The human skull never stops growing and it continues to develop throughout a person’s life. The skull does not only grow larger, it also shifts forward.
According to a study conducted by researchers at Duke University, human skulls never completely stop growing while a person is alive because the cheekbones continue to draw back as the forehead shifts forward. As these bones move, the muscle and skin connected to the muscles move with them. This causes a person’s appearance to continue to change. Facial bones all move forward as well. This causes support for the soft tissues on top of those bones to diminish. The result is that faces sag and droop more than they would otherwise.
Beyond the cosmetic concerns of shifting skull bones, there are medical issues associated with this process as well. For example, tissues that droop around the eyes might lead to loss of vision, dry eyes or too much tearing in the eyes. The study at Duke used CT scans from 100 men and women to determine what sort of bone growth happens in the skull. The results are significant since most bones cease growing after puberty. Many experts thought that skull development ceased after puberty as well.