When you look through the magazines and beauty sites, or watch TV, it sure seems like there are tons of over the counter products you can use to turn back time. Never mind that the models are under 20 years of age, or the “over 40” models have clearly invested in some professional help.
Truth is, it’s hard to turn back time when it comes to skin damage. Best to avoid the primary aging culprits in the first place = those being no time in the sun without sunscreen, no smoking ever, limit sugar intake, be careful how much weight you lose (nothing ages your face faster than quick & significant weight loss), keep alcohol consumption down, get plenty of H20 and get plenty of sleep.
You and I both know, though, tiny wrinkles, sun & age spots, broken capillaries and a general dullness start to creep in sometime in the fabulous 40s. Just because it’s normal doesn’t mean you have to embrace these natural signs of aging if you don’t want to. While the OTC products are iffy, the good news is there are treatments that you can get at the doctor’s office that help. Again, prevention is the better part of valor. But we all need a little TLC to help us look our best, especially once we’re happily living with the big 4-0.
We talked through several options with our clients at Dermatology Laser & Vein Specialists of the Carolinas, and here are some of the treatments you can use to look as young as you feel.
1) FRAXEL® Laser Treatment
Fraxel is an excellent option if you are starting to notice signs of aging. Fraxel can help with all sorts of skin concerns: brown/sun spots, acne scars, melasma, fine lines & wrinkles, and surgical scars can all be drastically improved with this laser. It is a fractional laser, meaning it treats only a fraction of the skin at a time and full treatment is completed over the course of several sessions. Fraxel is best described as a skin remodeling treatment, working from the inside out.
Why is this good? Fractional treatments will only impact a portion of the skin each time, and the healthy surrounding skin that wasn’t impacted promotes faster healing times. (less social downtime, easier recovery, etc). You can see why this is a good thing for a busy mom or working professional…the most common side effects are redness & mild swelling, both which last only a couple of days.
What does it do? Fraxel delivers columns of laser energy deep into the skin which signal your body to ramp up its natural production of collagen in that area.
And what does that mean? Collagen is a natural protein found in our bodies that provides elasticity to our skin. In terms of aging, collagen is what makes our skin appear more firm & supple, so stimulating more of it is a good thing. Think of collagen as a scaffolding underneath our skin that is holding it all together in the right place. It’s natural for our collagen to break down as we age, but certain things can expedite this process, sun exposure being the number one culprit.
Some people are also going to start getting actinic keratosis (pre-cancers) and skin cancers in their 40s. Fraxel can actually be used to treat actinic keratoses. This isn’t usually covered by health insurance, but for those who have been starting to get actinic keratoses, Fraxel treatment is the best of both worlds ~ a medical & beauty treatment in one.
2) Botox®, Dysport® or Xeomin®
These injectibles are used to relax crows feet and frown lines and to prevent future ones from forming. Also, off-label uses of Botox can include lifting eyebrows, smoothing out neck bands, tighten and softening a square jaw line, to name a few. Like the “Nefertiti lift” where Botox can be used to relax some of the platysma bands in your neck plus the muscles that pull the corners of the mouth downwards. Once the downward pulling muscles are relaxed, your face’s lifting muscles can perform their job unopposed, to create a firmer jaw and a smoother neck.
3) Juvederm Voluma®
Voluma® does exactly as its name implies…adds lost volume to the mid-face and cheeks and is FDA-approved to last up to 2 years. As you age, particularly as you go through menopause, your cheeks may lose fat and volume. The more you diet and exercise to keep your body fat down, the more fat loss you will likely see in your face. Voluma injections fill out your cheeks which not only adds youth to your appearance, but can also help to reduce under eye shadows and slightly pull up the skin in the lower half of your face. It also gives a slight boost to your body’s natural collagen production in the treated areas so it is helping a least a little bit for the long term as well.
4) Belotero Balance® and Restylane®
As you age, the skin on your face becomes “thinner” as well, due to loss of collagen and subcutaneous fat. This can aggravate the appearance of under eye dark circles. There are several fillers that can be used to help mask the appearance of under eye circles, (aka tear troughs). Not all fillers are appropriate for use in this area, but hyaluronic acid fillers like Belotero Balance® and Restylane® can do wonders for “waking up” your appearance. This is an off-label use of fillers so seeking out an expert is strongly advised. Filler treatments around the eyes do carry somewhat greater risks, and therefore are best performed by a board-certified physician injector.
5) Juvederm Volbella®
Juvederm Volbella® is the new go-to treatment to add fullness to your lips. It is FDA-approved to last through one year. It increases volume and softens lines around the mouth (like lipstick lines) and produces a very natural look. Plumping your thinning lips and the appearance of thin lips is one way women often take several years off their look.
6) CoolMini™ Coolsculpting®
CoolSculpting in the neck area is for treating submental fat, or “double-chins.” Like the standard CoolSculpting procedure, it freezes 20-30% of excess fat in the treatment area; the only difference is a smaller applicator called CoolMini™. While this addresses your double chin, it will not directly help with jowls or laxity at the jawline. Just like CoolSculpting body treatments, it will take approximately 3 months to see full results and typically 1-2 seasons will be needed.
7) Medical Grade Peels
These treatments should be (and sometimes must be) performed by a physician and are usually not given any fancy packaging or attractive names, but rather referred to by their active ingredient. Trichloroacetic peels (TCA), for example, are also good for overall peeling and vary in strength, and should definitely be performed by a physician due to the risks associated with higher strengths.
Lighter peels, such as glycolic acid peels and salicylic acid peels, won’t accomplish much in terms of brown spots but they can improve texture & tone and soften fine lines.
8) Products like Retin A, Serums and Sunscreen
Sunscreen is the #1 anti-aging/prevention product available anywhere (Boring, yes…but we have to harp on this because one because it helps prevent the need for any of the skin rejuvenation treatments/items listed above). We at DLVSC recommend and sell over a dozen sunscreen products in our Skin Secrets store at the practice as well as online, including by elta® along with items from Revision and sunforgettable® by colorescience®.
Retin A or Tretinoin is an excellent topical for improving the signs of aging on the skin, brown spots, fine lines & wrinkles, and even breakouts. It requires a prescription but can be bought in the DLSVC on-location Skin Secrets store. Many dermatologists use Tretinoin as the first line of defense on aging skin.
Two serums DLVSC recommends are Teoxane RHA Serum, a hyaluronic acid anti aging serum, and the iS Clinical Pro-Heal Serum, which is one of the more popular products they sell to calm inflammation, breakouts, redness, skin irritation, etc.
There are so many options for you to consider, to many to list here, but these are some of the most commonly used. Each person’s treatment and “over-40-anti-aging-plan” will be unique, and tailored to their individual wants and needs. You can set up a consult with Dermatology Laser & Vein Specialists of the Carolinas to talk through what is right for you.
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1918 Randolph Road Suite 550 Phone: 704-375-6766