When it comes to facial rejuvenation, we’re living in an era of increasingly diverse options. While surgery remains a popular choice for many patients looking to reverse the visible signs of aging, non-surgical facial rejuvenation procedures are giving those who are not ready for surgery a wealth of effective alternatives.

Understanding the Capabilities of Non-Surgical Facial Rejuvenation

While many people who turn to non-surgical procedures are looking to avoid going surgery, it’s important to understand that non-surgical facial rejuvenation procedures are not a direct replacement for surgery. Non-surgical procedures have certain limitations that surgery does not (they cannot actually remove loose skin, for example). At the same time, however, they also have unique capabilities all their own. Most plastic surgeons recommend using non-surgical procedures to complement the results of surgery; this way, you’ll receive the benefits of each type of treatment. Plastic surgery procedures, such as facelift and neck lift surgery, are primarily used to correct the deeper structural issues that cause signs of aging to appear. They reposition the muscles, supportive tissues, and skin in order to restore the patient’s face and neck to their prior shape. While doing so takes care of a range of age-related issues, such as wrinkles, facial sagging, and the presence of jowls, it does little to address problems related to overall skin tone and condition (e.g., age spots and areas of uneven pigmentation). For this, patients will need to make use of one or more skin rejuvenation treatments, such as laser skin resurfacing or dermal abrasion. These treatments remove the first layer of the skin, thereby stripping away pigmentation problems and other age-related blemishes. They also cause the body to produce more collagen, which adds additional firmness and volume to the skin. Furthermore, while surgery sometimes corrects hollows under the eyes and cheekbones (because it lifts fatty deposits back into their original locations), it cannot compensate for age-related fat loss. As such, using dermal fillers (like Juvederm and Restylane) is often recommended following a facelift. Dermal fillers can correct age-related volume loss in the lips, make the cheeks appear fuller and more youthful, and fill in any lingering hollows around the eyes. There are, of course, instances where non-surgical facial rejuvenation can (and should) be used in place of surgery. Younger patients, particularly patients under the age of 40, can often successfully correct the visible signs of aging using only non-surgical procedures. This approach is preferable within this age group because it will delay the need for a facelift and that in turn will limit the number of revision surgeries the patient will require in his or her lifetime. Fewer revision surgeries will mean less scarring and a lower overall risk of complications. Likewise, people who cannot have surgery due to health issues are sometimes eligible for non-surgical procedures. While some health conditions, such as blood disorders or severe autoimmune disease, can restrict a person’s ability to have non-surgical facial rejuvenation, non-surgical procedures are usually safe for active smokers, people with well-managed diabetes, and other common ailments that make surgery risky. If you have any outstanding health conditions, it’s a good idea to ask your doctor and plastic surgeon whether or not you’re a good candidate for non-surgical treatments. Finally, non-surgical procedures are perfect for younger people who cannot easily adapt their lifestyle to accommodate recovering from surgery. If you’re unable to take several weeks off of work, for example, then the complete lack of downtime offered by non-surgical facial rejuvenation may be the perfect compromise to suit your busy schedule. Mothers of young children also benefit greatly from the flexibility offered by non-surgical procedures as they will not need to make additional room in their budget to cover the cost of 24-hour childcare (something that is often necessary for at least a week after having plastic surgery). Regardless of why you’re looking into non-surgical facial rejuvenation, it’s important to have a firm understanding of the most popular—and most effective—non-surgical treatments currently in use. Some of our top choices are discussed below:

Botox

Despite its often unfair representation in the press, Botox remains one of the most popular non-surgical treatments in use today—and if you try it, you’ll soon discover why. Botox is uniquely effective when it comes to treating dynamic wrinkles (wrinkles caused by the expansion and contraction of the facial muscles), particularly those that occur on the forehead and around the eyes. Moreover, it’s capable of treating them quickly, affordably, and with a very low rate of complications. Contrary to what you may have heard about Botox, adverse reactions to this compound are very rare, and it’s not toxic when used correctly. In fact, Botox has a number of medical uses (in addition to being a cosmetic treatment); most notably, it can help to prevent migraine headaches and treat profuse sweating. Botox works by temporarily relaxing the muscles in common “problem areas” where wrinkles occur. This not only stops winkles from appearing when you smile, frown, or laugh, it also reduces stress on the skin. This can help to halt the formation of static wrinkles (fine lines that become etched in the skin over time and remain visible when your face is at rest). As such, many plastic surgeons now recommend using Botox to prevent wrinkles, in addition to using it to treat them. You can expect your first round of Botox injections to last between three and four months. After the injections wear off, your face will regain its prior appearance. Botox cannot permanently “freeze” any area of the face, so experimenting with this compound is risk-free from a cosmetic perspective. However, if you decide that you like the results of Botox, you can choose to have a round of “top up” injections after your initial treatment wears off. Because Botox gradually “trains” the muscles in treated areas to remain in a more relaxed state, many patients discover that they only need to get Botox injections once every six months after their first few rounds of treatment. Spacing Botox injections out in this manner keeps the risk of complications low, ensures the patient’s face retains a natural look, and reduces the financial burden of Botox maintenance.

