Does weight loss cause facial aging?

Will your face age more quickly with dieting?If you are a woman over 40 you must have heard the oft quoted saying that you have to choose between your figure or your face.

Conventional wisdom has it that you can’t have a younger looking figure and a youthful face.

Recently the cosmetic surgery industry has picked up on some research that appears to back up the popular advice.

According to a survey published last year – dieting may do wonders for your figure but it will age your face. So will weight loss push you towards cosmetic surgery?

Weight loss and facial aging

Reported in a reputable plastic surgery journal – the research study was carried out on 200 pairs of identical twins.

Comparing the BMI and appearance of the twins the survey concluded that losing the equivalent of one dress size can age women by four years.

Women with plumper cheeks and softer features – in other words with fatter faces – were found to look younger than slimmer women.

Dieting was found to be up there with divorce, depression, sunbathing, smoking and drinking as a major factor in making women look older.

“A BMI higher by four points was found to result in a younger appearance of between two and four years in women over 40 years old.” Dr Bahaman Guyuron, Senior Researcher

So should you really ditch the diet and pile on the pounds in the interests of keeping your face looking younger?

As someone who has recently lost 28 lbs and dropped two dress sizes – this report certainly held my attention. But my experience is completely the opposite.

Far from adding years – losing weight has been a rejuvenating experience and according to friends and family has helped me look younger.

My belief is that carrying excess weight – especially around the middle and around the jawline – is very aging. What’s worse – excess weight is a health risk for most of us and needs to be controlled.

Crash dieting causes facial aging

What this survey does pick up though is the dangers of crash and yo-yo dieting – extreme weight loss without the right kind of nutrition can result in facial aging.

According to the main professional body for plastic surgeons in the UK most women will see a loss of plumpness in the cheeks from around the age of 38 onwards.

What will really contrbute to facial aging is extreme dieting which causes sudden loss of volume and changes the shape of the face.

According to Dr Rajiv Grover at the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, “Volume loss can be compounded by yo-yo dieting, where not only do you create volume loss but also stretching of the facial supporting ligaments which causes deeper nose to mouth lines and jowls.”

Lifestyle factors matter too

Poor nutrition will also play havoc with skin tone and make skin aging worse.

If we pile on the pounds it tends to be because we are eating the wrong things – too many sugary snacks for instance. Sugar damage is a major cause of facial aging through a process called glycation. Limiting your consumption of simple carbohydrate and sugars can only help you lose weight and look younger in the process.

Add in any of the other factors like sunbathing, smoking and stress and there is no doubt facial aging will increase – whatever weight we are.

Research reported by plastic surgeons

Suggesting that dropping a dress size will cause your face to age or make you look older is – in my opinion – not the correct conclusion to draw from this survey.

The fact that the research has been reported by plastic surgery journals is down to marketing. After all it’s in the interests of facial plastic surgeons to find reasons why you need an anti aging procedure like a facial filler or a face lift.

The truth is – if you’re overweight then it’s a good idea to eat less and exercise more.

You’ll feel and look younger without plastic surgery when you drop a dress size so long as you are sensible in your approach. Make sure whatever diet you choose is based on great anti aging nutrition and brings about a permanent change to the way you eat.

Aim for sensible weight loss with great nutrition over the longer term – that way plastic surgery shouldn’t be an issue at all!

About Eileen

I am the publisher of Simply Anti Aging and a web author researching and writing on all aspects of anti aging. I'd love you to connect with me on


  1. Lucy James says:

    I recently lost a huge amount of weight – 4 1/2 stone – and just like you say Eileen, everyone said that it took years off me. I was really worried that it would make me look older (I’m in my 40s), but it really hasn’t. Having said that, I also didn’t go mad and stopped the weight loss program before I started to look gaunt.

    • Lucy – wow that is a big weight loss – all I can say is congratulations you must feel fantastic. You have obviously managed things really well and now have the all health benefits of being slim and looking younger is a great bonus! The trick I find is to keep your eye on the ball – don’t get obsessive about your weight but watch out that the pounds don’t creep back on. Thanks for commenting and enjoy the new slimmer and youthful looking you.

  2. anti aging men says:

    I do believe all of the ideas you’ve introduced on your post. They’re really convincing and can certainly work. Still, the posts are too brief for starters. Could you please lengthen them a bit from subsequent time? Thanks for the post.

