, green and natural foods do not.

3. Consider Cosmetic & Wellness Treatments

Cosmetic surgeries help people to fight off the signs of aging while simultaneously improving confidence you had in your youth. With simple surgical procedures, improvements can be made to bring back a more youthful appearance and with it, a better life.

Women in particular feel the effects of old age, as it begins to wear away at confidence, or negatively affect your self image. As a result, you may often find yourself worried about how your body changes as you age.

Cosmetic treatments for old age can help you to:

Get Your Confidence Back

As a woman over the age of 40, it can be easy to become more conscientious of your personal appearance and the physical signs of aging can stifle an otherwise positive mood. Over 33% of women over the age of 40 are worried about wrinkles, weight change, and sagging skin. This is natural.

Cosmetic treatments function as a way to combat the signs of aging and give you back the confidence you need to live your Golden Years with confidence.

Lift Sagging Skin

Gravity is a fact of life, and as the skin loses its elasticity, the face and body sag over time.

Surgical lift and skin tightening procedures can remove excess skin to bring back youthful firmness and contour.

Popular skin tightening & lift procedures include:

Repair Aged Skin

Aging and sun damaged skin can be repaired through a number of skin rejuvenation treatments, many of which are associated with zero to minimal downtime. These treatments include:

  • Topical skin medicines: Prescription strength medicines that are applied to the skin to reduce wrinkles, repair damage, and protect the skin.
  • Botox Injections: Botox is a nonsurgical treatment with no downtime that reduces the appearance of facial lines and wrinkles.
  • Injectable dermal fillers: Injectable dermal fillers are a nonsurgical treatment with no downtime that restores lost facial volume to restore a youthful contour and fullness to the face.
  • Skin resurfacing treatments such as laser, intense pulsed light (IPL), microneedlling, dermabrasion or chemical peels.

Reduce Body Fat

Body fat tends to increase with age. Regular exercise and maintaining a healthy diet go a long way towards helping you stay trim.

For many people, however, stubborn deposits of fat can remain, no matter how hard you try to get rid of them.

Unwanted body fat can be removed safely and effectively using these two treatments:

  • CoolSculpting: A completely non-invasive treatment that reduces unwanted body fat. Reduces body fat up to 20% in the treated area with permanent results and zero downtime. CoolSculpting sounds almost too good to be true, but it actually works!
  • Liposuction: A minimally invasive surgical procedure that removes unwanted fat through tiny incisions. Reduces body fat up to 50% in the treated area with permanent results.

Restore Normal Hormone Levels  

Hormones are special chemical messengers that control most major bodily functions, including sleep, mood, memory, hunger, and reproduction.

As we age, our hormone levels drop, causing symptoms such as:

  • Low energy
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Hot flashes
  • Weight gain
  • Altered mood
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Memory loss
  • Low libido
  • Impaired sexual function

Replenishing lost hormones with Sotto Pelle Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy can help both women and men get back their youthful energy and improve well-being.

Fighting the Effects of Old Age in Your Body

Aging is inevitable, but you don't have to live with it.

Taking care of your body including maintaining a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, and restoring normal hormone levels can help you age as gracefully as possible.

However, there are some signs of aging such as wrinkles, saggy skin, and body fat accumulation that can be hard to avoid even if you live a very healthy lifestyle.

These physical signs of aging can be hard to bear for some people, producing long term effects on confidence and self image.

But you don't have to live with it.

Cosmetic treatments such as nonsurgical cosmetic treatments and cosmetic surgery can help restore a more youthful look to your face and body, restoring confidence and happiness.

Take Our Cosmetic Self Evaluation To Find Out If You're A Candidate

If you would like to learn more about how to look younger, take our Cosmetic Self Evaluation to find out if cosmetic treatments are right for you: 

Wondering if you're a candidate?



About the Author

Dr. Larry Fan is a Harvard educated, Board Certified Plastic Surgeon in San Francisco, CA. He is a Master Artist who is known for creating beautiful, stunning, and natural results. Dr. Fan has been named One of America's Top Plastic Surgeons for the past 10 years running and has received several national awards for his work in Plastic Surgery. He has successfully performed more than 10,000 cosmetic procedures of the face, breasts, and body over a 20 year period. Dr Fan has been an invited speaker at the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the American College of Surgeons, and has been featured in national media outlets such as CNN, NBC, and ABC.

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