When you shop for an anti-aging cream at your local department store or pharmacy, are you confused about the bewildering number of choices? Well, you're not alone.
In a recent survey conducted by the American Academy of Dermatology, 94% of the 2,079 American women surveyed are very confused about the numerous over-the-counter and prescription anti-aging products and anti-aging treatments available today.
“The best place for people to find answers to their questions about aging skin is from a dermatologist, since we are the experts in the diagnosis and medical, surgical, and cosmetic treatment of aging skin,” says dermatologist Arielle N.B. Kauvar, MD, Clinical Associate Professor of Dermatology, New York University School of Medicine.
“Potentially, women could save time, money, and confusion by simply asking for advice from a dermatologist instead of guessing what might work for them.”
The survey also discovered that over 69% of women are concerned with the visible signs of aging, including fine lines, wrinkles, and dryness. 47% want to improve the look of the skin around their eyes, and 18% want to improve the look of the area around their mouths.
Over-the-counter anti-aging products
"Alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) products can help remove the dead outer layers of skin, leaving your face with a fresh, younger appearance, says Dr. Kauvar. "AHAs are especially beneficial for wrinkles around the mouth and eyes, two areas of the face where women usually would like to see the most improvement.”
You should also consider over-the-counter topical products with the anti-oxidants, vitamins C & E.
“But the single most important thing people can do to prevent aging skin and further damage is to protect themselves from the sun,” recommended Dr. Kauvar. “Consumers should use a broad-spectrum sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB rays, and has a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 15 or higher.”
Prescription anti-aging products
To reverse the signs of aging, consider using retinoids, a vitamin A cream that can help eliminate wrinkles, fine lines, and age spots.
“As long as patients have realistic expectations about the kind of improvements they can achieve, both prescription and over-the-counter treatments are valuable tools in the treatment of aging skin,” remarked Dr. Kauvar.
Cosmetic anti-aging treatments
Are you also confused by the various treatments offered by your dermatologist? Over 78% of the women surveyed wanted to know how invasive the anti-aging treatments are and how long their benefits would last.
Non-ablative laser skin rejuvenation plumps up the skin when a laser or light source is absorbed by the water in the skin cells.
Another treatment is microdermabrasion, where aluminum oxide crystals on the skin are eliminated with a vacuum line, thus removing the outer layers of the skin.
Chemical peels are simply a chemical solution placed on the face to remove the outer, dead layer of skin, leaving only new skin underneath.
Other options for reversing the effects of aging include injectible fillers and botulinum toxin. Injectible fillers are injected in the skin to eliminate winkles, furrows, and hollows in the face. Botulinum toxin is injected to help relax the muscles to soften crow’s feet, frown lines, and other wrinkles.
"All of these anti-aging treatment options are perfect for people who live busy lifestyles and do not want the inconvenience of a long recovery period,” said Dr. Kauvar.
“Each of these procedures can usually be performed in under one hour, require little or no downtime, and allow the healing process to occur rapidly. Most importantly, there is minimal patient discomfort during these procedures.”
Dr. Kauvar suggests that patients who are considering a cosmetic treatment ask their physician questions about:
There are many anti-aging treatment options available today. Discuss your goals with your dermatologist and he/she will recommend the options that should work best for you!
- Physician’s credentials and training
- What you can expect in the way of results
- Recovery time required for the anti-aging treatments
- Risks associated with the treatments
- Cost comparison between various treatments
About the author:
Diana Clarke is a teacher, freelance writer and the founder of The Sun and Your Skin, a website on life and light.
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