Winning the Wrinkle War

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But with age, years of sun exposure your skin looses its youthful bounce. It begins the process of acquiring over time permanent lines wrinkles. Aging is a cumulative series of events often occurring simultaneously but at different speeds among different individuals. When discussing skin aging we can categorize these events into two broad groups: intrinsic aging and extrinsic aging.
Intrinsic Aging
These changes often occur in cycles over time. They don’t happen overnight, but represent a gradual buildup and interplay of specific aging factors. These are genetic factors, cellular aging and declining hormones, such as estrogen in women and testosterone in men. With declining hormones after menopause, collagen declines by 30% as a result, skin begins to lose its elasticity and thickness. Moreover, the turnover rate of cells falls off.
Extrinsic Aging
The second category is extrinsic aging where environmental offenders like sun exposure, heat exposure, smoking, unhealthy diet and stress can cause more damage to your skin.
A wrinkle is made up of three parts: the skin component, the underlying muscle component and the subcutaneous fat and connective tissue components. As we grow older, we loose fat from the central part of the face. It is the loss of fat under the eyes and cheeks that gives rise to a hollowed, aged look. To win the war against wrinkles, you have to treat not only the skin, but underlying muscle layer and the loss of fat as well.
Improving the appearance and quality of the skin component
This starts with daily application of topical products as Alpha Hydroxy Acid, Retinoic Acid and creams containing Vitamin C. This is in addition to a long list of ingredients which could also be useful; however these are the main components that should be present in any anti-aging cream. These creams will improve collagen production, thicken the skin, and reduce lines and wrinkles.
These are skin rejuvenating and resurfacing procedures that involve polishing away dead skin cells from the top layer of skin and/or removing the deeper, underlying layers to encourage the regeneration of fresh new skin. These treatments are generally referred to as peels. Peels can be classified according to its depth of penetration into superficial, medium depth and deep peels. Superficial peels or light peels are very popular and involve no recovery time. The most popular are Glycolic Acid, Trichloroacetic Acid and Microderm-abrasion by using crystals.
A light peel will give you great exfoliation and cleaner pores, help improve whiteheads and blackheads. It will rapidly bring radiance back to dull, ashen-looking skin, by taking off dead skin cells. However, light peels can not be used for removal of wrinkles and discolorations as they simply do not go deep enough.
A newly introduced light peel is Phytic Acid peel which induces an internal rather than external peel of the skin but still gives the same benefits of ordinary peelings.
Medium depth medical peels are more effective than superficial peels in improving the look of wrinkles, since the depth of the treatment reaches far enough to renew the top layer of skin after recovery. Recovery time runs about five to ten days. The patient should keep herself away from sun exposure. Only a doctor should perform a medium peel. Since both layers of the skin are involved, there are risks of temporary dark discolorations or white discoloration from loss of pigment.
Deep medical peels are rarely performed because they need general anesthesia however they are very effective in treating acne scars and wrinkles. They can be a good substitute to laser resurfacing if performed efficiently and with great precautions. The recovery time can take from one to two months. The patient should not be exposed to sun for long times. Redness of the skin can last up to six months, however the marvelous results encourages some people to do it.
A new breakthrough in the field of facial rejuvenation is mesotherapy which is microinjection of different vitamins, Hayaluronic Acid and Amino Acid in the face to improve the texture and revitalize the skin. It could be highly recommended to be done on weekly basis for one to two months after the summer to restore the broken collagen from the damaging sunrays.
Botox Injections
Treating the muscle component of the wrinkle is done by Botox injections which relaxes the underlying muscles. Botox is predominantly used to treat lines in the forehead and around the eye area for crow’s feet, visibly flattening them for three to six months by cutting back on the muscle’s ability to contract and pull on the skin. Botox is rarely used on the lower part of the face and around the mouth. A successful Botox injection should improve the wrinkles without affecting the facial expressions as much as possible. Over-injecting of Botox gives an artificial and rather ugly look. You always have to discuss with your doctor whether you like to give your eyebrow a slight lift up or not. It is also possible to make your eyes look a bit wider if you like just discuss it with your doctor. I always recommend injecting Botox on two sessions a week apart as it gives a better chance for keeping your facial expressions.
Botox side effects are rare. The most common one is a slight drooping of one eyelid that lasts for a few weeks and resolves spontaneously without any known exceptions.
There are also Botox substitutes (creams), a new generation of scientifically advanced creams has been developed that claim to decrease the contractile force of the muscles around the eyes. According to company claims, the new ingredient Argireline is able to address not only the skin, but the underlying muscle layer as well. There is very little scientific research on the ingredient and the effects are minimal compared to injections.
When the face ages the lines deepen due to collagen loss in the skin and the repetitive pull of muscle movement as well as significant loss of subcutaneous fat. The lines commonly affected are lines from the bottom of the nose to the corner of the mouth (nasolabial folds) and lines running down from the corner of the mouth (marionette lines).
Truly, there is no good topical solution that can correct fat loss. The only way to treat the loss of fat in the face is with injectable fillers. They are used predominantly in lower part of the face. Fillers can make a remarkable difference to your appearance.
Currently, Hyaluronic Acid fillers are being successfully used. Hyaluronic Acid is a fluid that is found most abundantly in the skin. It is ideal in nasolabial folds and marionette lines. Fillers can lasts for about nine months, other forms can last around three to five years. Temporary bruising of the skin can occur following injections and resolve within one week.
As you see, to wage a campaign against wrinkles, the battles must be fought on three fronts. For the skin, there are topical products, peels and mesotherapy. For the muscles, there is Botox, for the loss of fat, there are Fillers. The good news about all of them is that they work. You can choose what is most appropriate for your needs. By combining the right treatments for your specific needs you can have a beautiful, younger looking skin for life.
Editor’s Note:
The quest for eternal youth is as old as (wo-)mankind and has even given sleepless nights to Cleopatra, Aphrodite and Queen Elisabeth. Yet one must acknowledge the fact that aging is part of our lives and doing so with grace and dignity is very important. A healthy lifestyle and nutrition can work wonders along with beauty treatments and spending some time on your body and soul. Falling into extremes is unhealthy and is not and will never be encouraged by our team at all.
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