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Wrinkles Be Gone!

Aug 17, 2007
Is growing old gracefully getting old? The wear and tear of daily abuse to our skin from sun damage, wind and pollutants only helps the aging process more. And then one day, you look in the mirror and you do not recognize the person looking back at you. The wrinkles may not yet be one of your biggest concerns, but you begin noticing that the elasticity of you skin is beginning to fade quickly.

Why? Because the most common cause of wrinkles is a loss in the elasticity of the collagen layer. Collagen is a connective tissue layer that supports the outer layer of the skin (the epidermis). As we age, there is a loss of collagen elasticity and support of the overlying skin. This causes facial wrinkling.

Aside from genetics, according to Sykes, there are other causes of wrinkles:
*Smoking clearly decreases the microcirculation to the skin and increases the amount of facial wrinkles. Many chronic tobacco users have a marked increase in the number wrinkles around their mouth (particularly on their upper lip).
* Exposure to the sun or in tanning beds also decreases the elasticity of the skin, dehydrates the skin, and increases wrinkles in the skin.
*Harmful UVA and UVB solar rays deplete the skin of moisture and thin the dermal layer of the skin.

Wrinkle Prevention
While you are still young is the time to start thinking about wrinkle prevention. Although there is no way to completely stop the aging process, there are ways to prevent pre-mature aging. According to Dermanetwork.org, here are some preventative measures you can take to prevent wrinkles:
*Avoid excessive sun exposure, including sun lamps and tanning beds. Ultraviolet exposure is greatest between 10 AM and 4 PM.
*Use sunscreens in combination with other sun-protective measures.
*Quit smoking. Smoking increases wrinkles around the mouth, but alos places you at a higher risk for skin cancer.
*Lead a healthy lifestyle: balanced diet, exercise and stress reduction.
*Daily skin care should consist of mild cleansing of the face daily, along with an application of moisturizer and daily sunscreen use.
*Have a good skin regime program in conjunction with a dermatologist or aesthetician.

Two of the really good skin care programs are Vivier Tx and Biodroga (these are not available over the counter because they have concentrations of active ingredients that exceed the limitations set by the FDA for over-the-counter products). These programs have a balance of all of the steps you need to cleanse, to hydrate, to exfoliate, to protect the skin, and to adjust its pH, so that it makes your skin healthier.

Wrinkle Treatment
Unfortunately, you cannotchange your genetic makeup. In my seminars, I jokingly say, choose your parents wisely. As indicated, you can help prevent pre-mature aging early on. But how many of us actually took aging into consideration when we were in our 20s Growing old seemed like a lifetime away, and the idea of having wrinkles seemed ridiculous. Funny how we believe that growing old will never happen to us, but it does, and when it does, it feels as if one day we just woke up and realized that we are not 20 anymore. We may still feel or act young, but our skin and our bodies tend to disagree. That is why it is so important to consider preventative treatments if you are younger, and not already trying to treat the wrinkles that somehow just appeared out of nowhere.
If you are one of the many people who did not think twice about wrinkles in your youth, there are some amazing ways to actually treat wrinkles, or temporarily reverse the aging process of our skin. Some techniques are simple and affordable, while other treatments are high-tech and costly.

Topical medication can help to thin the epidermis (outer cell layer of skin) and thicken the dermis (inner cell layer of skin). These agents remove, or exfoliate, the dead superficial skin layer, producing a healthier revitalized skin texture. Medications such as Retin-A and Tazarac, as well as topical alpha-hydroxy acids, improve the quality of the skin and reduce fine wrinkles. Vitamin C, such as that found in the Vivier line of skin care products, also are useful, as they stimulate collagen formation. Another very useful cream program is the Vivier Tx system that helps to get rid of aging brown spots without surgery or lasers.

If you have smaller wrinkles, either around the mouth or crows feet (around the eyes), there are treatments that can fill in the areas where there are creases or wrinkles. Part of the exciting news about treating wrinkles in the facial area today are that there are several new filler options under evaluation that hopefully will be available in the near future. Examples of these are Restylane, Radiance, and Artefil. Advantages of some of these fillers are longer-lasting results and a more complete correction of the deformities. Again, though, the choice of the treatment modality depends on multiple factors. Therefore, patients need to be aware of this and seek proper consultation from physicians and staff who are properly trained to evaluate them and individualize their treatment and management.

In 2003, the FDA approved a new injectable gel to treat wrinkles, called Restylane. Studies conducted by the manufacturer showed that Restylane is safe and effective for filling moderate to severe wrinkles around the nose and mouth. Most patients needed one injection to get optimal correction; about one-third of patients needed more than one injection to get a satisfactory result. The effect lasted about six months. Restylane is made with hyaluronic acid.

Microdermabrasion is a way to exfoliate the skin. In this procedure, the skin is abraded with small aluminum oxide particles. In that, the superficial layers of the skin are removed; therefore, microdermabrasion is effective for fine wrinkles, superficial scaly lesions, such as superficial keratosis or pigment irregularities. It is not particularly effective for large pores, deep wrinkles, severe acne scarring or moles or other raised growths. Similarly, it is not effective for blood vessels. Deeper pigment abnormalities, large pores, and blood vessels would be better treated with intense pulse light. Raised lesions, such as moles, usually require direct removal. The small skin tags can simply be clipped off.

Botox is a very diluted form of a substance called botulinum toxin. Botox is injected into the muscles that cause wrinkles when you frown, squint, laugh or smile. The injections stop nerve impulses from moving to the injected muscles, so the muscles relax and the skin looks smoother.

Treatments take about 10 minutes and it takes 4 days for Botox to start to relax the muscles. The results last up to 4 months. In order to keep up the appearance, treatments need to be maintained every 3 to 6 months.

When it comes to treating wrinkles, there are also some laser treatments that may be quite effective. CO2 laser, or the erbium lasers, are used for skin resurfacing. Another treatment very popular today is the IPL, or intense pulsed light.The intense light pulse treatments are not true lasers and have been used to treat fine wrinkles, age spots, blood vessels, and in general, to smooth the skin. Intense pulse light treatments have relatively few adverse effects and seem to produce excellent results.
As you can see, there are many options to not only prevent wrinkles early on, but there are many ways to treat that dreaded aging process without plastic surgery.
About the Author
Dr. Barry A. S. Lycka is one of North America's foremost authorities on cosmetic and laser surgery of the skin. You can find out more at http://www.barrylyckamd.com and http://www.restoringyouthonline.com. He is also founder of the Ethical Cosmetic Surgery Association
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