Patients considering facial rejuvenation may know that they do not look as young as they used to but they may not know why. Of course, wrinkles are an obvious difference between aging skin and a youthful, healthy look. Visible folds and fine lines are signs that key elements, which keep the surface smooth, have started to diminish.
There are several natural components that are plentiful throughout the skin in youth, but that break down over time.
Collagen: A versatile protein, this molecule is responsible for creating a woven structure in the skin that is both sturdy and flexible. Collagen helps to give skin its shape, as well as providing a framework for essential structures like nerves and blood vessels . Collagen is constantly being broken down and regenerated—but this cycle slows down with age, leading to collagen loss and thinner, more fragile skin. Without collagen support, facial contours can change and lose youthful structure. Collagen production can be stimulated by creams such as Retin A or by various nonsurgical techniques.
Hyaluronic acid: It’s not an “acid” in the everyday sense (it won’t burn you) but rather it is a carbohydrate found throughout the body, known for its ability to hold onto water molecules. This allows it to do everything from being a primary constituent in the fluid that fills our eyes to keeping our skin moist and pliant. Like collagen, time causes it to break down—a phenomenon hastened by damage from ultraviolet light and lifestyle choices, such as smoking. Also like collagen, its natural replacement cycles gradually diminish with age, leading to a reduction in skin volume and a loss of smooth surface texture. This creates ideal conditions for wrinkles. Many popular dermal fillers have hyaluronic acid as their main ingredient to replace volume where necessary.
Elastin: Another powerful protein, elastin is what gives skin its ability to stretch into new positions, then bounce back its original shape. Every smile, frown, nose wrinkle, and forehead furrow pushes the skin into folds that should disappear once muscles stop contracting. As we age, elastin levels actually increase. This makes the skin stiffer, and wrinkles tend to persist even when underlying muscles are relaxed. As a preventative measure, BOTOX® injections can temporarily prevent muscle movement, thereby keeping lines from deepening despite aging changes in the skin.
Each of these three elements is vital for skin to remain vibrant, firm, and unlined. We all know that changes with aging are inevitable, but our goal is to minimize these changes and maintain the healthiest skin possible. When appropriate, nonsurgical treatments are available to compensate for loss of volume, moisture, and flexibility, and surgery can help to physically tighten skin, lift sagging tissues, and restore youthful contours.
Discover options for treatments and procedures to gain more youthful-looking skin at the Cosmetic Surgery Institute in Toronto. Call Cosmetic Plastic Surgeon Dr. Wayne Carman at (416) 322-7108 or 1-888-451-1140, or visit drcarmanplasticsurgery.com.Written by Wayne Carman
Dr. Carman is a Toronto Plastic Surgeon practicing breast, body and facial cosmetic surgery.