Every year the number of people getting surgical and non-surgical cosmetic procedures increases worldwide. People desperately want to turn back the hands of time and reverse the aging process. Fortunately, there are many anti-aging procedures available that can help you look younger.
What is aging?
Two types of aging occur in the human body, intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic aging is the normal pre-programed aging of all the cells in the human body. Everyone is susceptible to this biologically predetermined form of aging. Extrinsic aging is premature aging caused by our choices in lifestyle, such as sun exposure, smoking, excess alcohol, poor diet, lack of exercise, improper hygiene, and insufficient sleep. These factors can be corrected to prevent premature aging.
Can non-surgical anti-aging procedures make you look younger?
Many non-surgical cosmetic procedures can help you look younger. They are not a substitute for surgery, but the results are impressive and may help you delay surgery for as long as possible.
There are many benefits to non-surgical procedures.
- They do not carry the risks associated with surgery and general anesthesia.
- There is also less downtime and quicker recoveries than with surgery.
What are the top non-surgical, anti-aging procedures for the face?
- Botox. The number one number non-surgical cosmetic procedure worldwide is Botox. Since its discovery over 20 years ago, it has experienced a meteoric rise to the top of the most desired cosmetic procedure list every year. Botox is an injectable muscle relaxer derived from a protein found in the bacteria Clostridium. If your muscles cannot move, they cannot make wrinkles in your skin. It is FDA-approved to treat the wrinkles on your forehead, between your eyebrows (glabella), and around your eyes (crow's feet). Several tiny injections are strategically placed into the targeted muscle groups. Botox is used off-label to treat wrinkles on the nose, under the eyes, around the mouth, on the chin, on the neck, and around the jawline. The only downside to Botox is that it is temporary, lasting about 3-4 months. There is no downtime. A few common temporary side effects, such as bruising, swelling, and redness, can occur. There are other serious but rare side effects, including allergic reactions.
- Dermal fillers. Dermal fillers can volumize, contour, sculpt, and lessen the appearance of wrinkles on the face. They are substances that are injected into or under the skin. The most popular fillers consist of hyaluronic acid (Juvederm), which is a substance our body makes. Fillers give instant results. Other fillers contain calcium hydroxylapatite (Radiesse) or polymethyl methacrylate (Bellafill). Poly-L lactic acid (Sculptra) is a bio-stimulatory agent that is injected like a filler, but it is not a traditional filler. It stimulates our bodies to produce collagen, so it takes time to see the results. Traditional fillers have immediate results. Many fillers are FDA-approved to treat the nasolabial folds, cheeks, perioral area, and lips. They have been used off-label in the jawline, chin, temples, under the eyes, nose, neck, and forehead. Fillers are not interchangeable, and each one works in specific areas. There is no downtime in skilled, knowledgeable hands and few common side effects, such as redness, bruising and swelling. There are severe side effects like blindness or stroke, but they are rare. The only downside to dermal fillers is that many are not permanent and must be repeated every 6-24 months, depending on the type of filler.
- Chemical peels. Chemical peels are another top non-surgical procedure that helps improve the texture and color of your skin while removing scars, fine lines, and wrinkles on the face. There are different strengths of peels that correlate with the depth of penetration. The depth of the peel will dictate the amount of downtime, risks, and benefits of the peel. The more superficial the peel, the less downtime, risk, and benefits you will glean. Mild, superficial peels can help fade hyperpigmentation, smooth the skin's texture, and help erase fine lines. Medium-strength peels target deeper wrinkles and scars. Deep peels work on deep wrinkles and permanent, etched-in lines. For the best results, periodic maintenance peels are required to keep you looking good.
Laser resurfacing. Laser resurfacing can fade brown spots, improve the skin's texture, and erase wrinkles. There are two types of laser resurfacing procedures, ablative and non-ablative.
- Ablative laser resurfacing uses a laser to remove layers or pieces of the skin on the face. These lasers can be fractionated or unfractionated. Fractionated lasers remove tiny columns of skin to hasten the healing process. Multiple treatments are needed to reach your goals. Non-fractionated lasers remove entire layers of the skin, making healing times longer and carrying more risk of scarring. Non-fractionated ablative lasers are the gold standard for anti-aging and usually only require one treatment. The results of fractionated ablative lasers are not identical but can come close after several sessions.
- Non-ablative lasers can be fractionated and unfractionated as well. These lasers do not damage the top layer of the skin but target deeper areas of the skin. As with ablative lasers, fractionated non-ablative lasers target only tiny pieces of the skin to reduce the downtime, while non-fractionated non-ablative lasers target the entire deeper layer of the skin. Multiple sessions are needed to achieve the best results; however, the results will not mimic those of ablative non-fractionated lasers.
- Intense pulsed light (IPL). Intense pulsed light treatments are a great way to improve the skin's texture, remove broken blood vessels, fade brown spots and fine lines, and even remove unwanted hair from the face without damaging the top layer of your skin. Light treatments differ from a laser in the type of light used. Lasers emit only one wavelength of light, while IPL emits several wavelengths to target different problems in the skin. The recovery times are quicker with light treatments than with laser and have few side effects, such as redness and swelling. As with lasers, knowledgeable professionals should perform IPL treatments to avoid serious complications like scarring. Several treatments are necessary to achieve your goals, and follow-up treatments are necessary to maintain your results.
The demand for cosmetic procedures increases every year. In response, more and more procedures have become available to keep you looking younger for longer. Many seek non-surgical options, such as Botox and fillers, because they have fewer health risks and faster recovery. In properly trained hands, these non-surgical procedures yield remarkable results.