If you aren’t ready for cosmetic surgery, but you want more wrinkle relief than topical products can provide, there is a middle ground. Nonsurgical cosmetic procedures have exploded in popularity in recent years, and many plastic surgeons are using these less-invasive options either alone or as adjuncts to more involved procedures.
Perhaps the most pervasive nonsurgical intervention is Botox. Used to relax the muscles that contract the forehead and around the eyes, Botox injections last three to four months. Skin on the forehead, between the eyebrows and at the outer corner of the eyes becomes less creased as muscle contractions are temporarily reduced.
Although Botox is still considered the market leader, two competitors are available to achieve the same type of results. “Dysport has been around for a while and is pretty comparable to Botox,” says Dr. Richard Moore, medical director at The Lifestyle Center. The other Botox competitor, Xeomin, a drug previously labeled to treat involuntary muscle spasms in the face and neck, was recently approved by the FDA for cosmetic use, and will soon be available in physicians’ offices. Despite the increased competition, Moore anticipates prices for the three drugs will be comparable.
As Botox works to erase wrinkles on the upper portion of the face, dermal fillers have become the go-to solution for the lines that run from the nose to the mouth and the ‘marionette lines’ that frame the chin as jowls become more prominent.
“Injecting a filler just beneath the skin helps to restore contour and lift the lines that occur due to volume loss and the effects of gravity,” says Jean McCammon, a nurse practitioner with Aurora Medical Spa. Juvederm and Radiesse, two popular fillers, can last up to a year. Restylane lasts from three to six months, McCammon says.
To make the injections less painful, topical numbing creams are used, along with ice before and after the procedure. Bruising and slight swelling is typical, but the cosmetic effects are immediate, she says.
Laser skin resurfacing or chemical peels are often Moore’s finishing touch when using Botox and fillers to rejuvenate the face. These topical treatments are more aggressive than using creams or lotions, even with prescription ingredients, and help reduce the appearance of fine lines and pigmentation.
Both Moore and McCammon stress that a professional skin analysis and consultation is key to choosing the best combination of approaches for individual needs. “And don’t forget that good skin care supports all these treatments,” McCammon notes.