Disclaimer: It is important to consult your physician regarding any of the suggested treatments if you have doubts or if you are worried about an allergic reaction.
In part two of our Young and Wrinkly series, we summarize the multiple solutions available to minimize wrinkles and make your skin look younger and healthier. These methods include topical creams, Botox, fillers, laser techniques, and micro-current technology. The effect of each choice can vary according to the degree of wrinkles and the general condition of your skin. To select which type of wrinkle treatment is best for your condition, you should consult a dermatologist who can examine your skin, access your general health and other pathological disorders that may be associated with skin wrinkles.
The most well-known, and commonly used treatment methods to battle wrinkles are Botox and Fillers.
Botulinum Toxin, or Botox in short, is a neurotoxic protein substance that can be injected into facial muscles causing short-term muscular paralysis to improve the appearance of wrinkles in your face. It is a popular injection used by dermatologists and aesthetic physicians to achieve fast and effective improvement of fine lines and wrinkles. Botox plays a significant role in enhancing skin elasticity that may last up to three to four months. The paralytic effect of Botox on facial muscles prohibits their movement so wrinkles don’t form. Research shows that Botox can increase skin elasticity by about 30% with its maximum result taking effect at around two months post injection and declines in its effectiveness afterward.
Injectable Fillers are another method that help your skin look younger and minimize wrinkles with its effect lasting up to a year or more. There are several types of wrinkle fillers including hyaluronic acid, synthetic fillers, collagen wrinkle fillers, and autologous wrinkle fillers. Besides being used to add volume to thin lips, fillers can also be applied as volumizers to lift the cheeks, chin, temples, and jawline. In some cases, a condition called Tyndall effect may take place. This is a bluish discoloration of the skin that may last for months. In general, the longer the filler lasts, the higher the potential for side effects. Wrinkle fillers are not suitable for all types of wrinkles – the type of filler to be used depends on a case-to-case basis and should be used with care to avoid any complications. It is recommended that facial filler treatments be carried out only by a well-trained plastic surgeon or a board-certified dermatologist.
The difference between Botox and fillers is that Botox acts by decreasing the mobility of muscles that enhance the appearance of wrinkles, while fillers add volume to the depressed area that lacks collagen, thereby promoting collagen production and replacing lost collagen. Choosing between the two depends on the type and severity of wrinkles. Generally, Botox is ideal for dynamic wrinkles, while fillers are mainly recommended in static wrinkles.
It is also important to note that as these substances are only able to exist in your body temporarily, the duration of its effects is dependent on the body’s metabolism and frequency of use. Athletes will see the effects fade faster as they tend to have a faster metabolism than most people. First-time users will also notice the effects fade faster than average, but the good news is with more frequent use, the body will be conditioned to break down these chemicals much slower, thus prolonging its longevity compared to first use.
Wrinkle creams are a more affordable and accessible solution to reduce skin wrinkles. However, there is no quick-fix wrinkle cream. To see its positive results, you should use it regularly for a long time. The most popular cream formulas available to improve the appearance of wrinkles are retinol, alpha hydroxy acids, and humectants.
Retinoids are proven to improve wrinkles with several studies showing their anti-aging influence. They are derivatives of vitamin A and work by promoting the reproduction of new skin cells while removing the old ones. They stimulate collagen growth and improve skin elasticity which is essential to fill in lines and minimize the aging process.
Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) are other topical choices for wrinkles which are extracted from fruits such as apples and oranges. They have exfoliating effects and were shown in some studies to be effective in making the skin look younger and healthier.
Hyaluronic acid (HA), a humectant and the king of glycosaminoglycan (GAG), is incredibly effective in providing our skin with the moisture it needs to stay firm and healthy. HA can provide rapid improvement in skin quality and texture while retinoids and AHAs can take a little longer.
Laser resurfacing is a highly-advanced in-clinic solution in treating most skin problems, including scars, warts and facial wrinkles. It involves applying focused beams of light onto the affected skin area to remove unhealthy skin layers in a process called laser peel of vaporization.
There are two popular types of laser used in skin resurfacing: Carbon Dioxide (CO2) and Erbium (or Erbium-YAG).
CO2 laser is most suitable for patients with deeper wrinkles and can be used around sensitive areas like the eyelids, mouth, and neck. Fractional CO2 laser safely delivers tiny little pixelated light particles into the skin to remove damaged skin layers. What it is essentially doing is its “burning” off a superficial layer of skin with minimal heat to allow regeneration of skin cells. If your doctor does not provide you with numbing cream before the treatment and you know you have a low pain threshold, don’t be afraid to ask – without numbing cream the treatment can be rather painful. If you have a relatively high threshold for pain, it is likely you will be able to sit through a session of ablative skin resurfacing but it also depends on the surface area being treated.
On the other hand, the Erbium laser is recommended for patients with fine wrinkles – it is less effective for wrinkles formed from volume loss and sagging. It helps promote the production of collagen and new skin cells in the body’s natural healing process. An Erbium treatment is much less invasive than CO2, gentler on the skin and more suitable for those with low pain tolerance. Though this non-ablative treatment is not totally painless, the sensation would be similar to that of ant bites or little pricks.
After treatment, it is normal for the skin to feel hot with erythema (like a sunburn), but that will fade after a day or two. A longer downtime is also expected with CO2 treatments as it penetrates deeper into the skin and is slightly more “aggressive” than an Er:YAG.
A laser-treated skin is photo-sensitive – it is recommended to stay out of the sun for at least 4 weeks to avoid any side effects.
It is likely that more than one treatment is needed to achieve your desired result.
Micro-current technology is a skin toning method that increases the absorption of topical anti-aging skin solutions, while repairing damaged skin and improving skin elasticity and collagen production at a cellular level. It is an old technology (previously used for stimulating facial paralysis) that has been transformed recently as an anti-aging innovation, used in health centers, spas and by medical professionals for facial contouring/lifting, muscle toning and treating aging skin layers. This technology works by introducing small harmless electrical currents through skin layers, reaching facial muscles to activate ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) production, protein synthesis, oxygenation, ion exchange, and nutrient absorption. As a result, the cells produce more collagen and elastin, which are the key ingredients for healthier and younger-looking skin. Furthermore, facial muscles can also be energized through this technique giving a healthier appearance and improve wrinkles.
Lebody Face is a small, portable micro-current toning tool that helps reverse the aging process in your face and improve the appearance of wrinkles. It promotes skin elasticity and improves collagen structure in your skin resulting in a toner, more lifted and smoother skin.
Lebody Face has two modes with 3 intensity level: the Ion mode helps the absorption of skincare formulas into deep skin layers for wrinkle reduction and skin brightening; the Lifting mode triggers fibroblast in your skin to promote collagen and elastin production.
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