    • Eileen Gravelle says:

      Anti aging men – thanks for your comment. I do have many more lengthy posts but this was a brief outline and comment on a specific piece of research I saw online about facial aging and weight loss. Actually the research was a little on the light side as well imo!

  3. What we eat definitely influences the external appearance of our skin and having an adecuate diet help us to prevent skin deterioration. However, many people realize this late in life when the aging signs are in advanced conditions. In those cases starting to eat nutritious food will prevent you to worse your condition but will not exactly contribute to fix the existent damage. If you are already in this situation you might want to look non surgical alternatives such as antiaging treatments.

  4. Blair James says:

    Apart from what it can do to your body in terms of weight loss, I think for the most part, a good exercise can make you more blooming and gives you a healthier look. It’s a matter of eating the right food and doing the right exercise for your body. It gives you a sense of fulfillment once you’ve achieved the weight you’ve always wanted and gives you more confidence in terms of buying some personal stuff like clothes and undergarments 🙂

  5. Tara Gibson says:

    This is such a great article. I personally do not believe that weight loss contributes to early signs of aging. By getting your weight under control it actually contributes to getting your youth back. Most of the time when a person begins to lose weight the first place you will notice is in that person’s face. Losing weight is the beginning of the anti aging process. It balances out the body by providing a good look and feel about yourself. Your face does not have to look worn after weight loss. Toning is the key to a great body as well as the face. If you treat your skin well then it will return great results. Hydrate and moisturize the skin, keep it fully nourished.

    One thing that I can speak on is that excessive weight around the mid-section of the body causes us to look alot older than we actually are. It is an unhealthy look for many of us. For most women this can be the hardest section to lose weight in. Cosmestic procedures such as tummy tucks have been wonderful in helping women pull off the fat around the mid-section.

  6. mark ruddell says:

    i actually really agree with the article,I myself am 43 and I have been on a very strict diet for years,im constantly asked if Im sick or people say Im to thin,I look at my Father who looks alot like me but hes much plumper and he has a fuller healthier face than me,30 years younger,i have been trying to gain weight and some more fat to my face and body but so far it when I eat too much it seems to go to my stomach and not face…So anyway fat people have fuller faces which seem to look younger but have bodies which have no appeal…There is nothing healthy and young about a fat body that has high cholesterol,blood pressure and diabetes…

  7. I think what it comes down to is the fact that an overweight body, particularly one in which a lot of weight is in the midsection, makes a person look old, regardless of a plump and unlined face. In recent years, even young teenagers are seriously overweight, and I am often surprised to learn that someone I thought was in her late 20s is 15, 14, or even 13! Some in their late teens look 40!

    Weight loss in an middle-aged woman may, at times, result in an “older” face. I think this can be true even when the weight loss was carried out in a healthy manner – there are a lot of factors which come into play. Rapid weight loss and poor nutrition can wreak havoc with health, leading to a haggard appearance. But healthy weight loss after a certain age can still “reveal” what the face would have looked like without all the excess weight – sometimes bonier and more wrinkled than it was with extra weight to plump it up. Nevertheless, in such healthy weight loss, the overall appearance is generally enhanced and more youthful, because a thin body is equated with a young body. I would rather have a slightly older looking face and a strong, young looking body, than an old looking body and youthful face.

    • Thanks for the detailed comment Liz – I agree with what you say about facial aging and weight loss but I do think with the right diet and exercise it is possible to have both a younger looking body and face!

  8. Elaine Woosey says:

    Thank you for such a well written article. I wholeheartedly agree that the results from the research seem to have been engineered on behalf of cosmetic surgeons to make women think they will look older if they lose weight. It is also my experience that the opposite happens and I agree that carrying excess weight on your body is extremely aging but too much weight loss too fast will cause facial aging. There’s nothing attractive about scrawny women and losing too much weight too fast can make you look drawn and haggard. The way round this is to make sure you get enough good quality protein in your diet as well as all the vitamins and nutrients your body needs to stay healthy and, of course, take plenty of exercise. It’s far better for you to burn off the unwanted weight as opposed to starving your body of essential nutrients.

    • Elaine – it’s great to have someone else confirm that getting our weight under control is a good anti aging strategy. Fitness, health and energy all get boosted – not to mention all those great new clothes you get to buy!

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