Woman getting filler

Are Anti-Aging Procedures for Me?

Patience and price factor into the many ways to make those fine lines disappear.

June Allan Corrigan Health & Wellness

Woman getting filler

Most people welcome the wisdom that age bestows but not so much the wrinkles and sagging skin. Time will tell. Of course, a variety of anti-aging treatments can help you battle the ravages of time. The question is, which, if any, are right for you?

One of the most popular anti-aging treatments is wrinkle-relaxing botulinum toxin therapy. More commonly known as Botox, the latter has become the go-to term for neurotoxin injections even though three other FDA-approved products exist: Dysport, Jeuveau, and Xeomin. Botox decreases muscle activity around select treatment areas and reduces frown lines, thus creating smoother-looking skin.

With little to no recovery time, Botox’s popularity endures, although it’s not a one-time fix. “That’s a big misconception,” says Dr. Natalie Driessen, a board-certified plastic surgeon, of Dermatology & Plastic Surgery Specialists in Palm Desert. “The first time, you won’t even notice much of a difference. It’s relaxing the muscle but not really doing anything for the wrinkle. But as the muscle relaxes and you don’t keep making those facial expressions, over time that deep wrinkle starts to fade.”

As with most health conditions, prevention is key. “If you’re 30 to 40 years old and don’t want to get wrinkles, Botox is a great way to prevent them,” Driessen says. “You don’t have to do it as often. The earlier you start, the less you need.”

Another anti-aging treatment known as laser resurfacing uses highly concentrated laser energy to rejuvenate skin. Results and downtime vary depending on the degree of laser used. As you might guess, ablative lasers are far more invasive than non-ablative ones but also more effective at treating severe aging symptoms.

For instance, people are frequently bothered by the fine lines that form around their mouths. Yet many are under the mistaken impression that a light, non-ablative laser or maybe even a chemical peel — yet another rejuvenating method — will banish them. “You’re going to need a seriously ablative laser like a CO2 or an

Erbium YAG, and then there’s considerable downtime,” Driessen says. “Everyone wants a quick fix, but sometimes there just isn’t one.”

Dermal fillers receive a lot of attention these days, especially when aging celebrities overdo it. In addition to products that incorporate substances that occur naturally in the body — hyaluronic acid and collagen, for example — it’s possible for a healthcare provider to inject fat from your own body to smooth out wrinkles and replace lost volume.

However, if you rely solely on fillers to rejuvenate your face, you run the risk of appearing like a caricature of yourself. Driessen compares filler misuse to a balloon. “Picture an uninflated balloon as having wrinkles, and there’s two ways to fix it. You can either blow it up, so it’s a big balloon and looks almost cartoon-like, or you can iron out the wrinkles.” For a more natural look, she advises taking the time to address wrinkles using other anti-aging treatments outlined here and fillers only in moderation to replace volume.

The aforementioned chemical peel uses a solution of different acidic chemicals to peel away the outermost layer of skin. The goal is to remove age spots and fine lines with the bonus of a brightened skin tone, but you’ll need a week or two to heal.

If you’re lukewarm about an acidic gel being applied to your face, perhaps dermabrasion or microdermabrasion treatments would be a better approach. Dermabrasion uses a rotating brush to remove the outer layer of skin so new, smoother skin will grow in its place. However, the recovery time might make you consider microdermabrasion instead. It also removes the top layer of skin but does so in a less abrasive manner and requires little to no downtime.

Microneedling is yet another minimally invasive anti-aging treatment purported to smooth and tone skin. It’s a process whereby small, sterilized needles prick the skin in order to stimulate collagen production.

If you’re determined, there’s no shortage of treatments to reverse the signs of aging. Some require time, more than a few require courage, and almost all require funds because insurance policies generally do not cover cosmetic treatments.

Do your research, and if the years haven’t crept up in earnest just yet, remember: prevention is key.