Options for Rejuvenating Aging Skin
For men and women alike, there is a difference between aging and aging gracefully.
Years of exposure to the sun and elements can encourage fine lines and wrinkles to road map the face. Gravity, fat buildup and thinning skin pull the facial and neck skin down, forming jowls and wattles. Smoking hastens the process.
In recent years, medical spas, sometimes called medi spas, have sprung up in spa-like environments and in doctors offices.
The procedures performed are primarily cosmetic, not covered by insurance policies. Most are administered by licensed estheticians under the supervision of a board certified doctor. The doctor handles all medical procedures.
"Men and women are both asking for treatments," said Dr. Sanjib Saini, medical director of MD Dermatology of Maryland (www.mddermatologyofmaryland.com), which has an office in Edgewater. "Guys want to look better."
He pointed out the dermatology practice administers to patients of all ages.
"For younger kids, it's all about acne treatments," Saini said. "But, in their 40s, people start to think about skin rejuvenation, and removing fine wrinkles and deep lines. Surgery isn't the only option."
He pointed out a face lift, sometimes a five-hour procedure, can cost from $10,000 to $20,000 in this area.
"There are laser treatments and chemical peels, fillers and botox injections," he said. "The technology has improved so much, people don't have to go into hiding after a procedure. Twenty years ago, a patient's face would swell up. For two weeks, they'd have to use bandages. Now, the face is pink or reddish for five days. Skin irritation is greatly reduced. A person can have a procedure on Thursday afternoon and be back at work on Monday."
"Doing the right thing is important. A lot of what we do is educating the patient about what is best for their particular situation."
At any age, Saini is a big proponent of sunscreens.
"I'm a fan of sunscreens with zinc. They physically block the sunlight. In the new formulations, the zinc is dispersed throughout the lotion. It's not like the white paste that life guards used to put on their nose. Sunscreens without zinc block only certain lightwaves."
He advises people of all ages to get routine physicals. During the physical, they should have their skin checked for telltale signs of cancer or - worse - a melanoma, a dangerous form of skin cancer.
"Skin cancer is the most rapidly developing cancer today," he cautioned. "8,000 to 9,000 people will die of melanomas this year."
As do many plastic surgery and dermatology offices in the area, MD Dermatology of Maryland offers injections of neuromodulators, like Botox, Dysport and Xeomin.
"Botox - a botulinum toxin - was the first. It's been in use for a decade. Now, many different options are available. They all numb the muscles," he said. "The injections need to be repeated every three months."
Pricing varies for these injections into the area between the eyebrows or in the nasolabial folds - the "parentheses" lines or laugh lines on either side of the lips.
Costs for fillers, used in the lines beneath the lips, and in the nasolabial folds, begin at $650. Chemical peels, which can rejuvenate the skin and erase fine lines, start at $100 for a medium peel and $300 for a deep peel.
Thin lips can also be plumped up and look fuller with an injection of Juvederm fillers.
Hair removal by laser is one option in today's medi spas.
A more recent innovation is used for hair removal, plus photorejuvenation and other skin treatments. Called intense pulsed light, or known also as IPL, the process can reverse some of the effects of photoaging by removing wrinkles. IPL treatments can also remove pigmented lesions and vascular blemishes - beginning at $300; or treat acne, starting at $379.
Profractional laser treatments are another option for removing fine lines, wrinkles and sun damage. Packages begin at $1,500.
Skincare product lines are available at many medi spa, plastic surgery or dermatology facilities that address acne, rosacea, sun damage or sun protection, and anti-aging issues. At any of these facilities, ask about specials, or Groupon or coupon offers.
Lothian resident Geneva Clement, in her mid-60s, has had "a little work done." The retired personnel director had the bags beneath her eyes surgically removed a few years ago. In March, she had filler injected into her laugh lines.
"The lines are nowhere as profound as they were," Clement said.
More recently, she opted for a neck contouring laser procedure that is minimally invasive and is performed by a doctor without general anesthetics.
"It's for my profile," she said. The day after the procedure, a bandage was wrapped about her face, anchoring soft white sponge panels in place.
"I decided to have neck contouring done because I had a little turkey gobble hanging underneath my chin. I wanted to see a different look."
The procedure is done through three small incisions in the skin of the neck.
"I was tired of my children and grandchildren toying with the turkey gobble," Clement said with a smile. "I'm taking some Tylenol, but that's it."
The one-hour procedure cost about $4,500.
"People should do what they're comfortable with and makes them feel good," Clement said.
Pretty much everyone would like to look youthful, especially the politicians currently looking for votes! Most do not want a face lift or an aggressive surgical procedure. But they would like to see improvement of their appearance with minimal downtime and reasonable pricing. A thoughtful consultation can provide realistic advice about what can and cannot be achieved. This requires a knowledgeable team including a physician, educated nursing staff, and a well-balanced esthetic staff. There are so many rejuvenating devices out there; while no one facility can own all of these, the well trained aesthetic surgeon should have a basic array of devices that provide reliable outcomes, tailored for each patient. This type of personal approach to cosmetic services can serve to differentiate the medical aesthetic practice from the hair salons and corporate medi-spas which offer a standardized cookie cutter approach to the cosmetic patient often with the latest unsubstantiated fad treatment.