Wrinkle Reduction: Laser Resurfacing and Injection Therapy
What Causes Wrinkles?
From environmental factors to lifestyle choices, the onset of wrinkles has many causes. The following are the most significant:
With age, skin cells divide slower and the inner layer of the skin begins to thin. The network of elastin and collagen fibers which support the outer layer loosens and unravels. With aging, skin also loses its elasticity and is less able to retain moisture. In addition, oil-secreting glands are less efficient and the skin is slower to heal. All of these contribute to the development of wrinkles.
Facial Muscle Contractions
Lines between the eyebrows and lines jutting from the corner of the eyes are believed to develop, because of the underlying muscle contractions. Smiling, frowning, squinting and other habitual facial expressions cause these wrinkles to become more prominent. Over time, the expressions coupled with gravity, contribute to the formation of jowls and drooping eyelids.
Excessive exposure to ultraviolet radiation can result in premature aging of the skin. When ultraviolet light damages skin tissue, an enzyme called metalloproteinases is produced. This enzyme creates and reforms collagen. During the process, however, some healthy collagen fibers are damaged, resulting in a disorganized formation of fibers called solar scars. Wrinkles develop when the rebuilding process occurs over and over.
Healthy skin perpetually regenerates. While old collagen is broken down and removed, new collagen is produced and installed. Researchers have found that smoking causes a marked reduction in the production of new collagen. A lack of new collagen results in the development of wrinkles.
Treatment Options for Wrinkles
Removing skin layers to reduce wrinkles or irregular depressions is an effective way to regain smoother, more youthful-looking skin. Dermabrasion (scraping layers away) and chemical peels (dissolving skin away) are two of the traditional methods used in skin resurfacing. Additional techniques have been developed to repair prematurely aging skin.
Laser Skin Resurfacing
Laser skin resurfacing is a treatment to reduce facial wrinkles and irregularities caused by sun damage or acne. The laser technique directs short, concentrated pulsating beams of light at irregular skin. Ablative laser skin resurfacing removes skin very precisely, layer by layer, resulting in fewer problems with hypopigmentation (lightening of skin).
Non-ablative laser resurfacing promotes the development of new, more healthy collagen, helping to restore the skin contour/appearance with minimal downtime. A new fractional laser technology is also available. The laser light is delivered in a grid, allowing normal, untreated skin to remain within the treated area, which leads to quicker healing.
If you have fine lines or wrinkles around or under the eyes, the forehead or the mouth, or scars from acne, or non-responsive skin after a facelift, then you are an ideal candidate for laser skin resurfacing. Caution: Exposure to the sun after this treatment should be avoided for three months.
Botox® Injection Therapy
Botox is a medicine derived from the botulinum toxin that controls a muscle's ability to contract. Botox is injected into the muscles whose contractions cause the wrinkles between the eyebrows and the lines that radiate from the corner of the eyes (crow's feet). There might be temporary redness, bruising or stinging around the injection site.
The treatment lasts approximately four months. When the Botox wears off, the muscles again become active and the wrinkles will reappear. The treatment can then be repeated. If you choose not to repeat the injections, your wrinkles will return no worse than they were initially.