Treatments for aging skin are on the rise, with more adults wanting to look as young as they feel, compete in a younger job market, or preserve youthful skin before wrinkles develop. In the U.S., nonsurgical treatments increased 4.2 percent in 2017, according to the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.
The most common nonsurgical cosmetic treatments include Botox, fillers, and laser therapy. These treatments are simple, convenient ways men and women can enhance their appearances without committing to a more invasive surgical procedure.
"Historically, facial cosmetic procedures have gotten a bad rap for botched or noticeable changes. At UT Southwestern Medical Center, we help our patients achieve a natural look. Our board-certified doctors offer safety, precision, and expertise, and we are prepared to discuss the spectrum of nonsurgical and surgical treatment options available."
How nonsurgical treatment options work
Botox, fillers, and lasers target various factors that influence a person’s appearance, such as pigmentation, muscles, volume loss, and redness/blood vessels. The devices and agents we use in these treatments break down dead skin cells, smooth wrinkles, tighten the skin, and reduce fatty deposits. Results can last three months to more than one year.
Botulinum toxins (Botox, Dysport)
The activity of the muscle tissue surrounding the forehead and eyes can cause wrinkled skin as we age. Products such as Botox and Dysport (Botulinum toxins) gently weakens the muscles in these areas, reducing lines and wrinkles known as “11’s” and crow’s feet. When injected correctly, these products can also help lift and even out the eyebrows and eyelids. We can target specific muscles to create a more balanced appearance.
Botox and Dysport are made from a neurotoxin called botulinum toxin and are injected into the skin through a fine needle. The procedure is low-risk and painless. Patients typically see results within 48 to 72 hours, and the effects typically last three months.
As we age, our faces lose some volume, causing a more aged, hollow look. However, fillers made of hyaluronic acid – a compound similar to a natural substance in the skin – can add volume for six to 12 months with a simple injection. We prefer to add fillers conservatively so the changes are not drastic and are more subtle. It is reassuring to our first-time patients that the filler injections can be reversed if a patient chooses.
While commonplace, it is important to understand that these are medical procedures and warrant expertise. Choosing a board-certified plastic surgeon helps reassure patients that their plastic surgeon is adequately trained in these areas.
Laser therapy can target a number of issues within the skin and reduce the appearance of facial wrinkles, age spots, scars, blood vessels, and blemishes. The majority of these are office-based and performed using a topical or local anesthetic. Recovery is completely dependent on the type of laser utilized and may range from an hour to many days. Most procedures do result in temporary redness that fades over time, depending on the procedure performed.
Botulinum toxins, fillers, and laser therapy have been available for many years and, when expertly administered, are safe and effective for improving the appearance of aging skin.