Five ways to fight aging this summer

While enjoying your summer, implement these suggestions to turn back the clock: revamp your routine, eat healthy, get active, apply sunscreen, and consult a professional.

Revamp routine

As the skin ages and seasons change, your skin care regime may need updating. If fine lines are starting to appear, you may benefit from adding a cream with retinol—a vitamin A derivative—which rebuilds collagen levels and helps smooth fine lines. Moisture levels of your skin also decrease with age; try a heavier, ointment- based nighttime cream. And don’t over exfoliate, which can lead to inflammation of the skin. If it has been a while since a physician has evaluated your skin, make an appointment and bring the products that you are currently using. Your facial plastic surgeon will be able to tell you what combination of skin care products would be optimal.

Eat healthy

Fight against the aging process by providing your body with the nutrients and vitamins it needs to repair cell damage and build healthy new cells. Nuts and fish, which contain Omega-3 essential fatty acids, help hydrate the skin and reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Foods high in vitamin C, such as kiwis, parsley, broccoli, and blueberries, can help protect against ultraviolet damage from the sun and reduce wrinkling. Drink green tea, which is known to fight against free radical damage and reduce inflammation. While improving your diet will not eliminate wrinkles or sagging, research has shown that it will improve the texture and tone of your skin. Eat lean proteins, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables; you will feel and look better.

Get active

Find a physical activity that you enjoy doing for at least 30 minutes and incorporate it into your daily schedule. Besides the cardiovascular benefits for your heart and lungs, exercise promotes healthy blood circulation—which is vital in delivering nutrients and oxygen to your cells so they may function properly. Your skin is a living organ and depends on good circulation to stay healthy.

Apply sunscreen

Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before venturing outdoors; this allows time for the active ingredients to bind to your skin and protect it. Use at least an ounce of sunscreen with a sun protection factor of 30 to cover your body entirely. Doctors recommend using at least a teaspoon for your face, ears, and neck. The protective strength of the sunscreen dissipates over time; reapply every two hours for extended time outside or more often if you are swimming or sweating.

Consult a professional

Maybe you are putting forth the effort already with a skin care routine, healthy foods, exercise, and sunscreen protection. The next step is to talk to a facial plastic surgeon. There are plenty of minimally invasive techniques available to rejuvenate and revitalize your look. Protect your skin this summer

A variety of options to achieving a youthful neck

Summer is the perfect time to show off your young, rejuvenated neck. Whether you are trying to reduce the signs of aging or update your genetic predisposition, there are various options from low-tech treatments to cosmetic surgery. Discover what options are available and what you might want to schedule in advance of your vacation

Home remedies

You might be seeing the first signs of sagging as you progress through your 30s and 40s. As we age, the skin loses its elasticity. Your first defense may be to try neck exercises and stretching. These will strengthen the muscles around your jaw and cheeks; see your facial plastic surgeon for specific instructions. Another option is to apply a neck cream or moisturizer that contains glycolic acid, peptides, antioxidants, retinoids, vitamin A, or vitamin C. This will help firm the skin by increasing collagen production. Don’t forget: All the pampering you apply to your face, you should apply to your neck—i.e., cleanse, moisturize, and protect with sunscreen.

Laser therapy

A laser is a beam of light that can selectively transfer its energy into tissue to treat the skin. There are different strengths of lasers. Nonablative or fractionated lasers have lower energy levels than ablative lasers (e.g., CO2 or Erbium). The heat of the laser stimulates collagen production in the dermal layer with little damage to the outer epidermis layer. The collagen growth builds the support structure of the skin, and improves skin tone, texture, and fine wrinkles. These lasers usually require multiple treatments with little or no recovery time in order to bring about the desired results.

Light-based devises, e.g., Intense Pulsed Light, use flashes of light (technically not a laser) to stimulate the dermal tissues. These nonablative treatments may also be referred to as photo rejuvenation. Several sessions are usually required to achieve results with continued maintenance treatments.

Neurotoxins

You may notice if you look in the mirror that you have vertical bands running up and down your neck. These form when the muscles, platsma, that support skin start to weaken and stretch. Botox, Xeomin, or Dysport—all forms of botulinum toxin—may be injected into the muscles to help relax the bands, causing them to flatten instead of protrude. This is a temporary fix, however, lasting four to six months. For a long-lasting result, your facial plastic surgeon may recommend platysmaplasty, which is tightening the muscles surgically.

Liposuction

If you have very little excess skin on the neck, but have unsightly fat deposits, neck liposuction may be the solution. This procedure reduces fat pockets, allowing the skin to drape smoother. It can refine the jaw line and improve your profile. Liposuction is often performed as part of the neck lift surgery.

Chin implant

Your facial plastic surgeon will examine your chin and jaw line to evaluate if you have a weak chin. Sometimes a patient with a weak chin appears to have extra skin in the neck region. By augmenting the chin, the skin becomes smoother and looks less “fleshy.”

Facelift

A facelift revitalizes the lower two-thirds of your face by lifting and tightening sagging skin and underlying tissue, reducing jowls, and refining the jaw line. Incisions are made behind your hairline, around the ear, and possibly in the crease beneath your chin. The skin of the neck and of the cheek is lifted, the underlying connective tissue is repositioned, and excess skin is removed. The skin is secured with sutures. The facelift can be combined with fat removal in the neck or muscle tightening.

