December 7, 2007 12:32 PM   Subscribe

Where does old man face come from? You know, that sort of moon shaped jutting chin thing.

It was a lot easier to find cartoony versions of the face shape I'm looking for on google, so here are some examples. 1. 2.

I'm sure part of it has to be a missing teeth thing, but I've seen guys with chins that definitely jut or maybe just have some kind of growth. is this an explained phenomenon or what?
posted by shmegegge to Health & Fitness (9 answers total)
posted by 45moore45 at 12:41 PM on December 7, 2007

Your nose never stops growing and your mouth is pulled inward when you lack teeth.
posted by pieoverdone at 12:50 PM on December 7, 2007

Losing teeth makes the chin appear more prominent. Thin young people without teeth have the same facial characteristics.
posted by OmieWise at 12:53 PM on December 7, 2007

Tooth loss is the big factor I believe, also the nose keeps growing forward, the ears keep growing back and out and the neck drops in to a more stooped position creating more negative space underneath the chin which accentuates the appearance of elongation
posted by subtle_squid at 1:20 PM on December 7, 2007

Sometimes it's the result of Marfan Syndrome.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 2:14 PM on December 7, 2007

Acromegalics have facial features of the sort you (and subtle_squid) describe, particularly the prominent chin (the 4th and 5th images especially display this).

Acromegaly results from excessive growth hormone, often from a pituitary tumor, and I think it is reasonable to guess growth hormone to be at the root of 'old man face,' as well.

It could be excessive exposure accumulated over the course of a lifetime, but I suspect that, as the Hayflick Limit comes into play with advanced age, more growth hormone is secreted in response, and the results are as you have observed.
posted by jamjam at 2:22 PM on December 7, 2007 [1 favorite]

Cartilage growth (ears and nose), tooth loss, and also bone resorption and remodeling (chin and skull) all contribute to this. Skin becomes less elastic with age, and sags off the bone it's attached to, and this produces the rest of the effect.
posted by ikkyu2 at 2:52 PM on December 7, 2007

If you have lost your teeth, your jawbone will deteriorate. Then, even if you're wearing dentures, your mouth will look like you don't have your teeth in - sort of collapsed.

My dad, who was born in England in the 30's and grew up poor, got dentures when he was in his 20's. When he was in his early 50's, he got titanium inplants in both his upper and lower jaw to correct the mild deterioration he had. He covered the change in his appearance by shaving his beard before the surgery and staying clean-shaven for a few months after.
posted by found dog one eye at 3:47 PM on December 7, 2007

Oh my gosh. Those acromegaly photos ... the features are just like my ex-fiancé. My 6'8" ex-fiancé. Now I wonder...
posted by limeonaire at 6:18 PM on December 7, 2007

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