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Who should focus on anti-aging treatments?
This question seems like it should have a pretty simple answer: anyone who is looking to address fine lines, wrinkles and sagging skin. Every person ages differently, and it is up to the individual when signs of aging bother them.
But the truth is that many plastic surgery patients are looking for more definitive answers, not just about the right age for starting treatment, but about how to prevent aging from occurring. Younger Millennials, and even the older members of Gen Z, are looking to be proactive and prevent those fine lines and wrinkles from developing.
But is this possible? Let's dive into the world of prejuvenation.
The idea of prejuvenation is fairly new, with the term popping up in the last decade. It is held in contrast to rejuvenation, which is the effort to get back something lost – in this case, youthfulness.
Prejuvenation is all about not feeling that loss. Rather than being reactive, it is proactive. It prevents signs of aging rather than treating them.
To a degree, most people engage in prejuvenation already. A regular skincare routine is prejuvenation. Wearing sunscreen is prejuvenation. Getting a facial during a spa day is too.
Young women today aren't interested in waiting around for that first line, gray hair or the dreaded "elevens" between their brows. They ask themselves what they can do to stop issues from occurring in the first place. And while going gray is what it is, for most other concerns, they've landed on their preferred solutions – preventative dermal fillers and Botox.
Plastic surgeons must always shoulder the burden of managing expectations and helping clients form realistic ones. This means honestly answering the question: Can starting fillers and Botox young prevent aging from occurring?
The answer is, of course, no. They are not a fountain of youth, and while they can help delay the formation of lines and wrinkles and restore lost volume, cellular aging still occurs. Time marches on.
What they do accomplish is helping patients look younger for longer. It isn't stopping the aging process, but rather staying a few steps ahead of it.
And this isn't meant to discount the impact preventative treatments can have. With the right approach and regular maintenance, it is possible that people can enter their 40s or 50s looking a decade or more younger than they otherwise would. They could go through their later life never looking their age. But never looking older at all? That just won't happen.
If you are still feeling confused about the truth behind preventative aging treatments, you aren't alone. Below are some common myths about prejuvenation dispelled and the facts that can guide your decisions.
Fine lines and wrinkles are part of the aging process, but they aren't the sum of it. There are other aspects of aging that cannot be prevented. Plus, eventually, even if decades in the future, some fine lines and wrinkles are going to develop.
Injectables can help to reduce signs of aging and delay their start when used correctly. For example, Botox can stop the involuntary contractions of the brow muscles that create the "elevens" there.
Most people will already have signs of aging by the time they hit their late 20s. While these are typically minimal, the beginnings of crow's feet, smile lines and forehead creases will be visible. If your goal is to get ahead of the aging process, you want to start by your mid-20s.
Compared to plastic surgery, injectables tend to deliver more natural-looking results. This is really important for people who wish to stave off signs of aging because having that "work done" look defeats the purpose.
It's easy to feel this way because with prejuvenation, you never really "see" the results. The goal is to maintain your current look. This means there is never that big reveal in the mirror where you see the incredible change in your appearance. However, this just means the treatments are working.
Anyone engaging in prejuvenation needs to be prepared for the upkeep. Most injectables last somewhere between 3-6 months, though this will vary based on the type and your metabolism. As a result, prejuvenation means making an investment in yourself.
The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.