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Give your skin a tune-up; low- or high-tech solutions
If you’re like most people, when you look in the mirror you immediately focus on those telltale signs of aging the fine lines creeping around your mouth, those puffy, tired-looking eyes. You take good care of your body, so shouldn’t your skin be pampered as well? Whether you’re looking for a lowor high-tech solution, or if you’re holding out for the next big thing, your facial plastic surgeon offers a variety of ways to tackle the most common skin problems.
Fine lines and wrinkles
Low-Tech: Botox® injections have become a popular way to reduce the appearance of crow’s feet and furrowed brows. Botox® is purified protein produced by the Clostridium botulinum bacterium. It is administered via tiny injections right into the overactive muscles that cause lines to form. Botox® is perfect for softening wrinkles around the eyes and between the brows and may last up to four months.
High-Tech: The latest injectable filler is Radiance, whose effects last two years. The substance is a paste of calcium hydroxyapatite, a material found in bone and teeth. Although only FDA-approved for treating incontinence, the synthetic Radiance can be legally used to treat deep wrinkles. Will Radiance replace Botox®? Not likely, however, Radiance works well in conjunction with Botox®, because it fills in the deep facial lines and wrinkles.
What’s Next? An FDA panel is reviewing an application for Artecoll, another potential competitor to Botox®. This permanent treatment, already available overseas, reduces facial wrinkles by injecting polymethyl methacrylate spheres into a collagen-containing vehicle. The spheres trigger the body’s own collagen to plump out the wrinkle.
Puffy tired looking eyes
Low-Tech: If your eyes have more bags than Coach® Store due to long hours at work and late nights partying, topical under-eye treatments should do the trick for a temporary solution. Products containing antioxidants will tighten and brighten stressed-out skin, while those containing hydroquinone and retinoids (Vitamin A derivatives) will lighten dark spots and maintain the skin’s suppleness.
High-Tech: Premature aging can be accelerated due to excessive ultraviolet exposure, which makes the eyes swell and lose elasticity. A longterm fix can be achieved with blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery), during which excess fat and skin are trimmed away. This procedure can instantly subtract years from your face.
What’s Next? The latest approach to correcting droopy eyelids is raising eyebrows literally. Surgical rejuvenation of the upper face may require elevation of the brows to provide the best outcome. The reason many people develop sagging upper lids is due to the settling of their eyebrows, which occurs over time as part of the aging process. When performed with an upper lid blepharoplasty, a brow-lift can dramatically rejuvenate the upper face. Patients can benefit from new minimally invasive techniques or surgery via endoscopic approach.
Sagging loose skin
Low-Tech: Firming creams can temporarily tighten the top layer of the skin. Research shows that skincare treatments containing Vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid) give your skin a more youthful appearance. When used over time, L-ascorbic acid can improve skin tone, clarity and texture. An added benefit is that these products also protect skin from further environmental damage.
High-Tech: There are less invasive surgical techniques, such as the S-lift, that are replacing more aggressive face lifting procedures. The s refers to the narrow s-shaped section the surgeon excises just in front of the ear. The skin is lifted, the underlying muscles and tissues are tightened and repositioned. Excess fat may also be removed. The entire procedure is usually completed within two hours. These lifts are more appropriate for younger patients that have more subtle aging changes. They use smaller incisions, which result in less bruising and swelling postop, and are less likely to create the tight, pulled back look often associated with an extensive facelift. Also growing in popularity is mini-cheek lifts or suspension, for the sagging middle face and deep folds between the nose and lips.
What’s Next? Many are trying to achieve subtle achievements in their skin contour with non-ablative laser treatments, such as photofacials, with or without Botox® injections. New lasers such as VBeam and Cooltouch® II, work deep within the dermis to diminish fine lines and reactivate skin-firming collagen. The VBeam has a dynamic cooling device (DCD) that sprays a liquid onto the skin before each laser pulse cooling the skin and providing more comfort to the patient. Since the Cooltouch® II bypasses the top pigmented layer of skin, it is ideal for all skin types. While results are not as dramatic as those attained with laser resurfacing, this treatment is preferred by patients due to the lack of side effects and minimal downtime.
Summer Skin Care Tips
Ultraviolet (UV) light and sunburn damage your skin, which can cause skin cancer. Here are some recommendationson how to reduce your risks:
- Apply sunscreen or sunblock with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15. Reapply every four hours and immediately following swimming and extensive sweating.
- Minimize exposure to the sun between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
- Wear a wide brim hat to shade your face and neck.
- Shield your eyes with sunglasses that provide 100 percent protection from UVA rays.
- Moisturize your skin; the hot summer air can cause dehydration.
- Refrain from unnecessary UV exposure with a sunlamp or a tanning salon.
Before you make an appointment
Though many of the popular non-surgical facial cosmetic procedures today are affordable, can be performed during your lunch hour, and require minimal downtime, it is still advisable to take a cautious approach. Make sure you schedule a consultation appointment with your facial plastic surgeon. It is also wise to have a complete understanding of the surgery including the risks and benefits, and above all to have realistic expectations facial plastic surgery is about enhancing the features you already have in order to feel better about yourself.