RESTORING YOUR LIPS

When assessing and treating a patients lips there are several subtle changes that can rejuvenate the mouth area without making the lips look “done”.  Although some patients want much fuller lips, a lot of us prefer subtle changes.

old lips

young lips

lip comparision

As we age our upper lip changes in several ways.  We tend to lose the definition along the vermillion border, the philtral ridge/columns (the vertical columns that start at the tip of the cupids bow and end below the nose) flatten and the space between the upper lip and nose elongates.  Subtle changes can be created with easy injection techniques, including defining the vermillion border, restoring the philtral columns and accentuating the cupids bow.  Restoring the philtral columns frequently make the lip lift slightly.  Filling these columns can return the contours that were likely once there.  Vertical lip lines can be softened as well.  Small amounts of filler can be placed within the lip itself to restore lost volume.  There are many fillers to choose from these days,  giving the patient and provider options, depending on the treatment plan.  Fillers vary in their hyaluronic acid %, viscosity, elasticity and cohesiveness.

When assessing and treating the lower lip there are several changes that can have a nice impact,  other than just looking fuller.  Again, the vermillion border can be defined and fine lines can be corrected.  The oral commissures, which tend to turn down as we age, can be turned back up with filler placement techniques.  Volume restoration can be completed to obtain the desired effect.

The ideal balance of upper lip to lower lip is 1/2 to 2/3’s.  This does vary individually and you and your provider can decide the best proportions for you.

In addition to fillers, small doses of Botox® or Dysport® can be utilized to relax muscles in this region of the face.  If a person tends to purse their lips  Botox® or Dysport® can be used in the muscle surrounding the mouth (the orbicularis oris) to minimize the pursing.  This injection technique also tends to roll the upper lip up and out slightly, making it appear slightly fuller.  Additionally, for a gummy smile,  an injection a little higher (closer to the nose) in the upper lip can relax the muscle that lifts the lip up.  This injection prevents as much gum tissue from being exposed with animation.

Another placement of Botox® or Dysport® that can help in the lower face and lip area is treating the depressor anguli oris ,(DAO) which, in some individuals, pulls down the sides of the mouth.  Very small doses are utilized in these muscles to help minimize the appearance of frowning.

As with all facial injections, make sure your provider has a thorough understanding of facial anatomy.   Ask if there is an “emergency kit” for injectables in the clinic.  (a kit containing an enzyme to dissolve filler, should it be required)

Do not worry that having injectables in the mouth area will leave you with unnaturally big lips. (which we have all seen) If you and your provider are on the same page, you can obtain a natural restoration of the volume and definition you once had.

 

DECADES

aging face

Our skin care needs change as we age and it is easy to be overwhelmed by all of the choices out there.  This is a quick guide through the decades.

THE 20’s

In our twenties we are generally enjoying the glow of our youth.  This is a time when we frequently take for granted our smooth and plump skin.  This can be a time when we do a lot of the damage we regret years later.  This is a good time to be committed to a supportive skin care regime.

  • Sunscreen is a no brainer.  Ideally with zinc or titanium to assure long lasting, broad spectrum protection.
  • A topical antioxidant to ward off additional UV and free radical damage. (Vitamin C for example)
  • A retinol or low dose retinoid to keep those skin cells turning over and to help manage occasional breakouts.
  • This is the time to introduce an eye cream.  Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  You will thank yourself later in life.
  • For spot treatment of blemishes a product with salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide can be applied.  More is not better because you may replace your blemish with a dried scab which can then hyper pigment.
  • By now you have probably made the correlation with diet and skin and are aware that a healthy, well balanced diet helps all of your organs, including your skin. (in addition to not smoking!)

THE 30’s

Throughout our thirties we start to see subtle changes from exposure and repetitive muscle movement.  In addition to a supportive skin care regime we might consider extra steps to help during this decade.  We are producing less collagen and elastin by now and are starting to notice.

  • Botox® can be introduced to manage lines from repetitive movement. (frown lines, crow’s feet, etc)
  • Chemical peels can help to lift the outer layers of the skin diminishing pigmentation and fine lines and wrinkles. Collagen is stimulated in this process.
  • IPL’s can minimize pigmentation and redness in the skin.
  • Some patients opt to introduce small amounts of filler in their thirties where they are seeing changes related to volume loss.

THE 40’s

As we begin to experience shifts hormonally and as our estrogen levels drop we lose even more collagen, elastin and facial fat.  Our bones are also shrinking under all of that creating more changes we may not love.  Our sebaceous glands are producing less sebum and dry skin may become more of a concern.

