When the signs of aging start to bother you, you have several options in terms of what to do. While at one point in time, undergoing plastic surgery was the best and only option for people who wanted to ease the appearance of wrinkles or make skin look more firm and taut. These days you have many, many choices.
Some options, such as dermabrasion or laser skin resurfacing, focus on improving the texture of the skin. Others, such as injections and surgery, focus on reducing lines and wrinkles. If you are concerned about a particular area of your face, such as the forehead, eyes, or chin, understanding the difference between each option can help you make best choice for you.
Lower Cheeks and Chin
As people get older, the cheeks begin to sag, due to a loss of fat in the area. The skin in the lower part of the face also becomes looser, creating a jowly look. If you decide to go the surgical route to add volume to the cheeks and to reduce sagging in your skin, a facelift might be the most appropriate option.
A liquid facelift might be appropriate if you are not interested in surgery at the moment, if you can’t have surgery for health reasons, or if it just doesn’t fit into your schedule. A liquid facelift typically involves a number of injections, which can add volume and smooth wrinkles.
While the results of a facelift can last up to a decade, the results of a liquid facelift wear off much sooner. How long a liquid facelift lasts depends in large part on the type of filler used. The results might not last as long, but the tradeoff is that the recovery time is much shorter, too. The entire process typically takes less than an hour and most people are able to go back to their lives right away. In the case of a facelift, the surgery itself takes a few hours. The initial recovery period is typically about two weeks, but it can take up to six months for full results to appear.
It’s also worth noting that there are some things a facelift can do that injections simply can’t. An injection won’t remove the excess skin that forms as people age, while a facelift can and does.
Forehead and Brows
Some people are more concerned about the signs of aging around their forehead and eyebrows than in the lower part of their face. As with the lower part of the face, the options for easing the lines and wrinkles that form across the forehead or between the brows include the surgical, such as a brow lift, and the non-surgical, such as injections of Botox or Dysport. An injection into the brow area is often given to reduce the appearance of the two vertical lines that form between the brows or to reduce forehead creases that develop. In some cases, a surgeon might inject Botox or Dysport into the eyebrow area to better raise or elevate drooping brows.
A surgical brow lift is very different from an injection, particuarly in the way that it works. Botox and similar injections keep the nerves from sending signals to the muscles responsible for the movement that creates lines. Without those movements, the crease doesn’t form and the line diminishes, vanishing for up to three months.
A brow lift is similar to a facelift, but on the upper part of the face. During it, a surgeon might cut away excess skin and muscle to create a smoother, more lifted forehead and eyebrows.
The area around the eyes is often the area that begins to show the signs of aging soonest. A number of changes take place around the eyes that can make a person look older. Crow’s feet, or small crinkly lines, can form in the corners of the eyes. The lids can become heavy and droop down a lot, and the area around the lower eyelid can become sunken.
If signs of aging around your eyes are bothering you, choosing between injections or surgery often comes down to what your particular concern is. For example, if you are bothered by crow’s feet, Botox or Dysport injections might be your best bet. The injections keeps the nerves in the area from communicating with the muscles responsible for making the movement that creates the wrinkles. The area will look smooth for up to three months.
Eyelid surgery, on the other hand, won’t be useful if your big aging concern is wrinkles around the eyes. Instead, it’s a good option if your major concern is upper eyelids that are droopy or that make it difficult for you to see, or if you have bags under your eyes. The results from eyelid surgery last for years, but the surgery itself also has a significant amount of downtime.
Depending on the state your eye area is in, surgery on its own might be the best option. Or, you might find that it makes sense to have eyelid surgery to correct issues with your lids, then injections to ease your crow’s feet.
Dr. Jessica Kulak, a specialist practicing at the Naderi Center in the Washington, DC area, can help you choose the procedure, whether it’s surgery or an injection, that’s right for you. To learn more about your choices and about the procedures available at the Naderi Center, call 703-481-0002 for an appointment in Virginia or 301-222-2020 for an appointment in Maryland.