Anti aging treatments target some of the most unwelcome changes that happen to our faces and bodies as we get older – fine lines, wrinkles, age spots, uneven skin tone, spider veins and even sagging skin.
Finding the best anti aging treatments is a personal matter depending on what you want to achieve, how much discomfort you are prepared to put up with and how much money you want to spend.
Facial treatments are the most common and nowadays you can get a non surgical face lift to tighten and lift the face without surgery as well as treatments to rejuvenate the surface of the skin and eliminate blemishes.
There are also many body treatments to improve the signs of aging on the neck, chest and leg area.
In recent years anti aging treatments for the hands have become popular – perhaps because they remain a giveaway of age even with a young looking face!
With the exception of liposuction and SmartLipo for fat reduction which is a surgical procedure – body and face treatments often use the same technology but the equipment is specially developed for the area targeted.
The range of options open to you if you are looking for an anti aging treatment is enormous and likely to be confusing.
This article gives you an introduction by describing the current range of non surgical treatments available to you as part of your anti aging strategy.
One word of warning – don’t assume non surgical means pain free. Many anti aging skin treatments cause considerable pain or discomfort and a lot of downtime.
In particular ” ablative “treatments use an agent (laser, chemical, nitrogen, abrasion) to damage the skins surface to the point that it falls off. You may get the skin rejuvenation you want but are you prepared for the side effects?
Do you need an anti aging treatment?
Before looking at treatment options it is worth stepping back and asking yourself whether you really need an anti aging treatment at all. Often the best route to looking good for your age is to start with the basics:
1. Avoid doing harm to your skin: stop smoking, limit alcohol and sun exposure.
2. Get lifestyle factors right: a healthy diet and regular exercise
3. Use anti aging skin care as part of your daily beauty regimen
Getting these things right will improve your looks dramatically and make it more likely that any treatment you choose will give you better results.
If you do decide to go further in your battle with aging then do your research. Anti aging treatments are promoted seductively by manufacturers and the cosmetic surgery industry. Very little information appears on official websites about the pain and the side effects experienced by many.
As a first step to more detailed research find out what your options are by looking at the most common types of anti aging treatment available:
Laser skin resurfacing
High strength lasers used to damage the skins top layer (ablative) and rejuvenated skin grows back through the natural processes of healing (Erbium lasers and CO2 lasers). Laser skin resurfacing is effective on medium to deep wrinkling, scarring and sun damaged skin on hands and face. As an ablative approach requires considerable downtime with the discomfort that brings.
Laser skin tightening
The use of non-ablative infrared systems to promote collagen, tighten skin and improve blemishes (CoolTouch, NdYAG and Q-switching lasers). Laser treatment and IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) is very effective in treating broken capillaries and facial veins and for relieving the flushing and redness associated with Rosacea. Q-switching lasers are very effective at treating age spots. Systems like CoolTouch and others also deliver mild to moderate skin tightening and lifting effects when used over time.
Using LED technology for gentle non-ablative skin rejuvenation and collagen stimulation over time. Positive effects of LED light therapy are well supported in medical research. LED skin treatment works best on fine wrinkles and for improving skin tone and clarity.
Radiofrequency skin tightening
Using radiofrequency (microwave) technolgy for the face and body (Thermage, ThermaCool, Polaris, Refirme). Non-ablative treatment but not without problems. Manufacturers claim to deliver skin lifting and tightening treatments without surgery. Polaris and Refirme are facial treatments – ThermaCool (Thermage) can be used on the face or body.
Using acids of varying strengths to resurface the skin and stimulate new skin growth (TCA and Phenol peels). TCA is for medium peels effective on fine lines and uneven skin tone. Phenol peel is a deep peel and is an ablative treatment which takes off the top layer of skin. Phenol peels are more effective on deep wrinkles and advanced signs of aging. A chemical peel requires considerable recovery time and medium to high discomfort.
A skin resurfacing technique using abrasive agents either manually or with a machine to take off skin layers and stimulate the formation of new skin. Used for deeply wrinkled and lines areas of the face – from sun damage or smoking damage around the mouth
Dermabrasion sands off the skin down to the deeper layers (dermis) and is an ablative treatment requiring considerable downtime – considered an invasive surgical technique by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Dermabrasion is losing ground to other skin resurfacing techniques like the Erbium and CO2 lasers but a lot of treatments are still performed.
Plasma skin resurfacing
A new technique using nitrogen to rejuvenate skin – the only brand name in the market currently is Rhytec’s Portrait Plasma as this is developing technology. Despite claims that this is a non-ablative treatment with low downtime and less scarring than other skin resurfacing techniques there are many adverse reports on forums and in comments on blogs.
A dermal filler is used to plump out facial wrinkles and add bulk where volume has collapsed. The original collagen fillers are still in use but can cause allergic reactions and other problems.
The latest dermal fillers are hyaluronic acid gel fillers especially Non Animal Sourced Hyaluronic Acid (NASHA). Most popular brand names include: Juvederm,Restylane, Perlane, Captique and Radiesse. Used in facial treatments, lip enhancements and body treatments like rejuvenation of the hands.
Wrinkle relaxing injections
Botox and Dysportt) are the most well known wrinkle treatments of all time.
Most of us know how botox works but be aware that botox injections are effective on motion lines only and best results are obtained by an expert doctor combining Botox with dermal fillers. Beware of overly diluted Botox injections with too much saline which may appear cheap and be ineffective. Some adverse effects are being noted by long term users of botox – compensatory wrinkling (bunny lines) and permanently weakened facial muscles are two. Check out the botox guide for first time users on this site.
Sometimes known as a microcurrent face lift – these treatments use the power of low level electrolysis to stimulate cellular energy and promote healing in dermal tissue.
Used to heal sports injuries and provide relief from pain – microcurrent technology has a long history of use in skin rejuvenation outside the US. Now widely available in spas throughout the US – although somewhat shunned by plastic surgery professionals – effects have been widely tested and results proven. Cost is around $1000 for a course of 10 treatments or there is a good home microcurrent device as an alternative.
GFX or No-Tox
Radiofrequency used to block the nerve that controls frown lines. Effects are more long term (12 months) than Botox and not reversible. New technology that is still developing and as it is not reversible it may be advisable to wait and see with this option.
This is only a summary of what’s available – look at other articles on this site and do further research before choosing the best anti aging treatment for your needs and finances.