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Runners beware: Crossing the finish line may accelerate fine lines

Knee and ankle injuries are no longer the only physical concern if you’re a runner. On top of twists and sprains, you may also have to take beauty concerns into consideration. That’s right — we’re talking about runner’s face, a new problem for anyone who makes a habit of pounding the pavement, which could speed up the development of fine lines and wrinkles. We take a deeper look at this exercise-related beauty issue.

Woman with runner's face

What is runner’s face?

Runner’s face generally occurs in both men and women ages 40-plus who exercise to improve their body, and in doing so end up with a hollow and bony face, explains board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Brian S. Glatt of Premier Plastic Surgery in New Jersey. When exercising, an athlete burns off fat beneath the layers of his or her skin. This loss of fatty tissue results in a decrease of volume, which leads to a prominent appearance of the bones, forming of fine lines and a deepening of wrinkles. “Though you may look like a 20-year-old from the neck down, your face will easily give away your age,” he says.

Runners also often have wrinkles for reasons other than running. Many runners spend long hours outdoors without proper sun protection, so the wrinkles can be a result of sun exposure. Runners are also often people who have lost a lot of weight, so the wrinkles are from the skin that was previously filled with fat.

Possible skin-saving solutions

If you are worried about runner’s face, Glatt says the look of skin can be improved. “There are several solutions to rejuvenating gaunt, aged skin that has developed wrinkles or volume loss,” he tells us. Non-invasive treatments such as chemical peels and laser skin-tightening can help minimize the lines formed within the skin itself, and make a big difference in producing a more youthful appearance.

Rejuvenating your appearance can also be a combination of Botox and injectable fillers such as Restylane, Juvederm Ultra and Radiesse, Glatt explains.

How injectable treatments work

Botox treatments can target lines in the brows or around the mouth, and results typically last about three to four months, explains Glatt. Juvederm Ultra and Radiesse work to restore volume in the face, giving it a fuller, more youthful appearance. These provide results that last at least a year, and often much longer. Restylane is used mostly for finer lines and wrinkles, not deeper contours, and tends to last for six to 12 months.

“In some patients, I’ve seen Botox last the full four months, but I’ve also seen instances where results have only lasted two months – everyone is different,” he says. For runner’s face Glatt’s top recommendation for filling is Juvederm Ultra, which can restore volume to chin, cheeks, and cheekbones that become hollow or thin due to weight loss or age-related facial fat loss.

For true correction of sagging skin, however, Glatt says more invasive procedures may be required. “Eyes tend to show the first signs of aging. An eyelid lift or brow lift will rejuvenate the eye area and take years off your face.”

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