The skin is the largest organ in the body. It serves as protection against trauma, injury, and toxic chemicals. The skin changes after years of facial expressions, sun damage, and exposure to various substances.
Years of UV exposure causes uneven skin tone, wrinkles, and sun spots. Lifestyle also plays a factor: smoking, tanning, alcohol, lack of exercise, and a poor diet eventually have devastating effects on the skin. Even if you were not a sun worshipper and always applied sunscreen, sun damage and wrinkles will inevitably develop. As we age, the outer layer of skin thins, becomes dry, and loses collagen and elasticity. This is why wrinkles become more and more obvious as the years pass.
Wrinkles range from shallow to deep. Fine lines extend down to the dermis, mid-depth wrinkles pass deeper yet into the dermis, and deep wrinkles spread down into the subcutaneous tissue (below the skin). Many treatments exist for wrinkles, some more powerful and effective than others. The amount and depth of wrinkles that you have are important factors in deciding which treatment is right for you.
Botox® is a purified neurotoxin which causes paralysis of specific muscles in these areas when injected in minute amounts. Botox injections work by paralyzing the muscles that are repeatedly used for popular facial expressions such as smiles and frowns. Creases form as skin loses its elasticity and become less durable against the sun and the natural aging process. The full effect of the Botox® injection will take up to a week because the paralysis of muscles works gradually. The effect is expected to last about three to four months before more Botox® injections are required to up keep the appearance.
CO2 laser resurfacing removes the upper layers of sun-damaged skin and wrinkles, revealing healthy, smoother, younger-looking skin below. In addition, research has proven the CO2 laser peel actually shrinks the collagen in your skin by up to 30 percent, providing a tightening and lifting effect. In some cases, this may replace or complement other cosmetic procedures.
Ulthera therapy utilizes ultrasound technology to lift and tighten the skin. Through this noninvasive procedure, loose skin on the neck, brow, chin and other sagging facial features can be re-toned to create a more youthful look. Collagen is stimulated within the skin and produces the natural elasticity it once had at a younger age.
Fillers are injectable substances that will plump and tighten the skin, ultimately smoothing out wrinkles from age and over sun exposure. Collagen can be directly injected into the desirable tightening areas. Because collagen is the key component to the skin’s structure, it is important to either stimulate collagen through lasers or have direct injections of it, and because it is a natural substance, it will biodegrade into the skin. Facial fillers, such as Juvederm, Radiesse, Restylane, and Sculptra, are used to fill in and remove wrinkles.