Here’s a quick head-to-head comparison of the popular treatments available. Be sure to research your chosen treatment thoroughly before committing yourself; consult a competent (Board-Certified is always better) surgeon, examine your motivations and have realistic expectations of the outcome.
As an anti-aging treatment, Botox has been amazingly successful. The cosmetic form of the botulinum toxin, it is now a common non-surgical injection that temporarily reduces wrinkles, frown lines, forehead creases and ‘crow’s feet’. It has also been used to treat wrinkles and loose skin in the neck region. Botox temporarily paralyzes the nerve impulses and muscles that cause wrinkles and gives them a smoother texture. However, the effects of the treatment are not permanent, lasting anywhere from three to eight months. The other problem is that with repeated treatments, Botox can cause muscles to atrophy, leading to ‘frozen face’ effects (that don’t seem to bother most celebrities).
Considered longer-lasting than Botox, Restylane is a non-animal-sourced hyaluronic acid. The FDA has approved Restylane as a cosmetic injection for sub-dermal facial tissues. It is commonly used for lip augmentation. Restylane is supposedly available in over 70 countries and has been used by more than 1.4 million people in the U.S. alone! Like Botox, Restylane is injected under facial wrinkles and creases. Lasting from a few minutes to an hour, the procedure is non-invasive, and the minor swelling from the needle pricks will disappear after as little as 3 days. Some surgeons ask patients to return two or three weeks later for reassessment and a ‘touch-up’ if necessary.
One of the important structural components of the dermis, (the layer below the skin) is a protein called Collagen. Among many other things, collagen gives the skin strength and flexibility. Unfortunately, after the age of 35, the production of collagen diminishes at about 1% a year – gradually leaving the skin wrinkled and flaccid. Collagen replacement treatment involves injecting small amounts of collagen to fill out sagging skin, usually in the face region.
Juvéderm is one of the newest of the so-called “injectable fillers”. Juvéderm is used by cosmetic surgeons to soften deep folds and reduce facial wrinkles. Like Restylane, Juvéderm largely comprises of hyaluronic acid, a substance normally found in your skin, muscles, and tendons. Juvederm gel, injected into the face, gets absorbed by the body over time but may last longer than other wrinkle treatments such as collagen injections. If you plan to get a Juvéderm makeover, ensure that your doctor is Board-Certified, well trained and experienced.
Thermage is yet another safe, non-invasive cosmetic procedure that promises to use no injections. It is clinically proven to help smoothen your skin, restoring a youthful firmness. During the Thermage treatment, the top layers of your skin are protected with a cooling spray while radiofrequency energy heats the collagen in the lower layers. This heating action causes deep structures of the skin to tighten immediately. Over time, new collagen grows to further tighten the skin.
Lifestyle Lift (R)
Another rather well known procedure available in the US is The Lifestyle Lift® approach to facial rejuvenation. The Lifestyle Lift is a mini facelift option performed in a Lifestyle Lift office under local anesthesia. It is used to remedy conditions such as:
* Bringing back your jaw line
* Reducing wrinkles and frown lines
* Removing excess fat
* Tightening droopy muscles and tightening skin on both face and neck
The procedure takes little more than an hour and can be done over a lunch break! Natural-looking results are promised with minimal medication. As a treatment, the Lifestyle Lift also lasts much longer – at least a few years.
Consult your physician and a good cosmetic surgeon if you are considering any of the above; they will be able to study your face and advise you on the kind of procedure that will best meet your requirements.
Julia is a skin specialist. Her interests vary from food, diet to skin care and anti aging related treatments. Here are her articles on skin care health, specifically anti aging skin care and other cosmetic treatments.