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VIDEO: If I Had - Signs of Aging Skin - Dr. Zoe Diana Draelos, MD, Dermatology Consulting Services
VIDEO: If I Had - Signs of Aging Skin - Dr. Zoe Diana Draelos, MD, Dermatology Consulting Services

(July 15, 2009 - Insidermedicine) In this video, Dr. Zoe Diana Draelos, MD, of the Clinical Dermatology Center, discusses what she would do if she developed signs of aging skin. Dr. Draelos is a Primary Investigator at Dermatology Consulting Services in North Carolina.

At the American Academy of Dermatology's annual meeting in San Francisco, we spoke with Dr. Zoe Diana Draelos, a dermatologist at the Clinical Dermatology Center. Dr Draelos is also a primary investigator at Dermatology Consulting Services in North Carolina.

If I were developing signs of aging on my facial skin...

Dr. Draelos: If you are developing signs of aging the person to see is a dermatologist. That individual is a physician schooled in understanding the skin. With that understanding comes the ability to recommend topical treatments, oral treatments, and surgical treatments to improve the appearance of aging skin.

What does the examination consist of?

Dr. Draelos: An anti-aging consultation can be very valuable to the individual who is concerned about their appearance. It is very important that you bring all your products that you are currently using, such as facial moisturizers, cleansers, and any other cosmeceutical products to the dermatologist. The first question the dermatologist will ask you is: "What are you using?" Based upon you skin care regimen, he or she will recommend products or changes that you might wish to make to your beauty routine to result in better appearance. From there the dermatologist may recommend a variety of procedures that can be easily done in the office. And then third, the dermatologist might recommend some invasive procedures such as injections: a form of botulinum toxin, fillers, and other rejuvenation procedures. You as the patient can determine whether you just want to use topical agents or injectables. But bring a list of questions to help your dermatologist know what types of treatments you are interested in pursuing.

What are the non-surgical therapies?

Dr. Draelos: It is important to provide a variety of treatments for anti-aging. First and foremost, use of a sunscreen. Your dermatologist will recommend a sunscreen that meets your photo-protection needs based on your skin type. Second of all moisturizing is the quickest way to improve fine lines and wrinkles of the face. With the plethora of moisturizers available your dermatologist can also recommend one most suitable for your skin needs. And finally there are a variety of cosmeceuticals that can also be used. Many of them are prescription products, and your dermatologist can also provide those prescriptions to supplement your over the counter treatment needs.

What are the surgical options for aging?

Dr. Draelos: For the patient who wishes to go beyond topical agents, surgical options are present as well. Fillers for example can be used to plump the face, fill in the lips, and restore more youthful proportion, which leads to a better appearance. Unfortunately with time lines and wrinkles appear on the face, those that are related to movement of the face can be well treated with botulinum toxin. Both of those are not permanent, they are temporary which is both an advantage and disadvantage. You can change them and if you do not like the final result they are always amenable to other treatment measures in the future. The disadvantage of those treatments are that they can induce some bruising; especially because they are injections, and there may be some swelling in the first few days after the treatment. Therefore if you pursue one of these treatments, be sure that you ask your dermatologist what the expected downtime would be after the procedure; before you look your best in public.

How effective are these treatments?

Dr. Draelos: All of the treatments that dermatologists have to offer have effects on different timelines. Use of a sunscreen is really a lifelong undertaking to prevent skin cancer but also photo-aging. Topical treatments like moisturizers can provide visible benefits within thirty minutes after application. Of course continued use is necessary to maintain that benefit.  Botulinum toxin lasts three months and you can expect that type of duration, and many fillers last six months and beyond. And of course the longer you use these cosmetic interventions the more drawn out the effects tend to be. So the timeline for cosmetic improvement varies depending upon the invasiveness of the procedure.

If I had aging skin...

Dr. Draelos: If I were concerned about the onset of aging skin I would use a sunscreen every morning with an SPF of thirty or higher. I would use a sunscreen that has UVA photo-protective ingredients such as stabilized avobenzone, as well as zinc oxide. I would use a good moisturizer, especially if I lived in a colder or drier climate. I would apply that on a daily basis. I would also include a healthy diet that included abundant antioxidants, such as vitamin C, vitamin E, and lycopene. And furthermore in the evenings that is where I would focus on my repair procedures and I would use a variety of the new exfoliants, the higher-level moisturizers as well as antioxidants as my night product. A very rich moisturizer would follow this. Diet as well as topical applications are key to skin health. The skin is a mirror of the inner you, and healthy skin means a healthy inner you.