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Wrinkles (cont.)

When to Seek Medical Care for Wrinkles

Since wrinkling does not seem affect one's general health, the decision of when to visit a physician depends on one's economic situation and one's personal feelings. A reasonable alternative to fixing this external problem is to work on the reason for considering the need in the first place.

How to Get Rid of and Treat Wrinkles

The treatments for wrinkles are cosmetic procedures. Cosmetic procedures are those that do not produce a functional improvement in the patient condition but they may produce an enhancement in a sense of well-being. They are generally not covered by most insurance plans.

Cosmetic procedures for wrinkles can be grouped into four groups:

  1. Paralysis of superficial facial muscles
  2. Filling depressions so that they are elevated
  3. Changing the nature of collagen either by medical means or by an invasive destructive procedure
  4. Surgical removal of excess skin

Some of these procedures are as simple as the application of a topical cream while others are surgical procedures that require general anesthesia and an operating-room environment. The determination of which procedure is best is often difficult and requires an individual with expertise in multiple approaches.

Botox, Dysport, Xeomin, and Myobloc

This is a relatively recent innovative use of a toxin produced by a bacteria, Clostridium botulinum. This protein was responsible for a number of human death from eating contaminated, inappropriately canned foods. Patients died because of the loss of the muscle control of respiration. Enterprising scientists refined and diluted this material so that it could be injected into spastic muscles and superficial facial muscles producing a paralysis that lasts two or three months at a time. The result was the disappearance for a time of wrinkles induced by these muscles. Currently, there are two brand name medications that have FDA indications for injection, onabotulinumtoxinA (Botox Cosmetic) and abobotulinumtoxinA (Dysport), that can be injected into the muscles of the face to ameliorate wrinkles by paralysis of the tiny muscles involved. Other brands of this chemical, although not officially indicated for facial injection, may work as well. They are incobotulinumtoxinA (Xeomin) and rimabotulinumtoxin B (Myobloc). Injections usually have to be repeated at regular intervals to maintain the desired result. Side effects are generally caused by the injection of too much toxin in the wrong anatomical site. Luckily, the effect of the toxin is self-limited. Currently, there is ongoing research into a topical preparation that potentially could be applied to the skin at home.

Fillers and Elevators

There are a variety of substances that have been used to elevate the furrows of depressed wrinkles. There are many FDA-approved fillers that include the patient's own fat cells (autolagous fat grafting), collagen (Evolence, CosmoDerm, Fibrel, Zyplast[R], and Zyderm), hyaluronic acid (Belotero Balance, Restylane Injectable Gel, Prevelle Silk, Elevess, Juvéderm 24HV, Juvéderm 3 Hylaform, and Captique), lactic acid (Sculptra), and hydroxylapatite (Radiesse) and a combination of polymethylmethacrylate beads and collagen (Artefill) There are also a variety of unapproved fillers such as silicone and mineral oil which are potentially dangerous and should be avoided. Which brand of filler to be used on which wrinkle in a particular anatomic site is part of the art of cosmetic dermatology and requires special expertise. Most of these substances require reinjection at various intervals and all have occasional side effects.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/27/2016

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