Dermal Fillers

As mentioned previously, dermal fillers can be used to fill in wrinkles and hollows and/or to enhance and shape facial features. It’s important not to confuse dermal fillers with Botox: While they can both be used to treat wrinkles, dermal fillers treat static (rather than dynamic) wrinkles, and they do so using a different mechanism of action. Dermal fillers work by increasing the amount of collagen that’s produced in a given area, as well as directly “filling in” wrinkles and hollows with a naturally-derived gel compound. This improves the volume, tone, and elasticity of the skin and therefore essentially reverses the effects of aging. Additionally, dermal fillers can be used on adults of any age for the purpose of enhancing and shaping various facial features. Dermal fillers are often used to plump the lips, fill out the cheeks, and reshape the nose or chin. Generally, patients can expect to see the results of their dermal filler treatment last from between six months to two years, depending on the type of filler used. As a final note, it’s important to understand that the various types of dermal fillers available today (i.e., Juvederm, Restylane, Radiesse, etc.) are not merely different brands. Different dermal fillers have different consistencies that make them ideal for specific applications. Some are thicker and do not disperse much into surrounding tissues; as such, they’re perfect for delicate sculpting applications, such as shaping the lips and philtrum or filling in deep lines. Other dermal fillers have a thinner consistency that allows them to spread out evenly across a larger area of the face. These are often used for filling in hollows under the eyes or cheeks because they produce a very smooth, natural-looking result. Some dermal fillers even contain tiny “microbeads” that allow them to raise small areas of the face, such as old acne scars. When you come in for a complimentary consultation, tell us what you hope to achieve by getting dermal filler injections and we’ll advise you on which filler (or fillers) can meet your needs.

Non-Surgical Skin Tightening Treatments

No guide to non-surgical facial rejuvenation would be complete without a word on skin tightening procedures. While surgery is often necessary to address advanced skin laxity, most cases of mild to moderate laxity can now be corrected using noninvasive laser or ultrasound therapy. Treatments like BBL Laser Skin Tightening, for example, pulse heat energy into the supportive tissues below the skin of the face (while keeping the surface of the skin comfortable cool). This prompts the body to produce a surge of fresh collagen, which gradually causes the skin to become firmer and more resilient over a period of about four months. This both smooths out wrinkles and fine lines and gives the face a subtle but flattering and natural looking overall “lift.” Ultherapy accomplishes similar objectives via the same process (collagen stimulation), only it uses ultrasound waves rather than light pulses to do so. Note that because these treatments are not invasive, they can be used in succession without any risk of serious side effects. If you would like to try more than one approach to skin tightening, feel free to ask us about your options. Laser skin tightening procedures and Ultherapy can also be used to lift and tighten the skin of the neck, allowing patients to achieve an effect similar to a mini neck lift.

Skin Resurfacing Treatments

Even if you have firm, wrinkle-free skin, problems like age spots, areas of uneven pigmentation, enlarged pores, and fine lines can make you look older than you actually are. Non-surgical technologies are extremely adept at targeting these issues and should therefore be considered a vital part of every patient’s anti-aging treatment plan. While there are many different skin resurfacing treatments available today, we tend to recommend laser skin resurfacing most frequently. Unlike harsh chemical agents, laser treatments will not cause the skin to extensively flake or “peel,” so they boast very little healing time. At the same time, they’re uniquely effective when it comes to both erasing superficial blemishes and stimulating the production of collagen. Furthermore, lasers can be used to target only specific areas of the face (in the event that the patient does not want his or her entire face treated). The Fraxel Laser, for instance, can be used to erase a single age spot or line, without touching the surrounding skin. When you opt for laser skin resurfacing, you have the option of treating as much (or as little) of your face as you want to.

Non-Surgical Facial Rejuvenation: A Diverse and Growing Field

While the procedures discussed above are some of the most popular non-surgical facial treatments in use today, they represent just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Here at Aristocrat, we offer a wide range of different non-surgical treatment options for both the face and the body. We will point out that while we do have a focus on providing the latest treatments and technology, we know that’s not all that matters for non-surgical rejuvenation. You need an expert injector that can create natural, subtle results and ensure that your injectable treatment is as comfortable as possible. You need your laser and light treatments to be performed by a certified medical expert so the treatment is effective as well as safe. You want to work with a practice that will monitor your recovery and answer any question you might have long after the procedure has performed. Aristocrat Plastic Surgery and MedAesthetics can do all that and more. No non-surgical treatment is taken lightly, and we take great care to elevate your experience from your free consultation all the way through your recovery. As such, if you’re interested in a specific treatment not covered in the guide, we recommend reaching out to us via phone or email. We’ll be happy to discuss your cosmetic objectives with you during a free consultation and elaborate on the full range of non-surgical treatments we provide.        
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