As an Otolaryngologist (ENT) for nearly 20 years, I have been able to closely track and dive into the science of skin rejuvenation and treat my patients at the highest level. An ENT’s training encompasses more knowledge of the anatomy and physiology of the face, head, and neck than any other specialty. As new treatment technologies and products come to market each day, I’m here to help my patients determine the best individualized treatment plans and I often work in tandem with our dedicated team of estheticians at OA Facial Plastics. Allow me to share with you the most common changes that happen with our skin over time and clinically proven ways to combat them.
Age & Environmental Stressors
Over time, age-related skin changes are inevitable. Naturally, aged skin is wrinkled, loose, and lined. Sun damage and environmental influences lead to discoloration and uneven texture. Redistribution of fat in the face leaves the areas under the eyes and the lips hollow while filling out droopy cheeks. Even the bones of the face undergo structural changes and remodeling. The end result is an elongated, oval-shaped face, streaked with deep expression lines and fine wrinkles, and spattered with sunspots and shadows.
That description of aging skin is enough to send anyone running to the nearest doctor’s office. Many of us don’t want to age into a skin tone that could be described as “leathery.” So how can we combat deterioration and restore youthful, plump, dewy skin? Most of us are familiar with the concepts of sun protection, wholesome eating, and a healthy lifestyle for prevention, but can we reverse skin damage from years of sun exposure? Through the science of skin rejuvenation, the answer can be “yes” but involves many variables.
Minimally-Invasive Skin Rejuvenation
The skincare space is very noisy; you can purchase thousands of products and services promising a fountain of youth. It’s hard to separate science (like the clinical-grade skincare lines we offer) from snake oil in the pursuit of a refreshed appearance. So what does science prove is an effective way to invest our hard-earned dollars?
The answer, of course, depends on a myriad of factors that must be individualized in a treatment plan tailored for your particular concern. But scientific studies exist to provide data on noninvasive or minimally invasive techniques and technologies that address fine lines to sagging skin for facial rejuvenation.
For example, collagen structure in the skin changes with age. Healthy collagen is imperative for skin elasticity; its loss leads to laxity. What we want is long, straight collagen in a weaved pattern. What we get with age and sun damage is curled, broken, and clumped collagen. Certain skin rejuvenation modalities, like laser skin resurfacing and micro-needling, aim to promote collagen production and remodeling. As a part of the research process, skin treated with these technologies is examined under a microscope to evaluate for collagen changes. A highly-rated treatment we use at OA Facial Plastics is the Profound Radio Frequency Micro-needling, which reports an increase in collagen and hyaluronic acid after treatment.
Injectables & Fillers
When we are born, our faces are very round, almost circular. Gradually, some of the fat in the face is lost or redistributed. Where fat is lost, adjacent folds appear and shadows follow. Fillers address volume loss beneath the skin, restoring smooth, youthful fullness with little to no downtime. I use a range of injectables to help patients revitalize their appearance.
Skin thickness is another microscopic marker for skin rejuvenation; improvement in this measure is targeted by chemical peels and platelet-rich plasma. Thicker skin appears more youthful because the skin thins as we age.
Science Meets Artistry
So, scientific studies indicate that the microscopic changes of aging can be addressed with various technologies, but what does that mean for beauty? After all, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and every patient has different goals and expectations for their own appearance. Are thicker skin and shiny new collagen actually more attractive? Scientists further study aesthetic benefits with carefully developed questionnaires for both doctors and the patients themselves to ensure that the microscopic changes targeted in the treatment really do lead to more vibrant, beautiful skin.
Science meets artistry when the treating physician determines the most beneficial technology to restore and rejuvenate the skin, and how and where to apply it. All of these efforts translate into the ability to match your appearance to the energy you feel–more youthful skin for the young at heart.
Longo C, Casari A, Beretti F, Cesinaro AM, Pellacani G. Skin aging: in vivo microscopic assessment of epidermal and dermal changes by means of confocal microscopy. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2013;68(3):e73-e82. doi:10.1016/j.jaad.2011.08.021
Ciocon DH, Engelman DE, Hussain M, Goldberg DJ. A split-face comparison of two ablative fractional carbon dioxide lasers for the treatment of photodamaged facial skin. Dermatol Surg. 2011;37(6):784-790. doi:10.1111/j.1524-4725.2011.01964..x
Soleymani T, Lanoue J, Rahman Z. A Practical Approach to Chemical Peels: A Review of Fundamentals and Step-by-step Algorithmic Protocol for Treatment. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2018;11(8):21-28.
Farber SE, Epps MT, Brown E, Krochonis J, McConville R, Codner MA. A review of nonsurgical facial rejuvenation. Plast Aesthet Res 2020;7:72. http://dx.doi.org/10.20517/2347-9264.2020.152
Kosowski TR, McCarthy C, Reavey PL, et al. A systematic review of patient-reported outcome measures after facial cosmetic surgery and/or nonsurgical facial rejuvenation. Plast Reconstr Surg. 2009;123(6):1819-1827. doi:10.1097/PRS.0b013e3181a3f361
Fitzgerald R, Graivier MH, Kane M, Lorenc ZP, Vleggaar D, Werschler WP, Kenke JM. Update on Facial Aging. Aesthetic Surgery Journal. 2010;30(1):11S-24S. https://doi.org/10.1177/1090820X10378696
Hantash BM, Ubeid AA, Chang H, Kafi R, Renton B. Bipolar fractional radiofrequency treatment induces neoelastogenesis and neocollagenesis. Lasers Surg Med. 2009 Jan;41(1):1-9. doi: 10.1002/lsm.20731. PMID: 19143021.
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