Dermatology specialist Dr. Valerie Goldburt with Advanced Dermatology PC explains how to match the skin treatment with the goal and offers tips on what to expect.
The goal of looking younger – with a fresher, more rested appearance – is all but universal, though the desire for invasive surgery to achieve this ideal is not. But minimally invasive procedures such as dermal fillers, tighteners or laser resurfacing can offer the results people crave without the high cost or lengthy recovery time, according to Valerie Goldburt, MD, PhD, of Advanced Dermatology P.C.
Quick, safe skin treatments that boast little downtime before patients can look their best, fillers, tighteners and laser resurfacing all help produce a more youthful face. But each procedure offers unique, distinct advantages depending on a person’s goals, Dr. Goldburt says.
“Matching the right skin treatment to the goal is important, rather than going into a treatment blindly,” she says. “That’s why potential patients should make sure to educate themselves on what each of these minimally invasive treatments can and cannot accomplish. It’s the key to managing expectations and being happier with the outcome.”
Dr. Goldburt explains the most common goals for skin treatments and matches them to the right treatment for those goals. She also offers tips on what to expect when undergoing dermal fillers, tighteners or laser resurfacing:
Goal: Diminishing lines and restoring volume and fullness
Right Treatment: Dermal fillers
Also known as injectable implants or wrinkle fillers, dermal fillers consist of a variety of substances that help create a smoother and/or fuller appearance in the face and lips, including the so-called nasolabial folds – the creases on the sides of the mouth that extend upward toward the nose.
Fillers, including popular forms such as Juvederm and Restylane, are injected into areas of the face (and even the tops of the hands) that have lost volume due to aging. Most fillers have a temporary effect, lasting from six to 18 months, because they contain materials absorbed by the body over time.
What to expect:
Dermal fillers can’t achieve the same results as a more invasive facelift, browlift or eyelift, but may help delay the time when such procedures are considered. Some fillers also contain the anesthetic lidocaine, which is added to decrease injection-related discomfort. Patients may need more than one injection to achieve the desired smoothing or filling effect. After a treatment, some pain, redness, swelling or itching may occur for up to 36 hours.
Goal: Tightening lax skin
Right Treatment: Tighteners
To firm up mildly loose facial skin, skin tighteners use radiofrequency, ultrasound or infrared light energy to tighten the skin below the surface. Heating the skin with these forms of energy stimulates the skin to produce new collagen, a protein that helps promote firmer skin from the inside out.
Known by skin tightener device names such as Thermage or Ulthera, the treatment is typically used to improve mild to moderate fine lines and wrinkles on the entire face and are more commonly used on jowls, neck and eyes.
What to expect:
Skin tightening treatments, which typically take between 1 and 3 hours, can be done with local anesthesia. Results from skin tighteners aren’t permanent, and not everyone responds to the treatment in the desired way. Multiple treatments may be required for optimal results. Maintenance treatments need to be done about once a year to prolong the effects.
Goal: Reducing fine lines and skin irregularities such as scars and age spots
Right Treatment: Laser resurfacing
Using short, concentrated pulsating light beams aimed at the skin, laser resurfacing treatments such as Fraxel remove skin layer by layer in order to eradicate fine lines and irregularities. Also known as a laser peel, lasabrasion or laser vaporization, the procedure works best for those with fine lines on the forehead or around the eyes or mouth, shallow acne scars or stubborn freckles or age spots. The treatment vaporizes skin cells damaged at the surface level.
What to expect:
A local anesthetic will be used if small areas are being treated with laser resurfacing. The treatment can take from 30 minutes to two hours. Bandages will be applied afterward and the treated area will need to be cleaned several times a day and coated with ointment to prevent scabbing. Sunscreen use is very important after healing to protect from new skin irregularities.