Runner’s Face, because you wanted to know.

I had planned on doing my monthly, ‘you found my blog by searching for what’ post today but when I was looking through the searches yesterday, there was one term that came up over and over, ‘runner’s face’.

I’m not sure how these people found my blog searching for ‘runner’s face’ because I’ve never actually written about this before but based on the amount of searches my little blog alone has gotten, this is obviously a topic many of you are looking for information on. In light of this, let me tell you what I know and what I think about ‘runner’s face’.


A few years ago a New Jersey cosmetic surgeon Brian S. Glatt, MD sent out a press release that basically said some runners, men and women, ages 30 and over, burn off so much fat beneath the layers of skin that their faces become skeletor-esque looking. He coined it as ‘Runner’s Face’. He says the marked loss of fatty tissue results in a loss of volume which leads to a prominent appearance of the bones, accelerated development of skin laxity and deepening of wrinkles. Though you may look like a 20-year old from the neck down, he says your face will easily give your age away. Of course, he suggest botox and fillers such as Restylane, Juvederm Ultra and Radiesse as a fix.

And then there is Dr. Julius Few, owner of the Few Institute for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery in Chicago and New York City who says we should reconsider running because, “The constant up-and-down force may loosen facial ligaments and cause sagging and drooping in the cheeks, jaw, and jowls, elliptical devices or exercising in a pool or on a bicycle are good substitutions.”

After running the Blue Moon I have runner's face?

After running the Blue Moon half…do I have runner’s face?

Now, let’s be honest, we’ve all seen the runners with the gaunt faces, runners with leathery faces and some with a combination of both. How much of that is actually due to long distance running or extreme exercise, and how much of that is due to diet and lack of sunscreen?

I’m going with the later. I am in no way an expert but I’m not buying into the fact that running is going to cause my face to sag, I’m just not. I wear tons of sunscreen and I moisturize daily, my diet is relatively healthy and I do not have any sagging in my face yet and I’ve been running for many years. I also believe that genetics plays a big part in the aging process as well.

Me Running

I’m not really worried about my face, but I love my runner’s legs!

I’m a little concerned that the term might actually steer people away from running and I think that’s a shame. I’d rather be healthy and fit and feel like a million bucks than sit on my sofa worrying about whether or not my face is going to sag. I have bigger things to worry about, like whether or not I’m going to PR in my next race, or how I’m going to feel after running my first Ultra.

What do you think?

Do you believe that Runner’s Face is real or a myth?

Would you stop running if you thought your face would age prematurely?

9 thoughts on “Runner’s Face, because you wanted to know.

  1. I had never heard of it before, but I guess I could see that being true….you do not look like you have it at all though! Looking great! Show that face, and body off to the world and be proud 🙂

  2. I think you’re right about the lack of sunscreen. Too much sun is very bad for our skin. I’m guilty of not putting sunscreen on my face only because I worry it’s going to burn my eyes if I sweat.. which I sweat like crazy so it’s a huge possibility. I wear a hat so that should help right? If you wear sunscreen on your face what kind do you use?

    Also, a woman over 80 ran the five miler on the 4th, won an award and my husband and I looked at each other and said wow! She doesn’t look over 65!

    • I love hearing that! A few years ago I ran a half and I was so proud of myself because I hadn’t really trained and I was going to finish in just over 2 hours. I was quite humbled when a 67 year old phenom (who had way better legs than me) passed me just before the finish line. LOL
      For sunscreen, I use neutrogena ultra sheer spf 100 with helioplex. My dermatologist said the neutrogena is the only line that has the helioplex and in his opinion it’s the best there is. I always use it, face and body. And it doesn’t hurt that we can get it at costco in a double pack that includes the face lotion for around 15 bucks.

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