Researchers believe that the idea that the face ages uniformly may be incorrect, as they have now found that different parts of the face age at different rates.
Scientists at UT Southwestern Medical Centre found that distinct compartments of fat in the face age differently, a finding which could have major implications for cosmetic surgery.
Lead author Dr Joel Pessa, assistant professor of plastic surgery, said that people have believed for hundreds of years that the face consists of one mass of fat that eventually gets weighed down by gravity.
"In our studies, however, we were surprised to find that this is not the case; the face is made up of individual fat compartments that gain and lose fat at different times and different rates as we age," he revealed.
The study, which is published in the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, found that injected dye remained in separate areas of the face, indicating that there are individual facial compartments around the forehead, eyes, cheeks and mouth.
Senior author and cosmetic surgery expert Dr Rod Rohrich, who is the centre's chairman of plastic surgery, said that this is a "revolutionary" way of looking at facial anatomy.
"This will help plastic surgeons around the world not only understand how we can better rejuvenate the face, but how people age as a physiological process," he said.
The researcher added that the finding could have "tremendous implications" in helping cosmetic surgeons to target problem areas with non-surgical cosmetic treatments.
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