I am often asked by patients: What is the best way to treat fine lines and wrinkles? This is an excellent question, and one without a simple answer. The best treatment for you depends on:
- Your goals. Do you have one specific area that bothers you? For example, the creases along the sides of your mouth, aka nasolabial folds, are a common problem area. But treatment of a single area may differ than if you want full-face improvement.
- Can you afford down-time? A minimally invasive treatment such as a filler will result in mild bruising or swelling. But a more invasive treatment such as a laser peel will result in 2-3 days of redness (think bright tomato-red, not just mildly flushed) followed by a few more days of flaking and peeling. I’ve had some patients go to work the day after a peel, while others prefer to hunker down at home until they can wear make-up again.
- Cost. The price-point for treatments can vary from a few hundred dollars with fillers, to over a thousand dollars for a laser peel and profractional peel combination. Don’t be afraid to give your physician a budget, and ask what will give you the best results within that price range.
In past posts I’ve discussed fillers, laser peels and skin care. Now I’m going to give you a framework in which to place specific treatments. There are three fundamentals to good skin care: prevention, improvement, and maintenance.
- Prevention- taking good care of your skin helps prevent future damage. Sunscreen is the number one preventative treatment that I recommend to all patients. Wear a daily moisturizer with SPF 15 or higher to prevent the accumulative damage of the short bursts of sun exposure your face sustains throughout the day. Adding an antioxidant such as Vitamin C will also help prevent damage from other environmental factors (think smog, cigarette smoke etc.). I also consider Botox in the preventative category, as it keeps wrinkles from getting worse.
- Improvement- Anything that sets back the clock will fall into this category. Laser peels obviously improve skin. But even non-invasive treatments such as Retin-A will improve fine lines and increase collagen production. Hydroquinone cream or BBL treatments, on the other hand, reduce the brown spots and discolorations that occur with age and sun damage.
- Maintenance- If you’ve spent money on improving the appearance of your skin, maintaining this improvement is key. A good skin care regimen is important, and will not only sustain the improvements you’ve made, but also continue to improve the look of your skin while preventing future damage. I’ve written a post previously that details some of the products I recommend, and you can read that here. But to sum up, a good skin care regimen should include cleanser, moisturize, hydroquinone, Retin-A, and an antioxidant such as vitamin C.
I hope this gave you a better idea of what to look for in skin treatments. Do you have a skin care question?