Age and gravity take a toll on our faces, as we lose fat, that pleasant, plump look in our cheeks and forehead is replaced by sallow jowls and wrinkles. Even if with great genes, some changes in facial structure are unavoidable.
According to experts at Harvard Health, there are things we can do to turn back the hands of time and enjoy a more youthful appearance.
First of all, there’s the ultimate face lift. Dr. Anthony Youn, a noted cosmetic surgeon from Detroit, says that since facial aging is a 3-dimensional process, modern face lifts take into account fat distribution as well as “nips and tucks.”
“Previous plastic surgery treatments focused on aging in 2 dimensions — lifting what has fallen,” he said. “Current and future treatments focus not only on lifting, but adding volume, the 3rd dimension to rejuvenate the face more naturally and accurately.”
Other non-surgical options for both women and men include the following:
- Sun protection. Protecting your face from the sun is the single most important way to prevent and slow premature aging, according to Harvard Health. Since most of the damage comes from UVA rays, you need a sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB.
- Topical creams and DIY masks. Use a moisturizer daily to soothe dry skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Retin-A has been shown to be effective in reducing wrinkles due to sun damage, says Youn.
- Popular California-based dermatologist Dr. Ava Shamban says you can also repair the skin by applying antioxidants directly to the face and neck. She likes vitamin C serums with AHA or alpha hydroxy acid that slough off dead skin and boost collagen. You can also make your own mask by combining yogurt which has natural AHA with anti-inflammatory honey, and frozen strawberries and blueberries, which are chock-full of antioxidants. Place all the ingredients in a blender and apply to the face for 15 mins. “The antioxidants will penetrate and repair the skin,” says Dr. Shamban.
- Botox. Botulinum toxin injections are effective in treating expression lines in the forehead. They work by partially paralyzing the muscles so the skin smoothes out. Botox is the most common brand name used, but others include Myobloc and Dysport.
- Dermal fillers. Fillers such as hyaluronic acid are used to plump lines caused by lost collagen and fat. The two prime target areas are the lines that run from the nose to the outside of the mouth, called the nasolabial folds, according to Harvard Health. The effect of injections of fillers usually lasts 6 months, and, like botulinum toxin, eventually fades.
- Lasers and chemical peels. Laser treatments are effective to improve pigmentation of the skin and reduce the appearance of capillaries. Dr. Kenneth Beer, a noted dermatologist from Palm Beach, Florida, uses Fraxel laser therapy in his office to resurface and stimulate new skin growth. “For patients with more damage, we use the CO2 laser to do a deeper peel. I like this because CO2 really does a nice job of tightening the skin.” You can also find products at pharmacies and beauty supply distributors that contain alpha-hydroxy acids, such as glycolic acid, and lactic acids, which are substances derived from fruit and dairy products. These products may have side effects that include burning, blistering, or redness, so proceed with caution. So try a small amount on a patch of skin before applying the cream or lotion to the entire face.
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