Rid yourself of wrinkles; Any number of therapies can help prevent, reduce or reverse facial lines
In the discussion of facial muscle exercises, I touched ever so superficially on how wrinkles are formed. The allusion to repeatedly folding paper until a permanent crease develops remains an apt description, even including the fact that the permanent crease becomes weaker and thinner than the leaves of paper.
There are several types of wrinkles to consider. Among them are the network of fine lines caused by sun damage, smoking, as well as folds caused by loss of elasticity. (We shall deal with those at another time.)
For now, let's consider the deep wrinkles caused by facial muscle action. These include frown lines, smile lines, forehead lines, and lip lines.
Anatomy and physiology teach us that these wrinkles are caused by the muscles of facial expression contracting, shortening and bunching up the skin into lines or pleats. When the muscles relax, they lengthen, the pleats relax and the skin falls back into shape.
This is the natural course of events for something like the first three decades of life.
Then things take a turn for the worse.
Collagen fibres, the strands of amino acids that make up the bulk of the skin and give it substance, begin to break down and thin like the folds in that sheet of paper. This is the beginning of a wrinkle. More collagen breakdown, and more thinning and the wrinkles remain present - even when not smiling or frowning.
Over time, the lines become more pronounced and increasingly difficult to eradicate. It is neither advisable, nor possible to limit smiling and frowning and still live a normal life. And a few wrinkles are not serious enough to entertain so ridiculous a remedy.
There are, however, any number of therapies designed to prevent, reduce or reverse facial wrinkles.
First, let's start with prevention. There is no cream, gel, lotion or potion that will prevent these potentially permanent wrinkles. However, for years younger people have begun to use small amounts of Botox injected into the area to prevent the forceful action of the muscles of facial expression. This modest dose does not prevent expression but limits the folding action and helps prevent the formation of wrinkles. The strategy forestalls creation of forehead and facial wrinkles, and in some cases seems to prevent their formation entirely.
There is really no surgical procedure that deals with these particular wrinkles as effectively as Botox or other neuro toxins. Fillers may reduce the appearance of some of these wrinkles - the upper lip lines being a good example - but the more muscle action the less likely they are to be effective. Smile lines and forehead lines do not lend themselves to correction by fillers.
Peels, laser treatments, retinoid and vitamin C topicals all help reduce all fine lines and wrinkles, but cannot fully eliminate them.
I encourage lifestyle changes such as eliminating smoking and proper sun protection, retinoid and laser therapy, as well as Botox therapy to deal with these wrinkles. But increasingly, the old dictum "wrinkles are forever" is no longer 100%
Gerald Imber M.D. is an internationally known plastic surgeon and anti-aging authority. Learn more at www.YouthCorridorClinic.com. Email your skin-care questions to Dr. Imber at firstname.lastname@example.org.