  • Continuing with a skin care regime involving sunscreen, antioxidants and a retinol/retinoid is a must.  You may opt to increase the strength of the retinol/retinoid.
  • Additional moisture is frequently needed.  Look for products with ceramides, for instance.
  • Facial volume loss can be managed with an expanding menu of dermal fillers.
  • Botox® can be used to help “lift” when your injector relaxes the muscles pulling down (depressor muscles) allowing the elevator muscles to lift unopposed.
  • IPL’s and more aggressive lasers (fractionated erbium and CO2 for example) can be utilized to manage skin discoloration and texture changes.  Collagen stimulating treatments, like Ultherapy®, can be used to help combat the loss of collagen.
  • Neck, chest and hands can benefit from all of the above!

THE 50’s , 60’s, 70’s and 80’s (and beyond)

In our fifties  we are likely approaching menopause and are continuing to see age related changes.  As we continue in to our sixties and beyond this becomes more of an issue as post-menopausal skin experiences more age related changes without the support of estrogen.   We probably need to boost our moisture as our skin becomes drier.

  • Continue with the three pillars in skin care: sunscreen, antioxidants and retinol/retinoid.
  • Some find it helpful to cut back on the % of their retinol/retinoid to combat  dryness.
  • Increase moisture as needed.
  • Continue to see your provider to determine if Botox®, filler and various laser modalities can help obtain your aesthetic goals.
  • If surgery is appropriate, find a surgeon you trust and have vetted.

 

 

 

 

HOW ABOUT THE NECK?

neck

A youthful neck only lasts so long.  It is an area of the body we commonly receive consultations on.  Did anyone read Nora Ephron’s brutally honest and sarcastically funny book, “I Feel Bad About My Neck And Other Thoughts On Being A Woman”?!  She had a thing or two to say about her neck!

But seriously, we tend to take good care of our faces but neglect our necks.  There are many options for our necks.  From topicals creams,  injectables, skin firming treatments, and finally, surgery.  This will be a quick and easy breakdown of modalities to address a variety of issues that can effect the neck.

As we age the skin on our neck becomes thinner, the platysmal bands show, looking  like cords in our neck.

platysmal bands

Platysmal Bands

Our sub mental fat pads can become more apparent and we loose the definition along our jawline, altering our profile.

neck fat

Sub mental fullness

The tissues can become looser, frequently due to repeated pulling of the platysma muscle along with the loss of collagen and elastin.

loose neck

Loose skin/loss of collagen/elastin

Skin can  become discolored.  A condition called Poikiloderma is common in both men and women.  The skin is marked with a combination of hyperpigmentation and redness (from vascular injuries from sun exposure).  Poikiloderma frequently involves the chest in addition to the neck.  Most often the medial neck is not affected.

poikiloderma

Poikiloderma

I think we can agree the first photograph in this blog looks better than all the others!  So, how to get closer to that….

Platysmal bands can be easily corrected with Botox®.  Botox® is injected along the platysmal band and within two weeks the band will relax and not show.  Additionally, doses of Botox® can also be injected along the mandible (jaw bone) to improve the jawline contour.  This is sometime referred to as a Nefertiti Lift.  This is a quick, non-invasive procedure.

Sub mental fullness can be addressed with Kybella® injections.  The injection of this acid breaks down the fat which is then eliminated by the body.  A series is generally recommended.  Other than 48 hours of socially awkward swelling (think bullfrog), this is a low down time procedure.  The procedure is ideally repeated at 4-6 week intervals.  We are noticing patients experience some skin retraction with this procedure as well. (likely as a result of the inflammatory process in which collagen is stimulated)

The loss of skin turgor can be treated with a skin tightening treatment, such as Ultherapy®.  During this treatment heat is delivered deep in the tissues, using ultrasound, creating tightening and lifting.  This is also a low to no down time procedure as most people can receive an Ultherapy® and return to their activities without anyone knowing.  The improvement is gradual over the next 4-6 months as the collagen that was stimulated grows in.

Discoloration, such as Poikiloderman, can be treated with a series of IPL treatments.  Again, other than redness the day of treatment, this is a minimally invasive/no downtime procedure.  We recommend a series of 3-5 treatments.

I do not want to underestimate the importance of good skin care.  Sunscreen is a no brainer.  There are also products specifically formulated to treat the skin of the neck and décolleté.  My current favorite is Neocutis® Microfirm™.   This topical product, utilitzing peptides and glycolic acid,  increases elasticity and improves skins crepey appearance.  It can also help to fade hyperpigmentation.

microfirm

Finally, there comes a time when the tools and products we have in a medical spa are not enough.  There is a time when the neck is best addressed with a skilled surgeon.  A neck lift involves redraping the skin.  Additionally the platysma muscle is reattached and tightened.  You and your skin care provider ideally have honest conversations along the way allowing to make this call when it is appropriate.

