Does our nose grow with age?

Does our nose grow with age?


Does our nose grow with age?

You may have heard that your nose never stops growing. As you get older, you might notice that younose looks longer and bigger than they did when you were younger. 

Is there any truth to the idea that they are still growing? 


The truth is that “Yes”, as we age our nose gets bigger but not because they are growing. The actual reason is a common scientific force known as “GRAVITY. You see that our nose is made of cartilage and while many people mistakenly believe that cartilage never stops growing. 

The fact is cartilage does stop growing. However, cartilage is made of collagen and other fibres that begin to break down as we age. Indeed, the results are drooping. So, what appears to be growth is just gravity doing its job, causing cartilage growth and that’s why our nose sag and becomes larger. 


In other words, everyone’s body naturally changes. Your nose does grow with age but only up to a certain point. After that it may change size and shape not because it’s growing but because of changes to the cartilage, bone, and skin that give your nose form and structure. 


So, let us learn a few things:


• How your nose changes over time?

In order to determine how the nose changes over the course of a lifetime, researchers in one study examined three-dimensional analyses of photographs of almost 900 Caucasian (a member of a race of people who have white or light- coloured skin) study participants between the ages of 4 and 73 years. 


The researchers examined several nasal “landmarks” such as:

1. Height
2. Bridge length
3. The length of both nostrils 
4. The tip protrusion to nasal height ratio
5. Nasal width
6. Lastly, tip angles


Then the researchers sorted the data by age and gender. The results were shocking as they found out all measurements were significantly affected by age and specifically, nasal volume, area and linear distance increased. In other words, they found that our nose appears to get longer and bigger over time.


• Nasal growth in early life

In childhood, adolescence and perhaps into early adulthood the nose is definitely growing. As you get older you might think and notice the nose you had as a baby, and what it looked like as a teenager. So, your nose is indeed growing as you get older, but it isn’t that they are growing. Instead, what you’re seeing is the effects of skin changes and gravity. The fact is that the other parts of your body changes in the same way, but your nose is more visible and more noticeable. Likewise, your nose obviously gets bigger as it grows along with the rest of your face and body. 


So, when exactly the nose stops growing is a real issue which is debated and argued among experts. Here are few assumptions and generalizations:


• Some researchers report that the nose stops growing around age 12 


• While other researchers report an older age that is around age 16 or 17, or sometimes even early adulthood. 


Definitely, gender and ethnicity may explain these differences. So, this all said once you reach adulthood, the nose stops growing. Therefore, a “larger” nose cannot be attributed to growth, but rather to the deterioration of key structures within the nose. 


• Structural nasal changes in later life

With ageing in adulthood, the nose undergoes many structural or anatomical changes such as:


1. Thinning of and loss of elasticity of the nasal skin. 
2. Drooping (sagging) of the nasal tip
3. A weakening and excessive softening of the nasal cartilage 
4. Nasal cartilage ossification, which makes it brittle (some instances)
5. Separation of the attachments between the upper and lower cartilages pieces on the sides of the nose


So in in simple words, ultimately these changes can result in the overall lengthening of the nose.


• Implications of a larger nose 

Your nose is a necessary organ that serves two key purposes such as:


1. Bringing warm, humified air into your lungs 


2. Also, providing the sense of smell


So, one should know that age related changes to the nose can impact it’s functioning, and it also have its own consequences. It significantly contributes to progressive nasal obstruction (blockage). Though, it is not a health concern, the nose also carries aesthetic value to many, as it is such a prominent facial feature. 


In conclusion, however, cartilage and skin changes may prove cosmetically unappealing to some people, and they might not be satisfied with it, so they choose to improve their facial appearance. Therefore, some people opt for surgery on their nose to enhance their appearance or improve their quality of life. 


Lastly, here are some frequently asked questions by people who are doubtful or confused


Q&A are as follows: 


1. Can a doctor fia nose that’s very small?


The answer is “yes”. Doctors can elongate the nose, and this is often done in cases of inherited or acquired deformity. However, cartilage from other areas of the body (such as the ribs) or synthetic materials can be surgically grafted onto the nasal cartilage to fill out the nose.


2. Does your nose ever stop growing?


It varies from person to person, like height. However, for boys the size and shape of the nose is probably settled by age 14 and for girls it’s probably set around age 12. But the nose continues to change, especially later in life when gravity and skin cause several changes. 




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