As you age and your skin begins to lose its elasticity, lines appear. These wrinkles make us look (and sometimes feel) older than we are. Lines and wrinkles can start appearing as early as when you are in your 30s and 40s. One cause of wrinkles is our genes. We may inherit certain skin types, including aging traits, in the same way as we inherit brown or blue eyes, being tall or short or having red, brown or blond hair.
There are also lifestyle choices which contribute to our skin’s aging. Sun exposure and smoking both greatly increase our skin’s aging and both can be avoided or lessened to help improve the health of our skin. Other factors, such as gravity and facial expressions aren’t necessarily under our control.
At one time, if you wanted to take steps to make your skin look younger, plastic surgery, a facelift, was one of the only treatments. Today, however, there are a number of different treatments available that may help. While stopping smoking and protecting your skin from the harmful UV rays of the sun are the most important parts of reducing the effects of aging on your skin, the following treatments are available:
Chemical peels remove the upper layers of the skin to allow clearer, newer skin to develop. Chemical peels can be superficial, medium or deep, depending on the level of damage to the skin and can improve the look of the skin. Areas of the face not helped by facelifts, such as eyelids or around the mouth may be helped by a chemical peel. These treatments help to freshen up your look but do not address serious age-related skin problems however, they can be done easily and quickly.
Dermabrasion uses an abrasive tool to remove the top layers of the skin and is often used to remove scars from accidents, acne or previous surgeries. It may be used to remove pre-cancerous growths on the skin. It can also be used to smooth out fine lines. This technique does cause bleeding and you should make sure your doctor is skilled and experienced in this type of treatment.
Laser resurfacing uses high-energy carbon dioxide and erbium lasers to smooth lines and remove scars. It can more easily treat large areas and does not cause the bleeding that is found in dermabrasion. The lasers can be targeted to different depths to help treat different types of skin problems.
Nonablation Laser Resurfacing
This newer laser treatment can improve scarring and wrinkles and do not cause wounds. Several treatments are done over a period of several months and most people do not experience “down” time after treatments.
There are several different injectable treatments, such as Botox, Dysport, Restylane and Juvederm. These types of treatments are used to specifically treat wrinkles. Botox and Dysport are muscle relaxers and Restylane and Juvederm are “fillers.” Depending on your needs, your doctor may recommend a combination of both types of injectable treatments.
There are many different products available that claim to lessen wrinkles and smooth your skin. There is not yet been proven to offer long-term help, but may temporarily smooth wrinkles and lines due to aging. New products are being introduced regularly.
Remember, no matter what method you choose, it is important to talk with your doctor about all of your options, learn the side effects of each, and work together to choose the method best for you.
“Dermabrasion,” Date Unknown, Author Unknown, PlasticSurgery.com
“Treating Aging Skin,” 2010, Staff Writer, The Cleveland Clinic Foundation
“Treating Wrinkles with Cutting-edge Technology-Without Going Under the Knife,” 2009, May 8, Katherine Harmon, ScientificAmerican.com