Turning Back Time … With a Little Help: Noninvasive, Anti-Aging Treatments
Nonsurgical cosmetic procedures to preserve or regain a person’s youthful glow seem to have become almost as routine as brushing one’s teeth.
Though most experts agree that sunscreen is the most important tool you can use to defend against visible signs of aging, there are several ways to combat wrinkles and age spots once they’ve made an appearance — without surgery.
Botox, microdermabrasion and chemical peels may be familiar terms, but it can be a challenge to understand the full spectrum of options, the problems that each treatment addresses, and which is best for you.
First, do your homework to find a qualified skin care professional who will listen to your concerns and address your specific issues. Then schedule a consultation. (The cost of most consultations can be deducted from the price of your treatment.)
Registered nurse Joanne Sargent, owner of Begin with Skin Chelmsford, takes particular care to address specifically what’s bothering a client, and not what she sees as problematic.
“Everybody is different, so it is up to the clinician to interview the client and first ask what bothers them,” she says. “Certain things may not bother certain people. You may like your crow’s feet, so I look for the best solution for their concerns.”
Some might argue that over-the-counter products are fine, but the types of lotions and creams you should use will depend on what you hope to achieve and how quickly.
“You are better off going somewhere where you can actually get creams that do something,” says Dr. Michele Sasmor of RiverSong Plastic Surgery in Newburyport. “The creams that you are buying over-the-counter have some active ingredients, but very little. If you are going to pay the money, you might as well get something that really works.”
Product lines offered by local experts include Vivite and GlyMed at Begin with Skin, PCA Skin and Decleor at Interlocks spa in Newburyport, and Mybody, Environ and Neocutis at RiverSong Plastic Surgery. If you are embarking on an at-home skin care program, it is advisable to consult a skin care professional on how best to use the products they sell.
Newcomers to anti-aging skin care may only be comfortable with the least invasive treatments. A variety of facials are offered at salons and spas that are designed to cleanse, condition, hydrate and revitalize the skin. Pore extractions and exfoliation are usually offered as well.
Topical spa treatments for the eyes and lips are also becoming popular for clients who are seeking an immediate improvement that will last a few days.
“What you’re getting is a quick fix,” says Deborah Dumont, a skin specialist at Interlocks spa. “If you are going out to a party that evening, it is great to come in to have these done earlier in the day.”
Facials typically run anywhere from $50 to $150. Many spas offer series packages that reduce the cost per facial.
Microdermabrasion, Chemical Peels, Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) Technology and Photofacials
Clients interested in taking the next step in reviving their skin may opt for microdermabrasion or a chemical peel. Microdermabrasion is a process of deep exfoliation achieved by streaming sand-like crystals across the skin’s surface. This may be used to reduce hyperpigmentation and to diminish fine lines, sun spots and age spots. There is little to no downtime (redness/swelling) following this procedure.
A chemical peel addresses many of the same issues as microdermabrasion, but this process involves a series of liquid solutions layered onto the skin.
“Chemical peels help break down surface buildup,” Dumont says. “Where they become more corrective depends on the blend [of ingredients] that we use. We have some blends of lactic acid and PCA, we have some with salicylic and lactic [acid].” Each client’s particular cocktail will depend on their skin type and the issues to be addressed, Dumont says.
Downtime with a chemical peel is likely, and clients may experience flaking of the skin for three to five days following treatment.
According to Dumont, these treatments are best done in a series, as the results are progressive in nature.
Costs typically range from $85 to $125 per treatment. Discounted series are often available.
Though microdermabrasion and chemical peels remove the top, superficial layer of skin, stubborn brown spots extend deeper and may be better addressed with IPL technology or a photofacial. These treatments use pulses of light to target and eradicate discolored skin. Rosacea, acne, redness and possibly some fine lines and wrinkles also can be improved with these services. IPL treatments and photofacials are not recommended for people with tanned skin.
Photofacials or IPL typically cost about $150 per session.
Microdermabrasion, chemical peels and IPL are approaches that may work well alone or sometimes more effectively together. In all cases, the treatments are most effective when scheduled regularly.
Botox, a brand name, has come to be used inaccurately as a generic term for the family of neurotoxins. Dysport is another commonly used neurotoxin. Both products act as muscle relaxers that prevent certain facial movements that cause wrinkles.
“What you are really trying to do when you use a neurotoxin is minimize those muscle groups that, over time, will cause wrinkles,” Sargent says.
Botox or Dysport are typically administered around the eyes and forehead. The results last for three to six months. The typical cost will range from $150 to $400 per area treated.
In many instances, the product used will depend on the service practitioner’s relationship with the manufacturer or simply patient preference.
The filler family of injectables includes products such as Juvéderm, Radiesse, Restylane and Perlane. Juvéderm, Restylane and Perlane are made with hyaluronic acid, which attracts and binds water molecules to provide volume and firmness to the skin. Radiesse is a heavier, calcium based product that stimulates collagen growth.
These treatments can be used from the eyes down to fill in creases and wrinkles, or to add volume to deflated cheeks. Juvéderm and Restylane are also used to plump the lips.
“These are very safe products,” says Dr. Elizabeth Chase co-o of Lillea Medical Aesthetics in Windham, N.H. “I reassure people that if they don’t like [their effect], it is not going to last forever.”
Fillers are dispensed by the tube and cost $450 to $650. A client will typically require two tubes per session. Results will last from nine to 12 months, according to Chase.
“To do injectables, you really do need to know facial anatomy,” Chase says. “You are doing this electively, so you want someone who has experience, knows where the nerves are and is going to give you a good outcome.”
Advancements in noninvasive treatments are being made all the time. Ask your skin care professional about the latest options and what will work best for you.
Begin with Skin
Lillea Medical Aesthetics
RiverSong Plastic Surgery