Whether you’re just starting to notice fine lines or you have more wrinkles than you care to admit, there are many new nonsurgical options to create a more youthful appearance. These include injectables, lasers or ultrasound procedures that can be performed at your doctor’s office, without anesthesia. That means you may return to many of your usual activities right away with minimal downtime and minimal side effects.
Face up to Changes
“It’s important to understand the anatomical changes that occur with aging, as this guides our treatment plan,” said board-certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon Christine A. DiEdwardo, MD, the medical director of the Lahey Center for Cosmetic and Laser Surgery at Lahey Outpatient Center, Lexington.
When we are young we have abundant collagen in the skin making it smooth and tight. We also have good volume in the deeper fat compartments of the upper face resulting in high full cheeks and a smooth jawline. As we age we lose collagen which causes wrinkling of the skin and fat atrophy in the deep upper face compartments resulting in flattening of the cheeks, jowls and heaviness along the jawline. Aging essentially results in the facial shape changing from that of an upside down egg to a rectangle.
“Goals for facial rejuvenation include: eliminating fine lines and wrinkles, softening deeper lines and folds and restoring a youthful facial shape,” said Dr. DiEdwardo. “Patients today prefer minimally invasive procedures rather than surgery to achieve their goals due to less downtime, lower risks, and lower cost, but most of all because these procedures give patients a much more natural appearance. Patients are looking for smaller procedures that they can do incrementally to achieve a look that is natural to gradually help them stay ahead of the aging curve and age gracefully.”
Choose Carefully and Go Slowly
Dr. DiEdwardo cautions all consumers to make sure they select a board-certified physician with extensive experience in using injectables. “The injector needs to understand and evaluate each patient’s facial anatomy — skin, muscle, fat compartments and bony changes — to be able to tailor the treatment plan. It takes a critical and aesthetic eye.”
During your consultation, speak up about any questions you have and don’t be afraid to take your time. “You always want whatever is done to ultimately look natural,” said Dr. DiEdwardo. “There’s an art to choosing the right product and understanding the exact location and technique to achieve a natural result.”
Because your facial anatomy evolves as you age, a procedure you did 10 years ago may not look so great now or later. “That’s why it’s good that fillers don’t last forever,” she said. “It’s often smart to start with one treatment, then add on more with subsequent procedures so the change is beautiful and gradual.”
Most dermal fillers are designed to be temporary, with components gradually absorbed by the body. “Doing little bits can help you stay ahead of the curve, such as using products and laser treatments to increase collagen production in the skin, getting injections that weaken facial muscles to prevent wrinkles from forming and softening lines and maintaining volume in the cheek with fillers,” she says.
Know Your Fillers
No two fillers are exactly alike, and each has its own texture, density and injection depth. These are some of the most popular fillers:
Hyaluronic acid based: Restylane, Juvederm, Volbella, Vollure, Prevelle Silk, Belotero Balance
Collagen-based: CosmoPlast, Evolence, Fibrel, Cosmoderm, Zyplast
Semi-permanent with poly-L-lactic acid or calcium hydroxylapatite: Sculptra Aesthetic, Radiesse
Neuromodulators: fine line and wrinkle reducers or eliminators with botulinum toxin, including Botox, Dysport and Xeomin
If you’re interested in using dermal fillers to look younger, talk to your doctor about what you’d like to have done so they can make a recommendation on which one will be best for you. Lahey Health offers these fillers and many other cosmetic services and procedures.
Which Filler Does What?
“We often use Botox to relax muscles and soften frown lines, Voluma to build up cheeks, Juvederm or Restylane to smooth marionette lines, nasolabial folds and to make thin lips plumper and Volbella to soften deep lip lines,” said Dr. DiEdwardo. “Your doctor will recommend the right product for your facial type and skin.”
Prices for fillers vary, depending upon where you live and upon the doctor or health care professional who administers the treatment. Keep in mind that complications, although rare, can happen with any of these procedures.
To maximize safety, select a doctor that has extensive experience, preferably a board-certified plastic surgeon or dermatologist who performs these procedures regularly. You and your doctor will make a plan to address changes over time.
“Keep an open mind and maintain an open dialogue as you determine your treatment plan,” said Dr. DiEdwardo.
If you’re interested in learning more about cosmetic procedures, contact Lahey Outpatient Center, Lexington.