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It happened pretty quickly. The aging process slowly sneaks up on you – and overnight you start to see the beginnings of it. For me, I had my son when I was 28. Aging wasn’t something I was concerned with. Fast-forward 6 years – my son has grown and we added twins to the mix. I now see the start of things that concern me. I’m all for accepting yourself and aging gracefully, but I’m open to things to gently help stop aging and even reverse some of the signs. Even if that means with the help of a plastic surgeon.
If you’re like me and you’re beginning to see the start of aging, you can ask yourself, “Do you want to pause the aging process or rewind it?”
That’s the question millions of people are asking themselves in U.S. plastic surgeons’ offices each year. The decision is really between non-surgical and surgical cosmetic treatments. Non-surgical treatments such as fillers, BOTOX® Cosmetic, and energy services can erase wrinkles and tighten skin, effectively pausing the aging process temporarily. Surgical treatments go a bit further, effectively rewinding the signs of aging for results that last and make a person look years younger.
How do you know which is right for you?
Either route can be a good choice, so it all depends on your goals, condition, budget, and lifestyle. Try working with a board-certified plastic surgeon to find the best option for your needs, and use this quick guide for some of the most common aging concerns:
Pause: A great option to quickly nix these pesky horizontal lines is BOTOX. Many physicians use these simple injections to relax the forehead muscles, which are the primary cause of forehead lines. Injections take only about 15 to 30 minutes, according to the website of BOTOX specialist Dr. Richard D’Amico, a plastic surgeon based in Englewood, N.J. and former president of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons®. Like most injectables, the results of BOTOX last a few months.
Rewind: For longer-lasting rejuvenation, consider a surgical brow lift, also known as a forehead lift, to give yourself smoother skin and alert-looking eyes. A brow lift is a relatively simple surgery that can even be performed endoscopically, leaving tiny scars hidden within the hairline. Recovery takes about a week and the results can last many years, particularly with good skin care.
Concerns Around the Eyes
Pause: Crow’s feet, which are the fine lines at the corners of the eyes, also respond very well to BOTOX. For hollows under the eyes, an injectable filler might be a good choice. These simple injections do as their name implies and “fill in” the skin to restore volume, effectively fading dark circles. Results last 6months to a year.
Rewind: If you have significant drooping or sagging of the upper eyelids or bags under your eyes, then eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty) is usually a better option. This type of surgery involves an incision in either the upper or lower eyelids, or both, as shown in this Mayo Clinic illustration. By removing the excess skin or fat deposits found in these areas, a surgeon can help open your eyes, giving them a much more youthful and awake appearance. Downtime is about a week, and results last many years.
Pause: There are a couple of energy treatments that may help reduce jowls somewhat by tightening the skin of the lower face. Ultherapy® uses ultrasound energy and Thermage® uses radiofrequency energy to stimulate collagen production in the skin, making it firmer. Both treatments require just a single session and no downtime.
Rewind: Although those non-surgical options work well for people with mild jowls, there is really no stand-in for surgery for this particular concern. The most popular and comprehensive surgical treatment is a facelift and neck lift, which can address sagging and excess soft tissues of the neck, jawline, and mid-face while tightening many of the support structures found beneath the skin. Recovery can take a couple of weeks, but the results can be quite transformative.