Wrinkles & Thread Veins
Some might say wrinkles are a sign of wisdom. Others see wrinkles as a sign of old age and will fight them with every means known to man (or woman). There are hundreds possibly thousands of products that claim to remove or reduce wrinkles. Many are so much snake oil. On the other hand there are several medically proven treatments available that can fight the look of aging skin and can reduce the appearance of wrinkled skin.
Why do we Wrinkle?All skin ages and therefore wrinkles to some degree as it loses the elasticity of youth. There are many things that lead to more pronounced wrinkling but the number one cause of what most people think of as wrinkles is sun exposure. The areas of the skin that are exposed to the sun most often; the face the neck, the back of the hands, and forearms, are those that tend to have the most conspicuous wrinkles. Sun exposure is also responsible for other skin problems normally associated with aging; dryness, liver spots and sagging. Wrinkles basically fall into two categories “fine lines” and deep furrows. The fine lines generally can be treated to some degree with many of the wrinkle creams and other so-called age defying topical treatments. Fine lines also respond very well to surface cosmetic procedures performed by skincare professionals. The deeper furrows or more pronounced wrinkles usually will require the more aggressive cosmetic procedures such as injections and plastic surgery.
Preventing WrinklesThere are several things beyond our control that can promote wrinkles, not the least of which are genetic factors and gravity. However you can do something about two of the generally accepted lifestyle issues that can increase the possibility of wrinkles.
- If you don’t smoke, don’t start and if you do – quit. – minimizing wrinkles is not the least health benefit you’ll achieve
- Minimize Sun exposure. Again minimizing sun exposure not only will help to prevent wrinkles and the other appearances of aging skin. UVA and UVB rays in sunlight are the number one cause of skin cancers.
Treatment for WrinklesThere is an entire industry built around the treatment of wrinkles. Some treatments are far more effective than others. Whilst there have been many dubious claims about creams and moisturizers that can reduce or eliminate wrinkles, there are several proven effective ingredients that have been shown in clinical trials to actually reduce or eliminate fine wrinkles.
- Vitamin A Acid, Retin-A– The first and only prescription topical treatment approved for the treatment of wrinkles. There are now several products with Retin-A as an ingredient.
- Alpha-hydroxy acids - These include glycolic and lactic acid, among other “fruit acids”. They are found in several products in combination with Vitamin A and Vitamin E and they have been shown to improve the appearance of mildly wrinkled skin
- Antioxidants - Much like Alpha-hydroxy acids and sometimes used in combination with them - antioxidants, along with vitamins A, C, and E, have to also been shown to offer improvement of fine wrinkles.
Cosmetic Medical ProceduresThe creams and preparations mentioned above could have some effect on reducing fine wrinkles – or preventing them from getting more pronounced. However to reduce deep wrinkles, more aggressive treatments are required performed by professional estheticians or plastic surgeons. These can include:
- Glycolic acid peels – so called “surface peels”
- Deeper peels - These peels are more intensive then a “surface” glycolic peel and will use ingredients like salicylic acid that penetrates deeper into the skin. Deeper peels do a better job of smoothing fine lines.
- Microdermabrasion - Is becoming a very popular treatment in so-called “medi-spas” The procedure basically is a sanding of the skin with a machine containing silica or aluminum crystals.
- Dermabrasion - Unlike microdermabrasion, dermabrasion is genuine surgical procedure, often performed under general anesthesia. The treating physician uses a surgical instrument to sand the skin down. Dermabrasion can produce excellent results, but outcomes are clearly based in the skills of the surgeon.
- Laser resurfacing - Lasers are now being employed by many cosmetic surgeons to deliver the same or similar results as dermabrasion with better precision and fewer side effects.
- Heat and radiofrequency - Another new variation of less invasive facial rejuvenation is to heat tissue using radiofrequency devices and infrared light sources. Though still in its infancy results to date suggest that such procedures can produce visible and lasting improvement.
- BOTOX - Injection of botulinum toxin, can reduce the "frown lines" on the forehead, fine lines around the eyes, and other wrinkles, albeit temporarily, and retreatment is necessary. Because of the potential risks involved BOTOX injections should only be handled by skilled professionals.
- Fillers - Fillers such as collagen are injected into the skin to increase volume and flatten wrinkles and folds. Other compounds that seem to last longer than collagen injections are being used such as hyaluronic acid and calcium hydroxylapatite.
- Plastic surgical procedures - Cosmetic surgical procedures are still the most effective although the most invasive forms of treating wrinkles and other signs of aging. Facelifts, brow lifts, and similar operations can be very helpful for many patients.