Anyway, don’t forget your neck!  Hope this gives you some helpful tips:-)

 

 

FAVORITES OF 2016

There are a few stand-out products from 2016!

Alastin Restorative Skin

The Alastin Restorative Skin Complex® has become a part of my daily routine.  I have found an improvement in the texture and tone of my skin using this product regularly.  The skin around my eyes (especially under my eyes) has firmed and there are fewer fine lines.  This product has peptides that help your skin grow collagen and elastin.  Restorative Skin Complex has been written up in numerous publications and has been recommended by multiple dermatologists and plastic surgeons.   It is worth every penny.

c-e-ferulic

Skinceuticals C E Ferulic rotates in and out of my regime, and has for years.  There is unequivocal evidence that this product, loaded with antioxidants, helps neutralize UV and free radicals.  Used with sunscreen, your protection is improved significantly.  90 % of visible premature aging is caused by environmental free radicals.  Sunscreen alone is not enough.  Adding an antioxidant such as C E Ferulic or Phloretin CF gives the skin significantly improved protection.

elta-spf-40-daily

Elta MD® UV Daily Broad-Spectrum SPF 40 is always on my bathroom counter, in my purse and in my car.  With 9 % zinc oxide, the sun protection is superior to any chemical sunscreen.  The formula is not at all heavy, and with  hyaluronic acid , it is hydrating.   I love this sunscreen.

metacell-renewal-b3

Skinceuticals Metacell Renewal B3 is also always in my rotation.  This product helps with hyperpigmentation and, with niacinamide, redness as well.  It has a smooth and hydrating feel without feeling heavy or greasy.  Great product.

voluma

Allergan Juvederm Voluma™ has become one of my favorite dermal fillers.  It is FDA approved for filling the midface, although I use if off-label in temples, tear troughs and lower face.  This filler is wonderful at restoring lost volume while looking very soft and natural.

voluma-2

And, as always, the tried and true merits of Botox® and Dysport® can not be disputed.   The preventative and corrective effects of both of these botulin products are proven in terms of efficacy and safety.  They are here to stay, and when in the right hands, can create a rested appearance.  We have all seen a “Botoxed” face, but that is not how it has to be.  There can be movement and expression  when the muscle activity is minimized rather than frozen.  A rested appearance is the ideal outcome.

Botox cropped

dysport

One more product I have enjoyed this year, and in previous years, The Vi Peel.  In a perfect scenario we would all have a peel every 3-4 months.  Peels help to lift damaged and dull skin, stimulates collagen, fades hyperpigmentation and clears stubborn breakouts.  I love my skin 10 days after the peel is applied.  The Vi Peel is strong enough to see a difference ,but not so strong that there are weeks of downtime.    Great glow!

vi-peel-2

All products and services mentioned are available here at TOC Medical Spa in Austin!

I hope your 2017 is off to a great start!  Here is to your health and happiness!

DO YOU WANT TO SAVE A LITTLE $ ON YOUR COSMETIC TREATMENTS?

There are several programs offered by the aesthetic pharmaceutical companies that are meant to drive patients back in for additional treatments.  They are effective for the companies AND they save the patient money.

I think it is worth utilizing these programs if you are a consumer as it does save you $ on something you were probably going to do anyway.

bd2

Allergan, the makers of Juvederm®, Botox®, Kybella™, SkinMedica® products and Latisse®, has a program called Brilliant Distinctions®.  You accrue points by receiving treatments with your provider, purchasing skin care, and in the case of Latisse®, filling a prescription at your pharmacy.  You simply sign up at www.brilliantdistincionsprogram.com.  When you receive an aesthetic treatment with an Allergan product remind your provider to issue you points at check out.  When purchasing SkinMedica® products also ask the person checking you out to issue points on your skin care purchases.   Check your account before your treatments to see how many points you have accrued and create a coupon.  The coupon are worth anywhere from $10-$80 depending on what you have accrued.  (I have seen patients have more than $80 in their banks)  Points do expire after 9 months so keep an eye on them.  Brilliant Distinctions® also has an on line mall where purchases from participating retailers can also create dollars in your account.  The list of retailers is extensive and includes many commonly shopped businesses.  Maybe your holiday shopping is going to pay for your next Botox® treatment!

aspire2

Another program, from Galderma, the makers of Restylane® products, Sculptra® Aesthetic and Dysport®, is called Aspire.  Once again, you accrue points as you receive treatments.  Go to www.aspirerewards.com to sign up.  You are also able to accrue points in Aspire by taking monthly quizzes, participating in surveys and referring friends.  The Aspire program points last longer than Brilliant Distinctions® points,  although they do eventually expire.

