We all know that our faces appear older when wrinkling and sagging starts. I also frequently tell my patients that our faces lose volume as we age, eventually resulting in a more skeletal look as that "baby fat" we once had disappears. Sun exposure can lead to damaged, irregular skin with patches of hyperpigmentation.

Cosmetic surgeons and scientists have also used terms such as "facial contrast" to describe the contrast in color between the eyes and their surrounding skin, as well as the lips and the skin surrounding them. Facial contrast has been studied before, and plays a role in making those with higher contrast appear more feminine. Makeup, which heightens these differences by accenting the lips and eyes while smoothing out the skin of the face, helps make women appear more feminine.

And, according to a new study done and published in PLS One, your facial features lose color contrast with age…and people can tell. In younger women, the lips are darker compared to the skin around them. For older women, the color of the lips fades, while the surrounding skin becomes redder, blotchier, and provides less contrast.

Fortunately, the part of the solution is simple, and one you may already have in your purse!

Lipstick and other cosmetics help provide this youthful contrast to the face. Simple, effective, and inexpensive.

In addition, excellent skin care to prevent or treat damaged, blotchy, or irregular skin will do what makeup alone cannot. Facials, appropriate moisturizers and facial serums, plus medical aesthetic treatments such as peels, lasers, and even dermabrasion can make all the difference. And always remember to wear sun block to minimize sun damage!