The need to be and look the best version of yourself has skyrocketed in the past years, with beauty, anti-aging, and personal care sectors taking up the largest share of the overall wellness market. However, bettering one’s physical health may put a load on facial skin and cause it to look older. 

After the pandemic, many people took up running as a practice in their wellness journey—there were around 20 million new runners in 2022 compared to the numbers in 2020. However, a recent viral Tik Tok pointed out that this sport beloved by health-conscious people worldwide makes the face age much faster as the perpetual bouncing contributes to the loss of facial skin elasticity. 

Although the claim might be hard to prove without regular testing, Gediminas Samulenas, MD, a plastic and reconstructive surgeon at Nordesthetics Clinic, a European medical tourism clinic, says there is some truth to the statement—but not because of constant motion. “Running itself does not directly impact the quality of the skin, however, a fat-burning activity can influence changes in facial appearance,” he says. “So even minor changes in weight, which are the result of regular high-intensity activity like running, might have a significant effect on facial tissues.”

What Causes Facial Aging?

The surgeon explains that facial changes are caused by two main factors: volume loss and the actual ptosis—eyelid drooping—of facial layers. The latter becomes evident around the age of 50, while volume loss can happen at any time, triggered by a specific activity, for example, running. Nevertheless, the drop in skin volume should not be regarded as premature aging. 

“When mid-face starts losing volume, the first tell-tale symptoms appear: the tear through is more pronounced, a mid-cheek fold might be more evident, the nasolabial folds get deeper, etc,” Samulenas adds. “Although these changes might be perceived as premature aging, that is not true because they are simply the result of volume insufficiency. The condition might be easily resolved by revolumizing procedures like fat transfer and fillers,.” 

Inconspicuous Reasons Face Might Look Older

The latest buzz around experimental beauty treatments, such as taking diabetes drugs like Ozempic for rapid weight loss, is also one of the activities that make the face look older.

“When there are rapid weight fluctuations due to certain medications like Ozempic or other weight loss methods, the tissues fail to adapt and remodel, causing the look of premature aging. Rapid weight loss is always more severe on the appearance compared to gradual weight loss because the body does not adapt as fast,” Samulenas says. “This is especially a problem for more mature bodies because a young one can better catch up with weight changes and look better after weight loss.”

Samulenas also lists other unexpected reasons that cause facial skin changes and are usually overlooked by people, like insufficient water consumption, lack of skin care, very active mimicry, and incorrect facial massaging, as well as some activities that people are generally aware of but not always take steps to avoid—intensive UV exposure and smoking.