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Ageing in our 50s - some case studies

There is a recent trend of famous actresses and models embracing ageing and encouraging other women to do likewise. It is refreshing, certainly far more so than the famous women of similar vintage claiming all they use is olive oil.

We now have some famous and beautiful faces that are showing us firsthand what ageing in our 40s and 50s can look like, if we simply allow nature to take its course:

Paulina Porizkova
Sarah Jessica Parker to name a few.

It is certainly brave of these women and others like them to do so, especially in an industry where looks are seemingly everything.

At Skin Essentials we don’t believe in defying ageing, or helping patients look like mutton dressed as lamb, rather we recognise that ageing is a disease, a decline in our bodies and our skin, that over time, for many of us, can also affect our self esteem, our morale and especially if we are working, how others see us.

For us, the aim and goal is always a holistic approach to ageing well, whatever that may look like for each individual, man and woman, though our society disproportionately places a heavier emphasis on women than on men to look ageless forever.

With that in mind, I though I’d do a case study on some famous faces and their aging process in their 50s, which is the decade of peak decline for most women, if nothing is presumably done.

Caveat - as actresses and models, each of these women had stunning bone structure in her youth to begin with, which offsets a lot of the signs of ageing in our 40s and 50s - high cheekbones, strong chin and jawline, when most of us begin to notice sagging and jowling as early as our late 30s if our lower face is not strong and well defined.

Sarah Jessica Parker 56




At 56 the actress is openly and freely embracing the ageing process and good on her! 

Note - she has a strong side profile to begin with and being always slim, she never really developed any significant jowling, except where the skin has sagged due to 3 factors: 

- bony loss - around mouth, including chin and angle of jaw; around orbits of the eyes

- fat pad loss and movement downwards 

- ligament laxity due to loss of support 

- hooding of her eyes in part due to bony loss around the eye sockets but I also suspect, due to drooping eyelid skin 

Many of these are amenable to tweaks not to hide the fact she is 56 but to help her appear less tired and grumpy, what I refer to as “negative signs”. The signs in an ageing face that elicits unwanted comments about looking tired, sad, angry and may lead others to see us as being untrustworthy. 

Paulina Porizkova 54 

A supermodel with impeccable bone structure as evident in her youth, the perfect heart shaped face, she continues to wear it well into her 50s, with only noticeable changes due to her bone structure. Paulina is another one ageing naturally and she does it well! 

In fact, barring anti wrinkle treatment, and skin therapies (which she takes up consistently to improve skin structure and quality) her bone structure will likely continue to carry her for years to come with minimal drooping even around the eyes and lower face. 

My main issue when women in their 40s and 50s urge others to embrace ageing is this: 

- it is admirable that they do so and encourage us mere mortals to accept ourselves as we are

- it is equally telling that these are often individuals who, by virtue of their career choices, are usually in the top 1% in terms of looks and have at their disposal, immeasurable amounts of money and staff as well as genetic advantage that the rest of us simply do not have. 

- just as telling, many of these supermodels and actresses have made more money in their youth than most of us will see in our lifetime, such that they can afford to retire far earlier than we would. For those of us who continue to work till 65 or later, especially if in customer facing roles, we still have to look well enough that we don’t solicit unwanted comments or pity because we look “like you should be retired”, a comment made to one of my patients in her 60s. 

Ultimately what anyone does or does not choose to do, we ought to be supportive and if we cannot, simply go past. As a doctor, like all doctors, I see and hear firsthand the impact careless comments have on someone’s self esteem and psyche, and the very real fears some have around their careers in their 40s and 50s when competing against younger fresher faces. 

I advocate for looking your best at every age and stage, rather than looking like the latest face or trend of the day. 

Just as we advocate for exercising regularly to keep your heart strong, and keeping your brain young through exercising it with mental activities, learning a new language and more, so it is with our skin and faces if we want to invest for years to come - we must make the time, effort and budget to enable us to indulge in our faces and our skin that will allow us to like what we see in the mirror for years to come. 



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