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Does your nose get bigger as you age and will rhinoplasty help?

At Berkeley Square Medical, we frequently encounter patients who are convinced their noses are playing a game of steady growth, year after year. Many express the unsettling feeling that their nose is gradually commandeering their face, casting a shadow over their other features. 

They wonder, “Is my nose really growing, or is it just an illusion? And if it is changing, can rhinoplasty offer a solution?” This post aims to debunk myths, shed light on the natural progression of the nose as we age, and explore the potential benefits of rhinoplasty.

The Anatomy and Development of the Nose

Every individual’s face tells a unique story, and central to that narrative is the nose. While we often admire or scrutinise its shape, size, and contours, the development and anatomy of the nose are complex and intriguing subjects.

Basic Structure

The nose is not just skin and bone; it’s a symphony of intricate components. At its core:

Bones: The upper third of your nose is primarily bone, providing the rigid structure at the bridge.

Cartilage: The lower two-thirds is made of flexible cartilage, giving shape to the nostrils and the tip.

Skin: The external layer that varies in thickness among individuals, influencing the overall appearance and texture of the nose.

Growth Patterns 

Like other parts of our body, the nose undergoes significant transformation over the years. During the early years, the nose grows proportionately with the rest of the face. As we navigate the tumultuous journey of adolescence, our noses experience the most dramatic changes. 

By the end of our teenage years, they reach their final stages of appearance, settling into a shape and size that, contrary to popular belief, remains largely consistent throughout adulthood.

As the central feature on our face, the nose naturally attracts attention and curiosity. While it may seem like it’s constantly evolving, in reality, its development slows down significantly after our teen years. But if that’s the case, why do so many feel their nose continues to grow? The answer lies in the myriad effects of ageing, which we’ll delve into in the next sections.

Debunking the Myth: Is Your Nose Really Growing?

At Berkeley Square Medical, we’ve met countless individuals certain of this phenomenon. But let’s delve into the facts. Contrary to the widely-held belief that the nose keeps expanding, it reaches its final stages of appearance during adolescence. 

This means that by the time you step into adulthood, your nose has largely settled into its definitive shape and size. So, when adults perceive that their nose is growing, it’s often not a factual growth in bone or cartilage structure.

rhinoplasty for older patient

Perception vs. Reality

Several factors can skew our perception:

Obsession with Imperfections: Often, what one might see as a glaring flaw goes unnoticed by others. Our noses, being centrally located, become easy targets for hyper-focus. A minor blemish or slight asymmetry can be magnified in our eyes, making us believe it’s growing or changing.

Self-Criticism: As the age-old saying goes, “We are our own worst critics.” This holds particularly true when evaluating our appearances. Minute changes, which might be a result of lighting, angles, or even facial expressions, can make us think our nose is enlarging, especially when we’re viewing ourselves through a critical lens.

Effects of Ageing: While the nose’s fundamental structure remains relatively stable post-adolescence, it can undergo visual changes due to the ageing process. The skin may lose elasticity, the cartilage might weaken, or the effects of gravity may cause a droop, leading one to mistakenly believe their nose is growing.

In essence, while your nose may appear different over the years, it’s not genuinely growing in the way you might think. The true culprits behind these changes are often age-related factors that alter the nose’s appearance, which we will delve deeper into in the following sections.

The Real Effects of Ageing on the Nose

While the nose doesn’t technically “grow” with age, it does undergo transformations. Let’s unravel the mystery behind these changes.

Within the intricate structure of the nose, there are fibrous attachments binding the cartilages together. Over the years, these attachments can weaken. This may not sound significant, but it has two primary visual repercussions:

As the cartilaginous support wanes, the tip of the nose can start to droop. This drooping often lends the nose a longer appearance, especially when viewed from the side.

Along with the drooping tip, the bridge of the nose might also develop a pronounced curve or hump, leading to what many describe as a “hooked” appearance.

As we age, some individuals might notice their nose becoming more narrow. This isn’t just an aesthetic concern; a narrowed nasal passage can impede airflow, leading to potential breathing difficulties.

The skin enveloping the nose doesn’t remain constant. Over time, due to factors like prolonged sun exposure, genetics, and natural ageing, the skin can thicken. This thickening, especially around the tip and nostrils, can make the nose seem broader or more bulbous.

Beyond the visual changes, structural shifts within the nose, like a deviated septum, can arise or become more pronounced with age. This can lead to problems like snoring, sleep apnea, or general difficulty in breathing through the nose.

Rhinoplasty’s Role in Addressing Age-Related Changes

Rhinoplasty emerges as a beacon of hope for those looking to navigate these changes and reclaim a semblance of their youthful appearance. But how does this procedure tackle the challenges presented by the ageing nose?

One of the noticeable alterations that ageing bestows upon the nose is the drooping of the nasal tip. Rhinoplasty intervenes by lifting and repositioning this tip to create a more youthful angle. This is not a mere superficial adjustment; the procedure strengthens the underlying structures of the nose, ensuring the results stand the test of time.

Alongside the drooping, some individuals observe a distinct curvature or hump on the bridge of their nose. Through rhinoplasty, this “hooked” appearance can be smoothed out, leading to a straighter and more harmonious nasal profile.

While the procedure’s primary focus is on the bone and cartilage structure, advancements in surgical techniques have made it possible to address the thickened skin that might envelop the nose. Surgeons can refine and reshape the nostril area, and in some cases, even employ treatments like laser therapy or dermabrasion in tandem with rhinoplasty to enhance the skin’s texture.

Beyond mere aesthetics, the functional aspect of rhinoplasty cannot be overstated. Age-related narrowing or internal structural anomalies are potential impediments to normal breathing. Rhinoplasty rectifies these, straightening any deviated septum and opening up constricted passages, thus mitigating issues such as snoring or sleep apnea.

As the central feature of our face, the nose plays a pivotal role in defining our overall appearance. Rhinoplasty seeks to ensure the nose remains in harmony with other facial features, offering an overall rejuvenated look. This visual transformation often goes hand in hand with a psychological boost. Feeling confident and content with one’s appearance can lead to heightened self-esteem, influencing social interactions and overall well-being in profoundly positive ways.

London Cosmetic Surgery Group, Berkeley Square Medical, is one of the UK’s leading providers of cosmetic surgery.  For more information about rhinoplasty with us, please visit: https://www.berkeleysquaremedical.com/rhinoplasty     

References and Further Reading

Ageing of the Nose: A Quantitative Analysis of Nasal Soft Tissue and Bone on Computed Tomography: This study analyzes age-related changes in nasal tissues and bones, informing rhinoplasty in older patients. (Journals)

Ageing of the Normal Nose in Adults: The review examines normal nasal ageing, highlighting airflow changes and appearance alterations. (Semantic Scholar)

Rhinoplasty in the Elderly: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis: This analysis focuses on rhinoplasty outcomes in the elderly, addressing specific age-related challenges. (PubMed)

Sanjay Rai

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Sanjay Rai

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