When you hear the words youthful complexion, nine times out of 10, someone’s referring to skin that’s firm, plump and wrinkle-free: The hallmark of good health and vibrancy. But add intrinsic aging to the mix — a breakdown process that diminishes the production of collagen, the natural protein that makes up the framework of our skin’s structures to provide support and elasticity — and skin begins to lose it’s springiness.
“Tightening sagging skin requires more intervention than any other problem,” says Ranella Hirsch, M.D., spokesperson for the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery. Fortunately, there are new, non-invasive or minimally invasive treatments that are considered effective without resorting to drastic measures, like plastic surgery.
A few choices to consider:
Lasers and Thermage: Some of the most effective firming strategies now include non-surgical procedures that rely on an infrared light source or radio waves to heat collagen under the skin’s surface, causing skin to contract. “These treatments help stimulate the development of new collagen and get heat deeply into the skin to tighten fibrous bands, explains Robert Weiss, M.D., vice president of the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery. One option, Thermage, an FDA-approved radiofrequency treatment that’s particularly effective at picking up the slack on face, neck and eyes, is popular for its single-visit results (especially on eyelid hooding, sagging brows, and fine lines), minimal discomfort, and immediate tightening that continually improves over six months.
Dermal Fillers: Known for restoring a youthful fullness to cheeks and hollows, fillers — like Juvederm Voluma — instantly lift skin, providing a firmer appearance almost instantaneously, which can last up to two years.
“Active treatments:” Over-the-counter creams and serums containing Vitamin A (retinol), Vitamin C, and alpha- or beta-hydroxy acids help skin renew itself and appear firmer; they’re best used twice a day on a regular basis.
While all three options provide proven tightening results, the best plan of attack is a three-pronged approach that integrates the best products and in-office skin-firming treatments for the most youthful and healthy appearance possible.
— By Denice Schwind, PA-C
Denice Schwind, PA-C has specialized in medical and cosmetic dermatology since 2004 and is an industry leader in skin care and anti-aging. Feel free to submit questions directly to Denice at [email protected]