A protein called collagen is a part of our bones, tendons and skin. It maintains strength and elasticity. Unfortunately, as we age, our collagen begins to break down, resulting in wrinkles and sagging skin. You can see this in smile lines, the forehead and around the eyes. In fact, by the time you are 80, you’ll have 4 times the broken collagen that you had in your 20’s. Aging releases enzymes that cause the breakdown of collagen fibers. The breakdown of the fibers is like a domino effect—more fibers continue to break down as a result of exposure to the enzymes. The less collagen, the more wrinkles.
The University of Michigan Department of Dermatology recently reviewed several studies that suggest that three specific treatments can prevent or delay some of this collagen breakdown.
#1: CO2 laser resurfacing
CO2 resurfacing has long been called the “gold standard” for laser resurfacing. It literally burns away old skin to prompt collagen to reproduce. Unfortunately, it takes 3-4 weeks to recover from a deep CO2 resurfacing, as the patient’s face is terribly weepy, scabby and uncomfortable. Nobody wants to go out among friends and coworkers within 3-4 weeks of a CO2 laser treatment.
An alternative to CO2 lasering in my office is the Croton Oil Phenol Peel. It does the same thing as the CO2 without a laser, offers less chance of pigmentation loss and provides more lasting results than the laser. Recovery is about 2-3 weeks, followed by 2 months of redness that can easily be concealed with makeup. See a before-after set of one of our patients at left.
#2: Dermal fillers
Restylane, Sculptra, Juvederm and Radiesse are all dermal fillers that encourage new collagen growth through cross-linked hyaluronic acid content which help the fibroblasts to stretch as they did when you were younger. You’ll notice with use that, over time, you’ll need less filler less often because your own collagen is rebuilding itself.
#3: Vitamin A
Retinol and retinoid treatments (ie, Retin-A) are wonderful to rebuild collagen, soften wrinkles and smooth roughness.
Collagen can be stimulated as well through microdermabrasion, tobacco avoidance, exercise, sun avoidance (and use of a good sunscreen when you are in the sun). Come in to discuss the options with us here at Aesthetic Plastic Surgery of Naples. We do more than plastic surgery—we have dozens of non-surgical treatments to help you maintain a youthful, healthy life.