As we age, many changes occur not only to our bodies but also to our skin. Many baby boomers who worshipped the sun in their teens are now faced with the wrinkles, pigment changes and, in some cases, skin neoplasms that long-term sun-exposure can cause. Long-term cigarette smokers find that they now suffer from skin damage and premature aging caused by the destruction of microscopic blood vessels. Finally, wrinkles and dark spots eventually come to mar the complexions of even the most cautious among us. In part three of my facial rejuvenation series, I will discuss the physical changes that the texture and color of our skin may experience as we age, as well as some of the causes and subsequent cosmetic treatment options.
Fortunately, there are many exceptional non-surgical treatment options for damaged skin, including laser resurfacing, chemical peels, and microdermabrasion. Given the sheer variety of cosmetic treatment options available, we have the opportunity to carefully examine every patient’s specific areas of concern, evaluate the type and severity of the problems, and choose a treatment plan that is customized to each patient’s personal needs and goals. For example, mild to moderate skin wrinkling and pigment changes among patients in their 30’s and 40’s might require only a mild peel, while for a patient in their 50’s or 60’s with deeper wrinkling, a deeper peel or even laser resurfacing might be indicated.
A particularly effective approach to skin imperfections is the Sciton® laser resurfacing system. The Sciton® Erbium laser uses light energy to safely exfoliate dead and damaged cells that make up the upper layers of the skin. The healing cells then rapidly produce collagen, resulting in fresher, more vital looking skin. The Erbium laser is completely adjustable, allowing it to treat conditions such as wrinkling, severe acne, post-trauma scarring, keratosis, and pigment irregularities as well as patients with differing skin tones safely and effectively. Many patients will be able to see results after one treatment, but some may require additional sessions.
For those seeking more subtle, minimally-invasive approaches, trichloroacetic acid (TCA) peels can revitalize skin with minimal downtime while addressing many skin conditions including acne, hyperpigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles, rough or scaly patches of skin, and scars by chemically inducing exfoliation to reveal healthy, undamaged skin and enhance new skin cell production. Moreover, Botox® cosmetic injections cause facial muscles to relax, smoothing the appearance of wrinkles and furrows around the eyes and forehead to create a more youthful appearance and even, in some cases, preventing further wrinkles from forming with results lasting an average of 4-6 months.
The key to developing a long term approach to facial rejuvenation is to allow surgical and non-surgical procedures to complement one another, achieving even greater overall results. For some of my patients, areas of the face or neck might benefit from slimming and contouring with liposuction while others may experience a loss of volume and could benefit from autologous fat transfer, also known as fat injection. The process of fat transfer allows me to take subcutaneous fat from one area of the body, using liposuction techniques, to fill aged or hollowed-out areas with naturally-added volume. Harvested fat is purified before being re-injected into sunken facial areas including the lips and cheeks. The donor fat can be taken from various areas on the body, for example the abdomen, and once injected I am able to sculpt the fat to provide a natural, more youthful and long-lasting effect.
As with all procedures, it is important for you to schedule a consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon familiar with the intricacies of the face to ensure the best treatment for your specific needs. If you are interested in learning more about skin resurfacing or working out your own individualized treatment plan, please contact us today to schedule a consultation. Also be sure to connect with Dr. Burstein on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for the latest facial plastic surgery news.