Ageing. We can’t escape it. It is the natural accumulation of metabolic damage and there is not much we can do to halt the march of time. We can, however, slow the process down somewhat, by taking good care of our skin.

The Symptoms

Most commonly, sagging and thinning of skin is first noticeable, followed by the onset of wrinkles and the appearance of “age spots” (i.e. small areas of darkened skin).

Wrinkles are usually the most troublesome sign of ageing, and can be categorised as follows:

  • Glabellar frown lines: Vertical lines that appear between the eyebrows when you frown.
  • Crow’s Feet: Small wrinkles that extend outward from the corner of the eye.
  • Forehead lines: Horizontal lines that appear across the forehead.

Other issues may include sagging eyebrows, the mouth “pulling down”, the appearance of gummy smiles, and neck bands.

The Causes

There are a large number of factors involved in ageing, particularly of the skin, including normal metabolic processes, infections, smoking, alcohol consumption, sun exposure, trauma, hormonal imbalances, and stress to name just a few.

Most wrinkles, including “crow’s feet”, frown lines and forehead lines, occur as a result of the everyday use of muscles in the face for smiling, concentrating, frowning, and laughing.

The Treatment

Technology has made a wide range of options available, both surgical and non-surgical, to help maintain a youthful appearance.

Anti-wrinkle injections are a non-surgical cosmetic treatment to help improve and reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Some injections stop the muscles working properly, relaxing them, thereby improving the overall facial appearance. Others involve the injection of filler materials into the deep folds to create a fuller looking profile.

Skin resurfacing through chemical peels, light treatments and laser treatments can improve the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, sun spots and scarring (usually acne scars respond well).

Chemical peels exfoliate the top layer of skin to make dead skin peel off and stimulate the production of collagen to give a tighter skin and a more youthful appearance.

Laser treatments use heat to cause injury to the different layers of the skin, stimulating the production of collagen. There are a number of different types of laser treatments available including Fraxel and Clear & Brilliant, the choice of which being dependent upon the objectives of the patient, age, and type of skin.

Light treatments such as BBL (Broadband Light) use bursts of light energy to heat the layers of skin, similar to laser treatments.

Microdermabrasion uses fine crystals to abrade or sand the surface of the skin to remove dead skin cells, and stimulate the production of new skin cells.

Surgical procedures such as neck lifts, brow lifts, blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery) and whole face lifts can be used to remove excess skin, reposition fat deposits, alter facial contours and improve the overall appearance of the face to give a more youthful appearance.

It is important to remember that all treatments carry risks, and should be discussed fully with a qualified and experienced practitioner prior to making a decision. Treatments can be time consuming and painful and may need to be regularly repeated for the optimum outcome.