Too old or too young to do laser or radiofrequency treatments?

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This is a good question, because as we age, we want to preserve as much as possible:

  • The shape of our face by preserving volume.  We lose about 250 cc of volume in our faces as we age  (25-90) if we don’t replace it.
  • The quality of the skin by avoiding sun damage.
  • The elasticity and firmness (read collagen) of our dermis.

Age matters because we lose some of our dermis (collagen & elastic fibers) and supporting structures particularly fat and  bone as we age. The more dermis we have, the more devices like Thermage, Ultherapy, Profound, Infini, etc. are successful.  At 80, none of these procedures will harm you, it’s just that you may not see much visible effect. Even so, they help with preserving what we have, but it will be subtle. The only restriction with the Thermage eye tip, since eye shields need to be used, is to discuss it with your eye doctor, if you have corneal problems.

Most of what is mentioned below works even better on younger skin because the skin has more collagen, fibroblasts (cells that make collagen), elastin fibers, etc.

Preserving volume

This has to do with keeping a smooth contour not only of our “frame”, but also the key curvy areas of the face around the cheeks, eyes and mouth.  Much of the jowl issues relate to this one.  As the upper face loses volume, it’s the lower face where we see it.  The vectors are going down, instead of up!  Makes sense doesn’t it.  The best way to do this is an artistic dermatologist, mid-level provider like a PA-C or ARNP, or some RNs who is  skilled with fillers.  Volume is tricky though, because done poorly it just looks weird (let’s be honest) with chipmunk cheeks, duck lips, and other unnatural looking contours.

Quality of the skin

Meaning blotchiness, brown spots and melasma, red spots and dilated blood vessels with most of these being related to too much sun damage.  Or…..to skin diseases like allergies, eczema or rosacea.  Skincare products, especially daily use of high zinc sunscreeens,  and several lasers like the IPL/BBL, or Fraxel for example help the most with this.

Elasticity (tightness), and firmness (collagen)

As we age we lose the above slowly, and sun damage just accelerates it.  Building collagen is key with good skincare products like retinols (and prescription tretinoin), cell growth factors, etc..  Lasers like Fraxel, carbon dioxide, and erbium lasers are helpful, as are the radiofrequency or related devices like Thermage, and deep radiofrequency microneedling (like Profound and others).

Hope this helps,

Dr. Brandith Irwin

 

 

 

 

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