The main problems with the aging face are related to: discolored areas, wrinkles, loss of tissue volume in the face, and sagging of the facial structures. For someone with severe sagging or jowling a rhytidectomy (face lift) is probably the best way to go, however many patients are opting for facial rejuvenation procedures as a way to delay some of the changes that occur as we age. I will discuss in the article briefly Botox, professional skin care products, and chemical peels.
Botulinum toxin or Botox ® as the most popular name brand is called (there are others Dysport®, etc) has many medical uses, just in my specialty of Otolaryngology it is used for vocal cord problems, overproduction of saliva, facial spasms, jaw clenching, swallowing difficulties, headaches, and overactive facial sweating. Of course, the most well known use is to treat wrinkles in the face that are formed from facial muscle movements. Botox works to relax muscles and therefore relieve the skin creases that appear when muscles contract. The areas Botox is most appropriate for are the frown lines (between the eyebrows), forehead wrinkles, and crow’s feet (wrinkles around the eyes). Most commonly young women aged 25-45 undergo Botox although there is certainly benefit for older patients and men are beginning to utilize the treatment in increasing numbers. Injections are done in the office, which takes only a few minutes, there is no recovery or down time, and the effect takes about a week to be fully noticed and last anywhere from 4-6 months.
Cost can vary but on average are somewhere between $160-300 for a treatment depending on how many areas are addressed, prices tend to be higher in larger urban areas. Ensure that the person administering the Botox® is a qualified medical professional as injecting the wrong places or the wrong amount can result in complications.
The arena of professional skin care products is highly competitive, some of the major players are Obagi ® and Skinceuticals ®, both of which are distributed through physician’s offices. There are literally new product lines coming out daily, including some which are distributed through lay people in a multilevel marketing model. All of these products have similar actions- to treat acne, skin laxity, fine lines, wrinkles, and discolored spots of the skin. My experience has been that patients on a physician-supervised regimen will notice significant improvement in the quality of the complexion and skin after about 3-6 weeks of using prescription strength products. For those using products that have been obtained outside of a medical setting, I would recommend checking with your doctor first and specifically not to use any hydroquinone product (main active ingredient) if you are pregnant or nursing. Patients on these products do need to be checked in with and observed for rarely reported problems with their use; this is another reason for professionalmedical supervision. The cost varies, but effective physician supervised prescriptionstrength regimens are about $75-100 per month.