Deep wrinkles--you want to shrug them off as a natural part of the aging process. For those who think that aging gracefully is overrated, however, those furrows defining your brow and framing your smile have far less to do with looking distinguished and far more to do with looking old. While over-the-counter creams can improve the appearance of fine lines, deep wrinkles require the big guns. The best way to get rid of deep wrinkles is to head to a dermatologist or other qualified skin care for assessment and treatment.
Schedule a consultation. Seek out a dermatologist or other doctor who has demonstrated experience in skin care therapy. When scheduling a consultation, don't be timid about asking the tough questions about how long the doctor has been performing cosmetic procedures and on how many patients. Word-of-mouth is another fairly reliable method for sniffing out a skilled skin care physician. These days, nearly everyone knows someone who has had a cosmetic procedure.
Be fully involved in the consultation process. This is serious medicine that can produce unpleasant results, so you'll want to be informed about all options and side effects. Your problem might be cosmetic in nature, but a good doctor will want to know about your health history and will perform a physical exam. You will need to share with her a list of all medications and supplements you are currently taking. Be ready to have a frank discussion with the doctor about your expectations.
Consider Botox treatments for deep wrinkles. Though not a permanent fix, you will enjoy a good result for several months to come. Relax during the procedure. Knowing what to expect will go a long way in keeping you cool and calm. The doctor will use a thin needle to administer one or more injections into the problem areas.
For the deepest wrinkles, experts at the Mayo Clinic say that it could take as many as five injections to produce the desired result. Discomfort should be minimal, however, and downtime is negligible. All you need to do is lie quietly and calmly for the five to 15 minutes it will take to complete your Botox treatment.
Consider filling deep wrinkles if you aren't comfortable with Botox. This method of deep wrinkle treatment will plump up those depressed (and depressing!) problem areas. Again, soft-tissue fillers will not give you a permanent effect, but afford you a more youthful look for several months.
Be prepared to give up some body fat. Think of it as liposuction on a tiny scale as your doctor might recommend using a soft-tissue filler consisting of some of your own body fat. Most patients feel more comfortable with this option over the prospect of receiving bovine collagen and other foreign materials that the body might reject. The American Society for Dermatological Surgery says that, during the fat-acquiring procedure, the doctor will procure donor fat from your thighs or buttocks using a small cannula. The fat is then injected into your deep wrinkle areas.
Explore the option of a face lift. The mother of all deep wrinkle treatments, a face lift is major surgery that involves the cutting and lifting of facial and neck skin. This means that you must prepare yourself more stringently than you would for Botox or soft-tissue filler therapy. Having realistic expectations, talking to others who have had similar surgery and researching side effects and complications is a must, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Your doctor should play a major role in this process, encouraging you to be fully informed.
You will be fully sedated during the procedure. The skin will be loosened, stretched, trimmed and restitched, thereby tightening and smoothing the deep wrinkles and sagging that come with aging. Post-operative recovery is typically short, with sutures being removed within a week. There will likely be some temporary residual swelling and bruising, but cold compresses can help relieve this side effect.
A face lift certainly has greater risks and is a more significant investment in effort, time, trouble and money, but the results will be noticeable for years as opposed to months. Then you can get back to business of aging gracefully.
Find a board certified dermatologist in your are by visiting the website of the American Academy of Dermatologists.
When considering a face lift, consult the website of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons for board certified practitioners in your area.
Always research the credentials of your skin care provider. This person should be a medical doctor and have extensive experience in performing the procedure in which you are interested.
Libby Swope Wiersema is a veteran health care journalist and features editor for newspapers and magazines. She writes and edits health, fitness, nutrition and travel features for multiple media outlets.