When it comes to anything related to anti-ageing it can often feel like information overload, and far more confusing than clear. Many – for example – are interested in reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and slowing down the skin’s ageing process, but are unsure which course of action is best for them and what it will involve.
To help us with our most common queries, Starts at 60 went to the professionals, namely Dr Tony Prochazka, cosmetic surgeon at Cosmetic Avenue in Melbourne.
First, what are the key causes of skin ageing?
Genetics, poor diet, smoking and environmental exposures such as UV and pollution. It’s also worth noting that, as we age, our production of collagen and elastin diminishes and, in turn, this leads to many visible signs of ageing – such as fine lines, wrinkles and a loss of volume throughout the face. On top of this, our natural oils reduce as we age, which results in the drier and duller appearance of skin. With all this in mind, it’s safe to say that some things are in our hands, while others are inevitable. That said, years of cumulative sun exposure is the biggest cause of pigmentation and uneven skin tone, which is why sunscreen and limited sunbathing is key.
What’s the best way to tackle fine lines and crow’s feet?
Anti-wrinkle injections (i.e. Botox) are brilliant for crow’s feet. Provided it is done carefully, it can be great at treating the lateral areas of the nose too. It works by weakening the muscles and reducing wear and tear around the forehead, thereby reducing the formation of wrinkles. The injections take less than five minutes. Immediately after, there may be a gathering of little bumps, then – over the next few days – lines will start to soften. All in all, the effect lasts for about four to six months. The best results are seen after a year or so of treatments. Even when the treatment starts to wear off, wrinkles take longer to form, as the skin has had time to heal itself and rest, meaning that you can stretch out treatments, and fewer are required in the long run too.
What’s the difference between anti-wrinkle injections and fillers?
Anti-wrinkle injections work by relaxing the muscles in the face to prevent new wrinkles from forming, and also smooth out existing lines. Dermal fillers (made from sugar molecules derived from plant sources) are made to fill and plump out the skin (including lips) to reduce the appearance of wrinkles. The effects of fillers typically last up to a year, which is twice as long as anti-wrinkle injections.
What are some of the side effects of anti-wrinkle injections?
Side effects are rare with anti-wrinkle injections. You might experience mild irritation at the injection site, or on rare occasions there may be slight bruising or swelling, but all of these resolve quickly. There is a 2 per cent chance of creating a ptosis, (where a brow or eyelid may sit lower after the treatment). This can last for a few weeks but it will resolve.
With dermal fillers, you may experience redness at the injection site but it typically fades within 24 hours. Bruising and swelling post treatment are all normal side effects, so plan your treatment when you have very few commitments. One of the greatest risks of dermal filling is a vascular accident, this is when the dermal filler causes occlusion to a vessel, thus restricting blood supply to the surrounding skin. The side effect would be increased pain that does not subside, and a dusky colour in the area of the pain. Dermal fillers are reversible, however, with a medication called Hyaluronidase, which dissolves the product and helps reverse the complication.
I’m ready for anti-wrinkle injections, but I’m worried I’ll end up with a frozen face…
This is a misconception that many have about anti-wrinkle injections and plastic surgery in general. In the majority of cases, however, the problem doesn’t lie with the procedure or product, itself, but the technique in how it’s prescribed.
At Cosmetic Avenue, we believe that anti-wrinkle injections are precision tools. Injections should be treated like a scalpel rather than a hammer and should be used for small-scale, localised treatments. Ideally, they should be used to target specific areas of your face and wrinkles. They are not cure-alls that can reverse all the signs of ageing, but they can provide you with that refreshed and rejuvenated appearance.
Some patients misunderstand this and resort to anti-wrinkle injections as a final resort for ageing. Many end up receiving excessive injections to target their entire face – something anti-wrinkle injections are not designed to do. The result? An unnatural result and an inability to create facial expressions.
Is there an ideal age to have a facelift?
No. What matters is your appearance – not age. It is a question of how much a person is bothered by something that can be fixed with a facelift. In general, this process begins in the early 40s, with the most common age for a facelift being in the mid-50s. The oldest age is limited only by the health of a patient.
If I opt for a facelift, when can I get back to my usual social life?
The majority of patients resume normal social activities within two weeks. Your doctor will advise you further, as there are some follow-up requirements to ensure the best results.
What is your more general advice to everyone regarding their skin?
Considering we live in a country with some of the harshest UV rays in the world, my advice is to be sun safe, then please have regular skin checks. You need to catch cancers early. Start good skincare and in-clinic treatments early, and always look after your neck when you’re looking after your face.
IMPORTANT LEGAL INFO This article is of a general nature and FYI only, because it doesn’t take into account your personal health requirements or existing medical conditions. That means it’s not personalised health advice and shouldn’t be relied upon as if it is. Before making a health-related decision, you should work out if the info is appropriate for your situation and get professional medical advice.