Between moisturizing cream and cosmetic surgery lie a wide range of anti-aging facial treatments. Face masks, massages, laser and light treatments, fillers, peels — it seems a product or procedure is available for every problem.
Non-invasive treatments. One of the first treatments you might want to consider is a professional face mask and massage. These “use medical-strength antioxidant products which are formulated to penetrate deeply for maximum benefits,” explains Dr. Michael Law, of the Blue Water Spa in Raleigh, N.C. Other options are hydroxy acid peels, or chemical peels, and medical microdermabrasion, in which medical-grade aluminum oxide crystals are used to remove the outer layers of dead skin and promote collagen production. Lymphatic drainage uses suction to remove excess fluids, dirt and toxins from the skin.
Advanced options. Laser skin tightening aims to stimulate new collagen in the dermis, or lower layer of the skin, without damaging the outer layer, or epidermis. LED photomodulation uses colored LED lights, similar to sunlamps, to stimulate collagen production in the dermis, “without relying on high energy sources and heat damage,” says Law, “unlike other laser, pulsed-light or radio frequency techniques used for skin rejuvenation.”
At the more extreme end of the spectrum are facial fillers such as hyaluronic acid injections, collagen fillers and fat grafting designed to plump out and counteract collagen loss, as well as other injectables, which block nerve stimulation, inhibiting muscle contraction and thereby reducing the appearance of frown lines and wrinkles. The amount of muscle contraction, Law says, is dependent on the dose administered, and over-treatment can lead to “frozen face” or lowering of the brows, an undesirable effect.
At-home options. Injectables, Law says, are best administered by a surgeon or medical professional. Of course, you can always give yourself a facial at home, and you can get at-home microdermabrasion kits, chemical peels and even handheld LED lamps designed to improve skin texture and tone.
If you want to rejuvenate your facial features, says Annelise Hagen, author of The Yoga Face, “all you need to do is tone the muscles in the cheek area.” Her book includes facial exercises designed to give your risorious, zygomatic and buccinator facial muscles a workout — these are the muscle groups most important for a young-looking face, she says.
If pulling faces is not your thing, and you don’t mind the cost, you could opt for an Oralift dental facelift. The Oralift is a brace-like device that is fitted to the lower jaw by a dental surgeon and worn for up to two hours every third day. It’s designed to reverse the signs of aging by retraining the jaw muscles to a wider resting position, thus combating the downward droop of an aging mouth.