You've arrived. This is the age of mastery at home and on the job. If you have children, you've likely weathered their teen or even early adult years by now. You're proud of your resume, a chronicle of hard-won accomplishments and early goals attained. But change is afoot. Your fifties is a time of closing some chapters and opening others. Your face and body will show the signs of the care or neglect from previous decades.
What you can expect
SKIN/FACE: Women in their fifties will continue to experience a decrease in collagen production which will make their skin feel and look less supple. Collagen, a naturally occurring fibrous protein, is the primary support structure of the skin. It gives the skin strength and suppleness as well as an inherent ability to retain moisture. Collagen makes up about 90 percent of the dermis. With aging, and as a result of exposure to the sun, the collagen fiber components begin to weaken causing facial lines to form and the skin to appear looser. A decrease in estrogen as a women enters menopause can also cause skin to loose moisture and become more sensitive.
During her fifties, a woman may experience deep forehead wrinkles and sagging brows that can make her have a tired, frustrated appearance. A forehead lift or "brow lift" is a procedure that restores a more youthful, refreshed look to the area above the eyes. The procedure corrects drooping brows and improves horizontal lines and furrows that can make a person appear angry, sad or tired. This procedure can be done by itself or in conjunction with an eye lift (Blepharoplasty) or other facial surgery.
It is also very important to continue a good skin care regime using products that are nourishing to the skin. Retin-A and products containing glycolic acid can help the skin slough off dead skin cells, leaving the skin looking renewed while also diminishing fine wrinkles and sun damage.
BREASTS: Many women in their fifties experience sagging breasts due to skin laxity and weight fluctuation. A breast lift (Mastopexy) and/or breast augmentation can enhance the size and shape of a woman's breast.
It is also crucial for a woman in her fifties to be aware of any changes in her breasts by doing monthly breast self exams and having annual mammograms. This is especially true if a woman has breast implants. Some women are misinformed that mammograms are neither necessary nor advised if they have had breast augmentation. Many women are also uncomfortable examining their own breast because of the changes in texture they feel with implants in place.
Women with implants, particularly those over 40, should have yearly mammograms. Compression of the breast during the exam is unlikely to harm the implant; however, women with implants should prepare for a session that is more extensive and possibly more uncomfortable than the standard mammogram.
Hopefully, a life-long exercise regimen has been established by the time a women reaches her fifties. But even with a healthy diet and consistent exercise sometimes women cannot get rid of localized deposits of fat, especially around the hips, thighs and buttocks. A new form of liposuction, Ultrasonic Assisted Liposuction, uses ultrasonic energy to "melt" fat into an easy-to-extract liquid. It allows the surgeon to suction larger volumes of fat with less bruising and recovery time than traditional liposuction.
It is important to note that liposuction is not a substitute for dieting and exercise which should be continued after the procedure. While fat cells do not return after being removed from a specific area, the remaining ones can enlarge.
As skin elasticity decreases, women may experience areas of skin laxity particularly in the abdominal or hip area which may not be related to excess fatty tissue. Loose skin is best treated by a skin tightening procedure, such as abdominoplasty for the abdominal area.
— by Diane Gibby • M.D., P.A., F.A.C.S
About Dr. Gibby
Diane Gibby, M.D., P.A., F.A.C.S Licensed in Texas, Dr. Diane Gibby is board-certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) and the founder of The Women's Center for Cosmetic and Plastic Surgery. She is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), American Medical Association (AMA), Texas Society of Plastic Surgeons (TSPS), Dallas County Medical Society (DCMS) and the Board Certified Plastic and Cosmetic Surgeons of Dallas. She is also a Fellow in the American College of Surgeons (F.A.C.S.). Dr. Gibby's office is located at Medical City Dallas, Building C, Suite 820, (972) 566-6323. Individuals interestedin brochures or names of qualified plastic surgeons in their area may call the American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons at 1-800-635-0635.