“Beautiful young people are accidents of nature, but beautiful old people are works of art” – Eleanor Roosevelt.
A beautiful person is someone who oozes confidence and style, with a radiant, youthful and glowing skin. So how can we achieve a healthy skin and manage the ageing face? The answer is with a combination of treatment modalities: the 6 Rs of facial rejuvenation – Remove, Resurface, Recontour, Relax, Replace, Redrape.
To remove: is to work on a clean canvas. In other words, remove lesions such as sun spots, telangiectasia (broken facial veins), diffused redness and unwanted dark hair. Sun spots appear years after excessive sun exposure. Smooth, flat and perfectly round sun spots can be treated with a laser. Rough and raised sun spots are a precursor to cancer and must be diagnosed by a dermatologist who will either freeze them or use a treatment called Photo Dynamic Therapy (PDT). In certain cases, a special topical cream may be used.
Remember that your hands give away your age as well. In South Africa, our right hand will appear to be more tanned and have more sun spots caused purely by driving our cars.
Broken facial veins may be caused by extreme temperatures, sun damage, cigarette smoke and genetics. A laser that targets blood or haemoglobin can be used to constrict the blood vessels.
To resurface: is to improve the texture and appearance of the skin. Lines, wrinkles, uneven skin colour and enlarged pores are common signs of ageing. These can be addressed with various treatments, depending on the severity and the client’s expectations. The choice of treatment is also based on where in the skin the problem lies. If the lesion/concern is deep, one needs to be able to target it at the correct level in the skin structure. The deeper the problem, the deeper we need to work.
Superficial- to medium-depth peels and microdermabrasion remove the outer layers of dead skin. As your skin ages, your cell turnover slows down, resulting in a dull tired complexion. By having peels or microdermabrasion, we stimulate and speed up cell turnover. Peels are excellent for pigmentation, acne, blackheads, oily, dry and sensitive skins.
The heat produced by Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) can be used to refine pores and stimulate collagen, which aids skin refinement. In addition, needling can be done to mechanically stimulate collagen production.
CO2 Fractional Resurfacing is regarded as the most intensive form of resurfacing, but this requires downtime. It’s ideal for someone wanting quicker results and who has deep lines and wrinkles, or pitted acne scarring.
Recontour, relax and replace: As we age, our skin loses elasticity which results in sagging. Wrinkle-reducing injections such as Botox® and fillers can be used. Botox® is used to treat expression lines on the forehead and crow’s feet around the eyes. Botox® doesn’t work on resting lines so one would need laser therapy or chemical peels.
Fillers (hylauronic acid) are injected to recontour/plump up folds and lips. Nowadays, fat fills are also used. The overall effect is one of general well-being. A fuller plump face is much healthier than a thin face as we age.
New technology called Ulthera Skin Tightening is another option to recontour the face and neck. Ultrasound is used to tighten and lift the muscle and stimulate collagen. This is an option for someone who’s not ready for surgery and who’s starting to lose elasticity. The results are seen over time and people will comment that you look well. Ulthera is like putting collagen in the bank – it delays further sagging.
Re-drape: is to iron out the tablecloth. This will require surgery such as a face lift or neck lift. A plastic surgeon who consults at Lasermed Tyger Valley says a face lift is the last resort in facial rejuvenation. One must have a well-prepared canvas before having a face lift.
When deciding on a treatment programme, always address your main concerns first. Initially, a treatment course is needed every four to six weeks. Maintenance could then be done every two to three months.
Is it enough to have treatments only? No. Best results are achieved by using active skincare products at home and applying sunblock twice daily.