There is so much information available on the internet that is becomes extremely confusing to the average person as to what is the right thing for them to do. While genetics, race, and lifestyle play a role in how one ages, there are many universal features of the aging face which are inescapable. While it is common to be asked “should I do this or that”, the best results are always a combination of several different procedures.
- Wrinkles: Botox/Dysport relax hyperdynamic muscles which cause wrinkles with movement. There’s a reason this is the most popular cosmetic procedure in the world. It is quick, extremely effective, very little downtime, minimally painful, and with a high satisfaction rate. Common areas treated are the “11’s” or frown lines, crows feet, and forehead lines. Duration of effect is about 3-4 months. Early preventative treatment is effective in delaying lines which appear at rest (etched in lines).
- Loss of Volume: Volume loss is inevitable. The aging process in combination with sun exposure causes the face to lose fat, bone, muscle, and collagen. Starting at the age of about 32, a cc or 2 of volume is lost per year. It begins to become visible at about age 38-40. This is called the “tipping point” in women, about the time when fertility starts to drops off. Sun protection and darker skin types will delay this lost volume up to 10 or 15 years. Replacing lost volume is done with fillers. The most common fillers are made with Hyaluronic Acid (HA) which is a natural component of skin. Examples of HA fillers include Juvederm, Restylane, and Voluma. Longer lasting fillers are Sculptra and Bellafill.
- Pigmentation/Redness: Inevitably, skin gets exposed to the sun and “sun damage” occurs. The sun is responsible for destroying collagen in the skin, causing it to thin, and lose elasticity and hydration. Another effect is causing vascular fragility leading to visible vessels and redness. Melanin is produced as the body makes an effort to protect the skin resulting in “sun spots” or hyperpigmentation. Lasers are effective in treating these conditions near painlessly. For reds, VBeam or Excel V Lasers are the gold standards. Up to 3 treatments might be needed. For a few small patches of pigment, a Q Switched Laser or Excel V is used. For more diffuse patches of pigmentation, laser resurfacing (Fraxel) or IPL are good options.
- Skin Laxity/Sagging: The combination of gravity and loss of skin elasticity can result in the need for skin tightening. Surgery will give the most aggressive result for this. Alternative treatments with less downtime, less risks are Infini, Thermitight, or Ablative Lasers.
- Fat Accumlation: Aging leads to changes in metabolism and fat storage. Patients develop fatty collections which become difficult to diminish despite aggressive workout routines and diets. There are now multiple noninvasive approaches to removing fat permanently with no downtime. Larger more diffuse areas require a technology called Vanquish ME. Smaller areas can be spot treated with either Coolsculpting, Sculpsure, Ultrashape, or Liposonix. In the submental area, fat can be reduced with an injection called Kybella, a new handpiece from Coolsculpting (CoolMini) or with Thermitight. Of course surgery including liposuction or tummy tuck has been the gold standard for decades and is the best option for those desiring the most aggressive approach.
Drum roll please….The top picks from the 5 categories (Dr. Weiner’s Choices):
Dysport, Sculptra, Excel V, Infini, Coolsculpting (CoolMini)