In a culture that is increasingly dominated by images of youth and beauty, many women and men are looking for ways to keep their faces looking as young and vibrant as they feel, and injectables have rapidly grown to become one of the most popular methods for achieving facial rejuvenation today. According to statistics compiled by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, treatments with Botox® or soft tissue fillers like Juvéderm® accounted for the majority (57.8%) of the nearly 16 million surgical and minimally-invasive cosmetic plastic surgery procedures performed in 2015, and those numbers continue to rise each year. One of the many reasons for the enduring popularity of these treatments, aside from their relative convenience and affordability, is their ability to target two of the most common causes for facial aging, expression lines and facial sagging.
Botox® for Expression Lines
The skin of the face and neck is among the first areas of the body to wrinkle because it is almost constantly in motion. We habitually make the same facial expressions day after day, and each time we make them we etch distinctive creases a little more deeply into the face. These facial lines are even commonly identified by the facial expressions that cause them, so that we call vertical creases between the eyebrows “frown lines” and wrinkles that form on the sides of the mouth “laugh lines.” Botox® (and related medications like Dysport®) work by temporarily relaxing the facial muscles responsible for creating these ‘dynamic’ facial wrinkles, softening their appearance and preventing their return for an average of three to six months. Additionally, several studies have found that, when used early in the aging process, Botox® injections effectively delay the formation of expression lines, keeping the face looking younger, longer and delaying the point at which more extensive facial plastic surgery procedures like facelifts or brow lifts might become necessary.
Soft Tissue Fillers for Facial Sagging
While a sizable portion of the wrinkles that appear on the face are caused by over-active facial muscles, many are also simply the result of time and gravity. As we age, the deeper skin tissues produce less collagen and subcutaneous fat deposits start to break down. This gradual loss of facial volume and skin elasticity produces lines which, unlike ‘dynamic’ lines, remain visible regardless of facial expression. The lines caused by facial sagging most commonly appear as the nasolabial folds that extend from the bottom of the nose to the corners of the mouth, the marionette lines that extend from the corners of the mouth downward to the lower jaw, and the vertical lines that appear in the lips and around the mouth. Injectable soft tissue fillers like Juvéderm®, Restylane®, or Perlane® use hyaluronic acid, a substance that occurs naturally in young and healthy skin, to replace volume in specific areas of the face, restoring a youthful fullness that “fills in” these lines and wrinkles. The results from injectable soft tissue fillers can typically last anywhere from six months to as long as two years, depending upon the specific product used and area treated, before additional maintenance treatments are necessary to maintain your results.
Although injectable treatments are minimally invasive and can be safely and effectively performed in as little as fifteen minutes, they are still serious medical procedures and require a highly trained and experienced practitioner with a thorough knowledge of facial anatomy in order to achieve optimal results. If you have any questions about cosmetic injectable treatments, or are interested in any of the facial rejuvenation procedures that I perform, contact me, Dr. James Namnoum to schedule a consultation today or connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for more plastic surgery news and updates.