Anti-aging treatments

There are several kinds of product available to help smooth out wrinkles in your skin.

Hyaluronic acids such as Juvederm® or Restylane® are the most commonly used injectable dermal fillers. The material is injected into lips, wrinkles and skin folds to smooth out surface contour irregularities, and to provide temporary "fill." The effects typically last from 6 months to 1 year.

Some of the adverse reactions include:

  • pain and, bruising at injection site
  • redness, swelling, edema
  • abscess (sores)
  • infection
  • allergic reaction
  • skin discolouration

Collagen, when contained in in cream-based skin-care products, is of absolutely no value. As a large protein molecule, it cannot penetrate down into the upper layers of the skin.

Purified collagen protein extracted from animals has been used for about 20 years to inject into fine and medium wrinkles. A simple office visit is required, and the injection takes only a few minutes. However, a skin test for allergy to the collagen is absolutely required before treatments. It takes several days to see the results of the test, and many doctors feel a second skin test is worthwhile to prevent allergic reactions to the injected collagen.

Natural human collagen products such as CosmoDerm® and CosmoPlast® are dermal fillers that contain natural human collagen. Unlike purified collagen protein injectionextracted from animals, natural human collagen does not require pre-testing. It is used in the correction offor facial wrinkles, frown lines and soft tissue deficiencies.

Collagen treatments are moderately effective but the effects are temporary, lasting only 3 to 6 months. Most patients want more extensive and longer-lasting improvement than collagen offers, and are better off waiting until they are prepared to undergo more definitive treatment.

Artecoll® is another injectable product for the skin that has recently become available, however, it is made up of acrylic micro-spheres in a collagen base. Once the microspheres are injected, they would be difficult to remove. While this offers a hope of permanent change, it makes any problems arising difficult to treat.

Fat injections and fat grafting have limited benefit in the treatment of fine and medium wrinkles, but recent research has shown that part of aging involves the gradual loss of fat from the face, resulting in a loss of fullness of the face. In a short operation lasting less than an hour, fat is injected where it is needed in the face, filling out contours and plumping up the skin. The fat used for these injections is taken by liposuction from another part of the body such as the thighs or abdomen.

Botox® Cosmetic is a relatively new therapy for wrinkles of the brows and around the eyes. Botox is made from the same toxin that causes botulism poisoning, but is used in much lower doses. This material has been used successfully for years to "fine tune" the results of eye squint surgery and in the treatment of many neurological disorders. Recently it has been applied to cosmetic uses, where it is usually used for frown lines and crow's foot lines. However, it has no effect on longstanding, established wrinkles where the skin has been deeply creased. Injection results in temporary (3 to 4 months) paralysis of the injected muscles.

Some of the adverse reactions may include:
  • droopy eyelid muscles
  • muscle weakness and swallowing difficulties
  • skin rash or other allergic reaction
  • headache
  • pain and bruising at the injection site
  • paralysis of the face
  • irregular heartbeat
  • eye swelling
Benjamin Gelfant, MD, 
in association with the MediResource Clinical Team