Neck lift

A neck lift may include any combination of cervicoplasty, platysmaplasty, and liposuction in order to improve the area of the neck. Cervicoplasty is reshaping of the neck skin through removal of extra skin. This may address not only the patient who is aging, but also for the patient who has experienced significant weight loss or inherently has extra skin. Regardless of age, this “turkey wattle” can make you look older and feel less attractive. Platysmaplasty is the tightening of the skin muscles, which reduces banding. Liposuction is the removal of excess fat or fatty deposits. The result will be a better angle between the neck and the jaw line, plus smooth skin.

The procedure is performed under local anesthesia and sedation. A small incision is placed in the crease under the chin to complete the liposuction and tightening to the muscles underneath. The skin is repositioned, the excess is removed, and it is secured with sutures. The incisions are closed and a light dressing is applied. The surgery is done as an outpatient procedure, which means you go home on the same day as the surgery

Making the decision

Take a look at your neck. Excess skin and fat, along with weakened muscles may be adding unnecessary years to your appearance. You can start to make small changes by including your neck in your daily routine—stretch, cleanse, moisturize, and apply sunscreen. Then, if you think you may be a good candidate for a treatment or procedure, obtain as much information as possible. Begin with your facial plastic surgeon’s office, where you will find brochures, articles, before-and-after photos, and more. This will help you discover options and formulate questions for your consultation appointment. Your surgeon will go over all of the specifics of your options and present the most advantageous treatment plan.

Recovery

Feminization surgery: Is it for me?

Facial feminization surgery is a set of procedures that alter masculine features to make them more feminine in size and shape. Initially, you may think this applies to only transgender patients; however, there is also significant interest in aging female patients as well. As we age, our features become less feminine with the eyebrows descending and becoming flatter, the cheeks losing their fullness, and jowls causing the jaw line to appear less narrow.

Feminine features

Inherently, you can look at a person’s face and immediately determine if the person is a man or a woman. There are distinct differences in the features. Starting at the hairline, men have a widow’s peak that recedes on the sides; women have a rounder hairline. Across the forehead, men tend to have a more prominent horizontal ridge of bone just above the eyebrow across the forehead. In females, the forehead is smoother and flatter with less bone projection. A woman’s brows are usually arched and set higher than a man’s. Women have smaller noses with a narrower and straighter bridge; the tip may be more defined as well. Their cheeks are fuller, with higher set lips and more teeth visible. Women have smaller chins that are more tapered than men.

Procedures

Whether you are looking to make one particular feature more feminine or several, the following information will be helpful.

Forehead contouring, forehead lift, or brow lift may be performed to shave the brow ridge and reposition the eye brows. The hairline can be adjusted by softening the peaks.

Cheek implants can restore fullness and prominence of your cheek area, making you appear more feminine and youthful. A pocket is created behind the muscles of each cheek and the permanent implant is inserted.

Rhinoplasty (nose surgery) reshapes the nose to make it smaller and more proportionate. It may be combined with forehead surgery.

Injectable fillers are a minimally invasive way to create full, very attractive lips. An upper lip lift can change the shape and increase lip projection.

Chin contouring may involve modifying the height, width, and projection of the chin. Depending on facial characteristics, the patient may benefit from inserting an implant to give the chin more projection.

Jaw contouring entails making the jaw thinner, especially the back angles below the ears. The female frame tends to be narrower at the bottom like an inverted triangle. A more masculine jaw looks squarer.

If you think your features could use some feminization, the first step is to schedule a consultation appointment with your facial plastic surgeon. Ask questions and gain an understanding of what options might be best for you.


ASK THE SURGEON

Is it true that drinking wine will help protect your skin from sunburn?

A compound found in grapes or grape derivatives may protect skin cells from skin-damaging ultraviolet radiation, according to a report this past August 2011 from the University of Barcelona and the Spanish National Research Council. The flavonoids found in grapes inhibit the chemical reaction that destroys skin cells and causes sun damage. This is not a substitute for sunscreen. There is currently not enough evidence to support medical recommendation for wine consumption for the purpose of skin protection. It is an interesting study, however, that may lead to better sun-shielding drugs and cosmetics.

HEALTH TIP

Most patients feel some sense of tension and apprehension before surgery. This can have a negative impact on pain management and wound healing. In a recent study at the Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, researchers found that listening to music during surgery reduces anxiety. They analyzed data collected from 96 patients who were awake during surgery but required a local anesthetic. Half of the patients had music playing during their surgery; the other half did not. Anxiety levels were measured through patients’ respiratory rate and self-rating scale before and after surgery. The results—published in the Annals of the Royal College of Surgeons— showed that the group with music playing scored approximately 29 percent less on anxiety levels and had an average of 11 breaths per minute versus 13 breaths per minute in the other group. Before establishing this as a standard practice, a larger scale study is necessary.

WHAT’S NEW?

There has been a media buzz about a procedure that uses plastic surgery techniques to treat migraines. The procedure relieves the pressure on the nerves believed to cause the pain. The patient identifies trigger points; the facial plastic surgeon then seeks to address the nerve compressed or impinged by surrounding bone or soft tissue. The technique is usually reserved for severe cases that have already exhausted all other medical means. The approach was developed over a decade ago by Bahman Guyuron, MD; in 2009, he led a study that was published in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. The results showed that just under 85 percent of patients who underwent the nerve decompression surgery reported at least a 50 percent reduction in migraine, measuring pain, frequency, and duration. Nearly 60 percent reported a complete elimination of pain. This study was done on a small population of patients—only 49. It is gaining ground, however, and even being recognized as a medical necessity by some insurance companies. Ask your facial plastic surgeon for more information.