When it comes to combating wrinkles, there’s good news and bad news. First the bad: There’s no one magic bullet, treatment or procedure that will return your skin to its original baby-smooth texture. The good news is there are lots of new and proven ways you can approach skin care and minimizing lines to look your very best.
Dr. Steven Camp is OrangeTwist’s medical director in Dallas and Forth Worth. Here we’ve asked him about the best ways to fight wrinkles—and when you want to simply let them be.
Question: What causes wrinkles?
Steven Camp: There are wrinkles that happen just from our expressions and our emotions in everyday life. The other kind of wrinkle comes from lifestyle and exposure, mostly from sun damage. You can also get wrinkles when you don’t take care of your skin by cleaning and hydrating it to replenish the moisture content. That neglect can lead to less collagen support, which will show up as lines even when your face is at rest, and they are not related to muscle movement.
Q: How do you treat wrinkles?
SC: It starts with taking care of yourself in general. A lot of patients overlook the fact that just repeating healthy habits and maintenance, such as getting six to eight hours of sleep a night and eating a diet with all the antioxidants and nutritional goodness we get from fruits and vegetables, is actually good for our skin. It will keep it looking better and smoother.
However most people, even in their late 20s, start developing more expressive, deeper lines that are aggravated when they have hyperactive muscles, especially in the forehead and around the crinkling of the eyelids. Those kinds of lines we typically treat with a toxin, which is an injection that’s done in the office to relax the muscle, as opposed to trying to condition or hydrate the skin. There’s several different brands available including Botox, Dysport and Xeomen. Wrinkles caused by sun damage can be treated with fillers.
Q: How has wrinkle treatment changed over the years?
SC: Instead of becoming product-centric and looking for a magic bullet, we’ve really gotten back to basics. What we’ve learned is that the multi-modal approach provides patients with the best overall skin. It’s not just about the line that you see at rest. It’s about texture, it’s about color, it’s about pigment irregularities. Now in addition to fixing skin, we’re trying to make people aware of how important it is to protect it in the first place with high-quality SPF products of 30 or higher.
In addition we’ve learned that skin that’s well hydrated and nourished looks more plump. The other thing we’ve discovered is that skin care is kind of like washing your car: If you don’t give your car a good wash, residue will build up and damage the paint. You need products, especially Retinols, in your skin care regimen at least twice a week that add a level of cleansing which increases cell and skin health and leads to less wrinkled skin.
Q: Are there any cases in which you’d want to leave the wrinkles alone?
SC: An experienced provider is going to know what kinds of injection amounts to start patients with to prevent an unnatural or frozen appearance. Those types of incidents are extremely rare —the most common thing that happens is patients realize they’d like a little bit more softening. Most people are happiest when they appear pleasantly rested, but still with some degree of activity.
Patients should also be careful of overdoing it. While wrinkles may be smoothed out and lines may be diminished, you don’t want to lose your identity. Wrinkle reduction looks amazing, but when it goes too far, you can end up with a “plastic,” expressionless face, which is off-putting.
Q: Is there anyone who should not have these treatments?
SC: Pregnant and women who are breastfeeding should steer clear. Many of our filling agents and toxins have components in them that have unknown risks, so we don’t know whether they’re dangerous or not. The fact is, they haven’t been sufficiently studied.
And while most treatments work for mild wrinkles, I’ll occasionally see patients that have gravitational or severe sun damage-related wrinkles that just aren’t appropriate for being filled with office-based treatments. They’ll need to consider other kinds of procedures to rehydrate it and pull it smooth, such as a facelift.
Q: Anything else people should know?
SC: Start as early as possible with the basics—whether you’re 20, 30, 40 or older. We have treatments including the brilliant HydraFacial, which is kind of like taking care of your yard and mowing it every week instead of letting the weeds overgrow and trying to do some sort of major extensive work over one or two months. That is much more difficult, and the net result is that your yard looks less cared for.
The same principles apply to our skin. If we’re diligent about it, it’s like working in a garden. If we’re always tending it, results will produce greater consistency and a uniform, pretty appearance. The movement in skin care now is to identify early signs of aging and start remodeling and maintenance as part of the program to diminish wrinkles. You don’t want to wait until you’re overwhelmed by multiple different areas of concern.