It’s not fair, but the hands of time ravage much more than just your face. After the age of 30 or so, you may notice your body changing for the worse: bumpy skin appears out of nowhere, your waistline grows thicker, and your breasts and buttocks start to lose their perky shape.
While you can’t stop the years from passing, you can fight back against aging with healthy lifestyle choices and effective cosmetic procedures. Here are some of the most important transformations you will experience as you age and some tips to help you remain young and attractive without dramatic interventions.
Increased Belly Fat
As you near middle age, your body starts to store fat differently than in younger years. What happens is that you start losing some of the subcutaneous fat that sits just below your skin, which is why your face may not be as plump and supple as it was in your youth.
However, this loss of subcutaneous fat does not mean you’re growing slimmer with age. As the fat you can pinch diminishes, your visceral fat stores rise. Visceral fat is the padding that lines your internal organs — and as you gain more of it, your stomach starts to protrude farther than before. This soon translates to a wider waistline, reducing the “Coke bottle” shape that many women aspire to obtain.
Another telltale sign of age is decreased muscle mass, which usually starts getting noticed after the age of 30, when your lean tissue begins to erode in a process called atrophy. In fact, you could lose up to 5 percent of your muscle mass with each decade. This means that your body will appear less fit and toned, and you may look out of shape if you don’t take steps to reverse the loss.
In the case of muscle loss, the phrase “use it or lose it” rings very true. The less you use your muscles, the more they will atrophy. This not only affects your appearance, but makes you weaker and unable to perform the same tasks you could earlier in life. Muscle atrophy is why some elderly people lack the strength to carry grocery bags, climb stairs, or otherwise take care of themselves in their twilight years.
Sagging Breasts and Buttocks
Many women associate their beauty and sexuality with breasts and buttocks. Over time, however, both of these areas can start to sag – breast sagging even has its own technical name: ptosis.
As breast specialist and surgeon Ian Laidlaw told the Daily Mail, “A large part of a woman’s femininity is her breasts. Sagging is a predictable change, yet it can have a profound impact … The feelings women get when they can’t control the changes in their breasts can include inferiority, distorted body image, unattractiveness and worthlessness.”
For some women, the same can be said of the buttocks, which sag more and more as muscle tissue decreases. Your buttocks are called your “gluteus maximus” because they house the largest muscles in your body — therefore, changes in muscle mass significantly affect their appearance.
The truth is nature is going to cause some sagging no matter what you do, as scientists have yet to find a way to reverse gravity. However, one of the best ways to save your perky shape is to keep a constant – and healthy – weight. That’s because your breasts have a layer of fat beneath the skin that grows thicker with weight gain and thinner with weight loss. When the fat layer becomes significantly thicker and then thins back down, the surrounding skin becomes stretched — and you can’t undo this stretching yourself.
Of course, women who want children may not have the option of maintaining a steady weight for life, as a gain of 35 pounds or so is normal and healthy for the baby. One bit of good news for mothers: breastfeeding will not contribute to sagging.
A healthy dose of exercise can fight sagging on multiple levels. For one thing, physical activity burns calories to help you maintain your weight. Aerobic exercises such as running and cycling promote blood flow, allowing vital nutrients to flow to breast tissue and other areas (just be sure to wear a good sports bra, as bouncing can worsen sagging). As a bonus, aerobic exercise also burns visceral fat, so it helps keep your stomach flat and your waist small.
For a shapely derriere, turn to strength-training exercises, which increase muscle tissue to create firmness and a round shape. Weight machines at the gym, such as the leg press, are one option. However, you don’t need any fancy equipment to sculpt a fetching rear end. Body-weight moves like squats and lunges are excellent for buttock toning; use dumbbells if you want extra resistance.
Fat Transfer for Dramatic Results
Although every effort helps, the truth is that nothing you can do at home will provide the same anti-aging results as professional cosmetic procedures. If you want to make significant changes to your shape, only a plastic surgeon can help.
Specifically, fat transfer can give you the hourglass shape of youth and vitality. During the procedure, your doctor will first perform liposuction to remove fat from your abdomen or other regions. With modern technology, this can be done with no knife or stitches, and only with local anesthesia. The fat may then be injected into the breasts to add volume and create a perky look.
The same process can also be used to perform a “Brazilian butt lift.” For this procedure, the fat is transferred to your buttocks to create a voluptuous lower body. If you want, you can even have some of the fat injected into your face to fill out cheeks or other hollowed areas.
The bottom line is that if you want to maintain your youthful figure, don’t consider time on your side. If you don’t like what you see in the mirror, fight some signs of aging with exercise and weight maintenance. Then, if you’re ready for a serious change, ask your plastic surgeon if fat transfer may be a good option for you. After all, with today’s advanced technology, there’s simply no need to live with unwanted sagging or pesky bulges.
About the Author
Justin Yovino, M.D., FACS of Ideal Face and Body is a Beverly Hills Board Certified Plastic Surgeon with a special interest in cosmetic surgery and extensive training in the most advanced surgical techniques. Dr. Yovino is very experienced in aesthetic, reconstructive, and hand surgery. Dr. Yovino is board certified by the American Board of Surgery, a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, a Certified Diplomate of the American Board of Plastic Surgery, a member of American Society of Plastic Surgeons, and is well respected by his peers in the medical community.journals, has presented his clinical work at plastic surgery meetings and is an expert plastic surgery contributor for realself.com.