What are the Treatment Options for Aging Skin

The doctor’s palette of resurfacing options continues to expand. In patients with early skin aging changes, nonsurgical treatment methods such as tretinoin, vitamin C, and alpha hydroxy acids may provide satisfactory improvement. Chemical peels, dermabrasion and laserabrasion may be used alone or in combination with other surgical procedures to treat moderate to severe degrees of facial photodamage.

Deeper facial lines may be treated with botulinum toxin or soft tissue enhancement, including collagen, autologous fat, and Goretex implants. Patients with more sagging, excess skin may benefit from additional procedures such as a facelift, browlift, or blepharoplasty (surgical reconstruction of the eyelid). Treatment must be individualized according to the patient’s facial characteristics and cosmetic concerns.

Here is more detail about some of the more popular treatment options:

Chemical peels: Chemical peels are effective for removing fine lines and smoothing out the skin. Chemical peels remove the upper surface of the skin to expose newer, clearer skin. After the upper layers of the skin have been removed, a new layer of skin develops. Chemical peels can be used in areas, such as around the eye and mouth, that are not improved by a facelift. Depending on the patient’s skin type and degree of sun damage, a superficial, medium or deep chemical peel may be the appropriate treatment.

Dermabrasion: Dermabrasion removes lines and some scarring and can be used to treat moderate to severe photodamage (sun damage). In dermabrasion, the doctor sands away the top layer of skin, thus it has similar side effects and complications as medium to deep chemical peels. However, because of the bleeding associated with dermabrasion and variations in skill and technique, the control of wounding is not as accurate as with current resurfacing technology. Dermabrasion is not done on the thin skin around the eyes. Care must also be taken when dermabrading the skin around the mouth.

Laser resurfacing: In the past few years, the development of high-energy lasers has enhanced physicians’ ability to improve photoaged skin, various types of scars and other dermatologic conditions. The precise depth control and ability to treat large areas in a relatively short amount of time makes these lasers valuable tools. Before laser resurfacing is performed, your doctor will discuss with you other treatment options, what to expect during recovery, how to take care of your skin after the procedure, and possible side effects and complications. Camouflage makeup suggestions will also be discussed.

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