The Surgeon Minute

Putting the Brakes on Facial Aging

Putting the Brakes on Facial Aging

Facial aging does not happen overnight. Beginning as early as our late 20’s, skin starts to exhibit the first signs of sun damage in the form of brown spots and redness. Then, in the 30’s, we begin to lose both volume and collagen in the face, resulting in fine lines and wrinkles.

While we can not stop the march of time (and it’s partner, ever-present gravity), we can take preventive measures to keep our skin vibrant, healthy and youthful looking. Dr. Tiffany McCormack of Reno, NV discusses the importance of prevention while walking us through the many things that can be done to keep you look naturally younger without surgery.

Sunblock, the Preventive Aging Powerhouse

For women who are hitting 30 and onto what’s beyond, it is important to start thinking about prevention. “I always tell my patients about sunblock,” says Dr. McCormack. The regular use of a good UVA/UVB sunblock is one of the single greatest things that you can do to slow down facial aging. It will:

  • help to keep your skin looking smooth, not crepey
  • prevent discoloration (brown spots and redness)
  • protect the skin’s underlying collagen, staving off fine lines and wrinkles

Sunblock works to forestall the textural changes in the skin that are the earliest signs of aging. The three most important things with a sunblock are:

  • find one that you like so that you will wear it everyday, rain or shine
  • reapply every 2-3 hours
  • use one that has both UVA and UVB protection

While fending off sun damage is number one when it comes to prevention, you also want to avoid smoking and toxins of any kind, including environmental toxins. It’s important to keep your body hydrated inside and out so drink lots of water and eat a diet rich in antioxidant foods like brightly colored fruits and vegetables.

Skin Tone, Texture & Tightening

The next step in combating facial aging non-surgically is high quality skin care and lasers. Both will help to improve your skin tone and texture by removing any of the early signs of damage. A laser such as IPL (intense pulsed light) can eradicate both sun spots and redness, evening out your skin tone. Smooth skin is more youthful-looking skin. Lasers can also address fine lines and wrinkles by stimulating collagen production.

Facial aging - Using IPL to correct.

Collagen is a structural protein found in the skin. If the skin on your face is a house, then collagen is its foundation. It keeps skin from collapsing into wrinkles and lines while also making it more elastic or supple. We all start to lose a percentage of the collagen in our skin starting at age 30. Anything we can do to stimulate or stave off this collagen loss at an earlier age is a good thing when it comes to combating facial aging. Other non-surgical procedures that help to stimulate collagen are modalities like Ultherapy that use ultrasound energy to strengthen the underlying structures of the face, and certain injectables such as Sculptra. The great by-product of stimulating collagen production is that it tightens your skin, almost like a non-surgical facelift.

Volume & Injectables

Thanks to the gradual nose dive of our skin’s collagen starting in our third decade, our face begins to lose volume – and it never really stops. Plastic surgeons now know that it is volume loss, perhaps even more than gravity, that causes us to look older than we feel. By adding volume back into the face with either fillers or fat grafting, we can help to turn back the clock.

Injectables are really the middle ground between prevention and surgery. In the hands of an experienced injector, fillers can give a natural look. They’ve gotten a bad rap, “because we’ve all seen women who are overfilled and don’t look like themselves,” explains McCormack. But if done in the right way, no one needs to know that you had fillers unless you decide to tell them.

Natural Looking Results

Many women seem to have a fear that if they start doing plastic surgery procedures or treatments in a plastic surgeon’s office, they are going to wind up looking unnatural. “What I would like to impress upon women is that if you can do some preventive measures early, it really keeps you from having to do anything aggressive later on,” says McCormack. Prevention allows you to prolong the look of youth while keeping your tissues in good condition.

Furthermore, if you do decide on surgery down the road, you are going to get a better, more natural-looking result because your skin will be in great condition. The goal for any plastic surgeon is to help you to feel good about yourself. “I love helping my patients to maintain a youthful look,” shares McCormack. “I’m not trying to make them look like someone else. I’m not trying to make a 50 year old women look 30. I just want her to feel good about her face when she goes out into the public eye.”

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