No one can stop the natural process
of aging, as the skin thins and lines and wrinkles appear. Moles, scars, and birthmarks
also tend to change as we age. In addition, sun damage over the course of a lifetime
worsens the aging skin. Sometimes advanced signs of aging and sun damage require more
invasive dermatology procedures, such as:
Botulinum toxin type A. Injecting botulinum toxin into certain muscles blocks signals from the nerves to the muscles. The muscles that are injected no longer contract. This prevents the muscles from forming wrinkles and furrows. Using botulinum will also soften existing wrinkles. But it won’t prevent the signs of aging. It is most often used for forehead lines and the lines between and around the eyes.
Chemical peels. Chemical
peels are often used to minimize sun-damaged skin, irregular skin color (pigment),
and superficial scars. The top layer of skin is removed with a chemical applied to
the skin. By removing the top layer, new skin regenerates. This often improves its
Soft tissue augmentation or dermal filler injections. A
soft tissue filler is injected beneath the skin to replace the body's natural
collagen that has been lost. There are many different kinds of fillers available.
Fillers are generally used to treat wrinkles, scars, and facial lines. They also
treat wrinkles caused by volume loss and repetitive muscle contraction. Fillers
are also used to plump up lips and enhance shallow contours and cheekbones.
Dermabrasion. This may be
used to minimize small scars, minor skin surface irregularities, surgical scars,
and acne scars. This treatment removes the top layers of skin with an electrical
machine that scrapes (abrades) the skin. As the skin heals from the procedure, the
surface looks smoother and fresher. It can be used for the whole face or for
certain areas or scars. Dermabrasion is sometimes used for aging. But it has
generally been replaced by other methods. Microdermabrasion is a gentler type of
dermabrasion. It uses small particles passed through a vacuum tube to remove aging
skin and stimulate new skin growth. This procedure works best on mild to moderate
skin damage. It may require several treatments.
Laser skin resurfacing. Laser
skin resurfacing uses high-energy light to burn away damaged skin. Laser
resurfacing may be used to minimize wrinkles and fine scars. It is also used to
reduce enlarged oil glands, lighten up sun spots, and remove wart-like growths. A
newer treatment option is called nonablative resurfacing. This type of resurfacing
also uses a laser and sometimes electrical energy. But it does not damage the top
layers of skin.
Intense pulsed light (IPL) therapy. IPL therapy is different from laser therapy because it delivers multiple wavelengths of light with each pulse (lasers deliver only 1 wavelength). IPL is a type of nonablative therapy. This means it does not damage the top layers of skin.
Tretinoin treatment. This
prescription skin cream, which is a form of vitamin A, can reduce wrinkles, rough
skin, fine lines, and discolored skin.