Plastic Surgery Alternatives: Meeting Aging Halfway

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Here’s a dermatology secret: Aging happens. Our facial skin gets a little saggy; our cheeks lose volume. Expressive lines appear around the eyes. It can be annoying to wake up one morning and discover your jawline developed jowls overnight. It can be especially troubling to look older than you feel inside.

Here’s another dermatology secret: Aging gracefully doesn’t have to mean accepting dull, saggy facial skin. It’s OK to want to look as young as you feel, and you don’t have to resort to plastic surgery to do it. Try these strategies to keep your face looking young and fresh.

Prevention Above All Else

The best way to keep signs of aging at bay is to start with good skin care early in life–but it’s never too late to begin healthy habits. Remember, your skin is an organ—just like your heart or your brain. Treat your skin well by engaging in healthy lifestyle choices that nourish it:

  • Don’t smoke. Smoking snuffs out blood flow to the skin, which causes damage at the cellular level.
  • Limit or abstain from drinking alcohol. Enjoying a glass of wine now and then may be healthy for your heart, but alcohol can also dehydrate skin and lead to premature aging.
  • Hydrate from the inside out. Drink plenty of plain water to keep your skin cells plump and enable them to absorb vital nutrients.
  • Eat a healthy diet. Just like any other cells, your skin needs high-quality nutrition to maintain its structure and function.
  • Avoid the sun. Ultraviolet rays cause damage to skin cells that not only age your appearance but can also cause skin cancer. When possible, avoid being outside during the peak hours of UV radiation, between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. If you do go outside, use sunscreen and wear long-sleeved clothing and a hat to shade your face. Always avoid tanning salons.

Easy DIY Fixes for Mild Facial Aging

That beautiful, elastic complexion you enjoyed in your 20s won’t be with you forever. If you’ve developed some mild signs of aging, here’s how to improve them:

  • Cosmeceuticals. These cosmetic compounds contain nutrients and chemicals known to improve the appearance of facial skin. In particular, use a topical vitamin C preparation and a nighttime retinoid cream. Vitamin C nourishes skin cells, while retinoids (which are related to vitamin A) help regulate cell growth. This, in turn, brightens the complexion. You can start with over-the-counter versions of these products. If you don’t see improvement, consult a dermatologist to obtain stronger versions of these preparations. If your skin is very sensitive and becomes inflamed with even mild retinoids, try a product with green tea extract and caffeine.
  • Mechanical exfoliation. One of the best things you can do for your skin is to scrub it—gently and regularly—to help it shed dulling, dead surface cells. Use a sonic brush system such as a Clarisonic or a scrubbing cleanser.

Minimally Invasive Procedures for Moderate Signs of Aging

Over time, your face inevitably will lose some of its fat volume, which can lead to those dreaded jowls appearing. And you will develop expressive lines around your eyes–just don’t forget they came from a lifetime of laughter. These can both be addressed with minimally invasive procedures performed by a dermatologist:

  • BOTOX(r). This is a botulinum toxin product that, when skillfully injected, can be a great way to address those fine lines.  It works by preventing the contraction of the facial muscles that cause the lines. It’s a very safe treatment that lasts about three months. Consistent use of a botulinum toxin product can help lines on the forehead and crow’s feet soften considerably.
  • Fraxel(r) laser [BH3] therapy. The Fraxel(r) laser penetrates the skin layers and causes them to slough off and aggressively renew themselves. It’s a great way to turn back the clock to a more-youthful appearance, and its effects last from months to years. Fraxel® also can rejuvenate the skin of the hands, which often “give away” a person’s age.
  • Vascular laser therapy. This type of laser zaps spider veins and other red discolorations of the skin. It’s a very good solution for smoothing out the complexion.
  • Dermal fillers. These products literally add volume to your cheeks. Plumping up the cheeks pulls the skin tighter over the jawline, which can reduce the appearance of sagging. Dermal fillers are a safe treatment, and they last several months to a couple of years before they need to be redone.

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The One Medical blog is published by One Medical, an innovative primary care practice with offices in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Phoenix, the San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle, and Washington, DC.

Any general advice posted on our blog, website, or app is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace or substitute for any medical or other advice. The One Medical Group entities and 1Life Healthcare, Inc. make no representations or warranties and expressly disclaim any and all liability concerning any treatment, action by, or effect on any person following the general information offered or provided within or through the blog, website, or app. If you have specific concerns or a situation arises in which you require medical advice, you should consult with an appropriately trained and qualified medical services provider.