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Do Your Clients Suffer From Runner's Face?

Posted: October 3, 2011

Runner’s Face. And no, this is not referring to the aggressive face an athlete makes prior to crossing that finish line. Runner’s face generally occurs in both men and women ages 40 + who exercise to improve their body, and in doing so, end up with a skeletal and bony face. When exercising, athletes burns off fat beneath the layers of their skin. The marked loss of fatty tissue results in a loss of volume, which leads to a prominent appearance of the bones, accelerated development of skin laxity and deepening of wrinkles. Though your client may look like a 20-year-old from the neck down, her face will easily give away her age. If the skin has taken a beating from pounding the pavement, there are ways to chase those wrinkles away. Runners often have wrinkles for reasons other than running itself. Many runners spend long hours outdoors without proper sun protection, so the wrinkles are 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.

“There are several solutions to rejuvenating gaunt, aged skin that has developed wrinkles or volume loss,” explains New Jersey board-certified plastic surgeon Brian S. Glatt, MD, of Premier Plastic Surgery of New Jersey. “Rejuvenating your appearance can include both surgical and nonsurgical procedures.”

A combination of Botox and injectable fillers such as Restylane, Juvederm Ultra and Radiesse can smooth wrinkles and restore fullness to the face, while further preventing signs of aging. Botox treatments can target lines in the brows or around the mouth, but the result typically lasts about three to four months. Injectable filler treatments to restore volume provide results that last at least a year, and often much longer than that.

“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,” says Glatt. Glatt’s experience has proven that Juvederm and Radiesse usually last about 12 to 16 months. Restylane, which is used mostly for finer lines and wrinkles, not deeper contours, tends to last for six to 12 months. For Runner’s Face, Glatt’s 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. This product reliably lasts up to 18 months.

"Fat grafting would be the best option for natural, long-lasting restoration of volume loss in this group of patients, but unfortunately in this group of patients there is typically very little to no fat in other areas to take from."