Plastic surgery is the way to rejuvenate your looks, especially when it comes to the face. The question that patients and surgeons alike have been asking is, what can be done prior to the need for rejuvenation? Some people are hearing the word pre-rejuvenation fall into today’s lexicon. What does that mean – prejuvenation?
In the battle against the signs of aging, some folks are saying we should be learning an approach some Millennials are taking: start early and take care of your skin. In other words, for the best results in the fight against aging, it’s best to start before any defects begin to mar our canvases. Board certified plastic surgeons discuss prejuvenation and how it helps patients to age gracefully, or more evenly.
The Folding Paper Test
Dr. Mark Epstein agrees with the approach the aforementioned Millennials are taking. “I think prejuvenation is a great idea,” explains Dr. Epstein, a board certified plastic surgeon in New York. “Just a couple of years ago, no one was even talking about it. I first heard about it as preventive Botox and I thought is this just an excuse to sell more Botox! But when you think about it, it totally makes sense. Why wait until the damage is more severe? Treat your skin before the problems appear, or much earlier than the problems occur.”
This turnaround in aesthetic plastic surgery has been dramatically helped by other medical fields researching the various aspects of aging and what causes them. Understanding how we age has allowed for plastic surgeons to more readily address how to prevent, or, more realistically, delay aging.
“If you think of the old folding paper analogy,” Dr. Epstein continues, “the more you fold that paper, the deeper that crease is going to be and the harder it’s going to be to smooth it out. So wait until the paper folds once.”
In this example, Dr. Epstein describes the cause of wrinkles and fine lines. Children frown, smile, and wince, too, yet these movements don’t leave permanent wrinkles and lines. The older the skin gets, the more these lines become permanently etched in. When those in their late 20’s and early 30’s begin to notice permanent lines and wrinkles, addressing them with Botox and fillers may actually help softening them so that they will be less etched over time.
Prejuvenation – Buzzword or Beauty Strategy?
Out of her office in Reno, board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Tiffany McCormack says she gets a tad suspicious when new, slick words like prejuvenation start finding their way into conversations about plastic and aesthetic surgery. “I think there’s prevention and then there’s some element of prejuvenation that’s really a buzzword right now,” Dr. McCormack shares. “What’s become more of a trend now is the 30-year-olds doing Botox and even the 20-year-olds doing Botox and fillers in their lips just to alter their appearance more than not trying to prevent aging. There’s a line there. When it comes to prevention, good skin care and some minimally-invasive procedures can have some benefits in the long run for collagen production and prevention of aging etc. But there’s a line. There’s only so much they can do.”
Dr. McCormack also worries about a slippery slope of possibly doing too much too soon. “I do get a little worried when I see that because, besides good skin care and the absence of certain environmental factors, such as smoking and sun damage, it’s really hard to know what you’re pre-treating.”
Jason Cooper, MD, a board certified plastic surgeon who practices in Florida, is also a bit hesitant. “Whenever I hear buzzwords like prejuvenation, it always gives me a little trepidation, to use another big word,” he shares. “And the reason why is it’s all about expectations. It’s really understanding who that person is and how they really view their quote/unquote ‘prejuvenation’.”
Do Buzzwords Interfere with Good Communication?
Dr. Cooper worries overall that catchy buzzwords can disrupt the kind of vital communication between a plastic surgeon and patient. And while there is certainly some science and empirical evidence behind prejuvenation, it is still not so different than any other marketing ploy when the tire hits the pavement.
“You want to make sure the patient has realistic expectations and begin to develop a doctor patient relationship, particularly when one presents with the idea they are experiencing early aging and they need prejuvenation,” continues Dr. Cooper. “I think the most important part of that is develop a relationship so that prejuvenation can at some point turn into rejuvenation in your relationship.”
The Difference Between ‘Pre’ and ‘Re’ May Be ‘When’
Ultimately, prejuvenation operates along the assumption that patients do not want to age normally. Some may take great care of themselves while wishing to age gracefully, rather than perpetually looking 30 years old. This difference in desires is where prejuvenation actually matters.
“We all age and we all have a problem,” shares Dr. Epstein. “The question is, does the problem bother us? If you’re the kind of person who doesn’t mind aging gracefully, prejuvenation is probably not for you. If you’re someone who says, ‘I’m 30 years old now and I don’t like the way my mother aged, I don’t want to look like that.’ Well, it’s not too early to change the course and start taking better care of yourself, both with good skin care products as well as preventive Botox and other products to rejuvenate your skin before it’s a noticeable problem.”
There’s certainly something to prejuvenation, but no buzzword nor inspiring internet post can match a personalized consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon. If fine lines and wrinkles are something someone is worried about, a consultation in the office of an experience surgeon will do more to educate than anecdotes from the internet.