The official name for your liver spots is hyperpigmented lentigines .The official anatomy word for a wrinkle is rhytide . Those creases in the top half of your face, the rhytides plowed across your forehead and around your eyes, this is dynamic wrinkling, also called hyperfunctional facial lines ,caused by the movement of underlying muscles. Most wrinkles in the lower half of the face are static rhytides, caused by sun and gravity.
Let ‘s look in the mirror. Really look at your face.Look at your eyes, your mouth.
This is what you think you know best.
Your skin comes in three basic layers.What you can touch is the stratum corneum, a layer of flat, dead skin cells pushed up by the new cells under them. What you feel, that greasy feeling, is your acid mantle, the coating of oil and sweat that pro- tects you from germs and fungus. Under that is your dermis. Below the dermis is a layer of fat. Below the fat are the muscles of your face.
Maybe you remember all this from art school, from Figure Anatomy 201. But then, maybe not.
When you pull up your upper lip -when you show that one top tooth, the one the museum guard broke -this is your levator labii superioris muscle at work. Your sneer muscle. Let ‘s pretend you smell some old stale urine. Imagine your husband ‘s just killed himself in your family car. Imagine you have to go out and sponge his piss out of the driver’s seat. Pretend you still have to drive this stinking rusted junk pile to work, with everyone watching, everyone knowing, because it ‘s the only car you have.
Does any of this ring a bell?
When a normal person, some normal innocent person who sure as hell deserved a lot better, when she comes home from waiting tables all day and finds her husband suffocated in the family car, his bladder leaking, and she screams, this is simply her orbicularis oris stretched to the very limit.
That deep crease from each corner of your mouth to your nose is your nasolabial fold .Sometimes called your “sneer pocket.” As you age, the little round cushion of fat inside your cheek, the official anatomy word is malar fat pad, it slides lower and lower until it comes to rest against your nasolabial fold - making your face a permanent sneer.
This is just a little refresher course. A little step-by-step. Just a little brushing up. In case you don’t recognize your-self.
Now frown. This is your triangularis muscle pulling downthe corners of your orbicularis oris muscle.
Pretend you ‘re a twelve-year-old girl who loved her fatherlike crazy. You ‘re a little preteen girl who needs her dad morethan ever before. Who counted on her father always to bethere. Imagine you go to bed crying every night, your eyesclamped shut so hard they swell.
The “orange peel ” texture of your chin, , these “popply ” bumps are caused by your mentalis muscle. Your “pouting” muscle. Those frown lines you see every morning, getting deeper, running from each corner of your mouth down to the edge of your chin, those are called marionette lines .The wrin- kles between your eyebrows, they ‘re glabellar furrows .The way your swollen eyelids sag down is called ptosis .Your lateral canthal rhytides, your “crow’s-feet,” are worse every day and you ‘re only twelve fucking years old for God ‘s sake.
Don ‘t pretend you don ‘t know what this is about.
This is your face.
Now, smile - if you still can.
This is your zygomatic major muscle.Each contraction pulls your flesh apart the way tiebacks hold open the drapes in your living room window. The way cables pull aside a theater curtain, your every smile is an opening night. A premiere. You unveiling yourself.
Now, smile the way an elderly mother would when her onlyson kills himself.Smile and pat the hand of his wife and hispreteen daughter and tell them not to worry -everythingreally will work out for the best. Just keep smiling and pin upyour long gray hair.Go play bridge with your old lady friends.Powder your nose.
That huge horrible wad of fat you see hanging under your chin, your jowls, getting bigger and jigglier every day, that ‘s submental fat. That crinkly ring of wrinkles around your neck is a platysmal band .The whole slow slide of your face, your chin and neck is caused by gravity dragging down on your superficial musculo-aponeurotic system .
If you’re a little confused right now, relax. Don ‘t worry. All you need to know is this is your face. This is what you think you know best.
These are the three layers of your skin.
These are the three women in your life.
The epidermis, the dermis, and the fat.
Your wife, your daughter, and your mother.
If you’re reading this, welcome back to reality.This is where all that glorious, unlimited potential of your youth has led.All that unfulfilled promise.Here ‘s what you ‘ve done with your life.