Focus on the Face: Non-Surgical Approaches

Cosmetic procedures might be the first thing that come to mind when we tire of unsightly wrinkles and sagging skin, but there are other things in the anti-aging arsenal. Experts assure us that maintaining a youthful appearance is possible without invasive surgical procedures, at least up to a point.

“I find that patients seek three primary things from non-surgical procedures,” says Dr. Richard Moore, medical director of The Lifestyle Center. Eliminating wrinkles with Botox or Dysport, dermal fillers to maintain fullness, and reducing brown spots with laser or intense pulsed light treatments are the top three non-surgical services provided by Moore and his staff.

Botox and Dysport contain an active ingredient that temporarily immobilizes muscles, preventing dynamic wrinkles around the eyes and forehead. When it comes to dermal fillers, “we choose the product based on where it will be used on the face and on its durability,” Moore says. Most fillers last six to 12 months, although Artefill, the more expensive option, may last significantly longer. “I have Artefill in my left hand, and it’s lasted two and a half years so far,” Moore says. “In comparing my left and right hand, which I left untreated, I can see a fairly big difference.”

For pigmentation, Moore suggests fractional resurfacing with the Matrix RF laser or FotoFacial RF, a procedure that combines intense pulsed light and radio frequency energy. Matrix RF also tightens skin slightly, while erasing sun spots and treating other pigmented areas.

A good facial can also keep skin taut without invasive techniques. “Regular facials always make a difference, and facials that include massage always have a relaxing effect that help improve the skin appearance and stimulate good blood flow,” says Lisa Mayer, a licensed esthetician with Jean Phillipe & Co.

Taking the standard facial one step further, Mayer suggests considering Microcurrent. This adjunct treatment uses mild electric current delivered on a near identical magnitude as the electrical current the human body naturally produces on its own, according to the manufacturer. The technique “provides lift and also helps with lymphatic drainage, blood flow, and stimulating collagen and elastin,” Mayer says. “Regular Microcurrent treatments will keep those effects and improve metabolic functions so the skin is healthy and vibrant.”

Another popular add-on to a traditional facial is microdermabrasion, a procedure in which the dead outermost surface of the skin is partially or completely removed by light abrasion, taking sun-damaged skin with it. Light chemical peels provide the same benefits.

“Many patients do benefit from a combination of medial skin care with microdermabrasion and/or chemical peels,” says Jackie Carr, a nurse and licensed esthetician with Aesthetic Medispa of West County.

“Generally, patients will benefit from microdermabrasion and chemical peels at a rate of every six to eight weeks,” she says. “Many medical-grade skin care products also will eventually produce desired results over time. The addition of chemical peels or microdermabrasion can simply expedite the process and produce results in a shorter length of time.”

Regardless of the techniques you are considering, be sure to consult with an experienced clinician and get an individualized plan, Carr says. “Great skin takes time and patience. You will want to develop an ongoing relationship with the person who makes you look your best!”