Both programs have smart phone apps that make it that much easier to access and utilize.

If you are a fan of medical aesthetic treatments check these out.  It can only save you money!

FOR THE MAN

men2

I am pretty sure my audience is mostly women, but I wanted to do a quick blog on skin care for men.  Honestly, every post I do for women would also apply to men ,but I thought I would highlight a few treatments and products that male patients  utilize and inquire about.

  1. Skincare– A solid skincare routine can benefit anyone.  A topical antioxidant and sunscreen every day are no brainers.  Male clients tend to like SkinCeuticals antioxidants.  Phloretin CF®, CE Ferulic® and Resveratrol B E are all quality topical antioxidants that can be incorporated in to a daily routine.  The antioxidants support collagen production, protect from free radical damage, protect from UVA/UVB radiation and can help minimize redness by strengthening vessels.  Additionally, there are studies showing that utilizing a topical antioxidant can prevent the development of certain skin cancers.  An antioxidant followed by a quality sunscreen would be the two most important components of a skin care regime.  Ideally, the sunscreen would contain at least 7% Zinc Oxide.  Protecting from the suns radiation is the most important step in any skincare regime. (I would argue that, if nothing else, EVERYONE should be using sunscreen) Elta MD® UV Clear SPF 46 seems to be the most popular sunscreen for men at TOC Medical Spa.  A great moisturizer that men seem to like is SkinMedica® HA5 Rejuvenating Hydrator.  This is a weightless moisturizer, blending five forms of hyaluronic acid, which help to diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.  Men can also benefit from the use of a retinol/retinoid to increase the skins cellular turnover and stimulate collagen.

male-products

  1. Botox®/Fillers– Male clients are no stranger to these mainstays in aesthetic medicine.  Botox® for men is becoming more and more utilized everyday. (one in ten Botox® clients are male)   Maybe as men see their female counterparts experiencing the benefits of these minimally invasive treatments they are wanting to get on board.  In my experience, my male patients seeking Botox® treatments are frequently aging in the work force and feel it gives them a certain edge to keep looking their best.  Allergan has a great resource online for those who are interested, www.botoxcosmetic.com/men.  The same goes for fillers.  Men can benefit from the addition of lost volume.  The midface is the most frequently treated area.  Hyaluronic Acid fillers and Sculptra are great options for men.
  2. Kybella®–  This is new to the tools we have at our disposal in aesthetic medicine.  Kybella® (there is a whole blog on it a few months back) can make a huge difference in the sub-mandibular fat (under the chin).  I see a lot of men who could benefit from this treatment.  Essentially,  fat is dissolved with an acid (deoxycholic acid)  and the appearance of the submental area and jawline are dramatically improved.  I have been very impressed with the results of this treatment.  www.mykybella.com

Kybella-Treatment-Male-Patient-Before-and-Afters

These are just a few examples of what is available for men seeking aesthetic treatments.  I know women are not the only ones wanting to slow down the appearance of aging as the years go by 🙂

HOW OUR FACE AGES

facial changes 2

Our face experiences numerous structural changes over the years and having a general concept of these changes can help approach a customized aesthethic treatment plan.

Changes occur over time with the skin, fat, muscle and bone contributing to our facial changes, most notably, volume loss.

Over time our skin becomes thinner, drier and experiences a reduction in collagen.  The skin becomes less elastic and is likely to sag and wrinkle.  Sun damage contributes and causes skin discoloration as well.

fat 2

Additionally, our facial fat pads atrophy (break down) and shift under the skin leading to facial volume loss.  We tend to lose volume in the temples and mid face while gaining volume around the mouth, jaw and lower face.  The separation in the fat pads results in visible unevenness in our facial contours, where once it was a smooth with the apex at the lateral cheek.

bone 2

Bone loss over the years is another reason for the loss of volume.  Bone resorption over the years causes the overlying structures to loose support.

full face aging changes

The above diagram notes some of the commonly noted changes that individuals eventually seek treatment for.  There is not a one size fits all approach as we all experience age related facial changes differently.

Fillers such as HA’s, (hyaluronic acid) Sculptra® or Radiesse® can be used to return volume where it is lost.  Restoring volume in certain areas can have a nice impact on the contours, restoring a more refreshed appearance.  For instance, mid face.  Mid face volume does not only restore volume to the mid face but tends to have a lifting effect to all the tissues below.  Nasolabial folds, oral commissures and marionette lines all soften with mid face correction.

Some of the lines from repetitive muscle movement are best treated with Botox®, Dysport® or Xeomin®.  (such as the frown lines, crows feet or horizontal forehead lines)