While many of us focus on keeping our face youthful and vibrant, we don’t always give the same attention to other areas of the body. The result can be a mismatched appearance, with a face that looks much younger than other problem areas like the chest, arms, and buttocks. Fortunately there are nonsurgical treatments available for these areas as well. In her May webinar, Sabrina Fabi, MD, at Cosmetic Laser Dermatology, discussed treatment options so you won’t let your body give away your age.
Sun Damage and the Chest
According to Dr. Fabi, the chest is the most common area to see early signs of aging after the face and neck. This is due to the sun exposure that occurs to this area when we are outdoors and even when we’re driving our cars. UV rays penetrate the windshield to affect the face, neck, and chest. However, we often don’t think to protect the chest with an SPF, so damage can be more intense in this area.
The first sign of damage is usually freckles and brown spots known as seborrheic keratoses or liver spots. These may be treated with intense pulsed light (IPL) therapy. The device emits wavelengths of light that target the melanin in the pigment to help to eliminate the spots without damaging surrounding skin and tissue. Dr. Fabi said she often combines IPL with a Q-switched Alexandrite laser to achieve a superior result, since combination treatments typically lead to a better outcome.
Getting the Best IPL Treatment
Dr. Fabi mentioned that she often sees patients who have had IPL treatments with other providers and did not achieve the desired result. She explained that there are numerous IPL devices on the market today and not all are created equal in terms of strength or efficacy.
At Cosmetic Laser Dermatology, she uses the Lumenis M22 IPL, which is the most powerful IPL device available. When she combines this effective treatment with laser therapy, results can be quite dramatic for her patients. However, patients typically require two treatments on the chest, while the face usually responds well to one treatment. This is due to the delicate nature of the skin on the chest, which prohibits her from getting too aggressive with treatments due to the risk of damage.
Fine Lines and the Chest
While pigmentation is typically the first sign of damage to the chest, fine lines can eventually follow. These wrinkles can be more challenging to treat than facial lines, since lasers are not typically as effective in this area. Dr. Fabi and the other doctors at Cosmetic Laser Dermatology are pioneers in chest wrinkle treatments. They were the first to post on the efficacy of dilute Sculptra and Ultherapy to treat this area. They will also be the first to post on the effectiveness of dilute Radiesse as a chest rejuvenation treatment.
Ultherapy is a non-invasive treatment that uses a transducer to deliver ultrasound energy deep in the connective tissue. Ultrasound imaging is used to direct the sound waves to the precise location to produce the best results. The heat from the device breaks up old, damaged collagen fibers and triggers the body to produce new collagen. The heat is higher than other devices to ensure an optimal outcome. Patients are given Pronox (nitrous oxide) before treatment to help ensure their comfort throughout. Results may be seen in about three months and continue to improve for up to six months.
More Choices for Chest Wrinkles
Another option for treating chest wrinkles involves injections of dilute Sculptra into the area. This collagen inducer works deep into the tissue to boost collagen levels, offering the same natural results as Ultherapy. Sculptra usually requires three treatment sessions, while Ultherapy is generally just one session. The treatments can also be combined to further enhance results.
Treating Inner Arm Crepiness
The area under the upper arm is another place where the skin can start to show its age as early as our 40s. Dr. Fabi describes crepey skin as resembling cigarette paper, with its uneven texture.
The primary culprit in the changes to the arm skin is collagen loss. Collagen begins a slow, steady decline as early as our 30s. However, since estrogen is a primary driver of collagen production, depletion of this essential protein starts to accelerate when women hit perimenopause. During menopause, women can lose as much as 30% of their collagen.
Getting Ahead of Collagen Loss
To help manage this rapid collagen loss, Dr. Fabi recommends first seeing a functional medicine doctor during menopause to help regulate hormones as they begin to shift. It is also imperative to avoid sun damage during this time, just as it is during any other time of life. Finally, Dr. Fabi encourages women to begin treatments earlier – in the 30s or 40s – rather than waiting until collagen levels fall significantly, to help maintain youthful skin for longer.
Dr. Fabi said her go-to treatment for the upper arm area has become dilute Radiesse. Like Sculptra, Radiesse is a collagen stimulator that works in the tissue to trigger the body to produce more collagen. The treatment takes just 5-10 minutes on each arm, and there may be a little discomfort, bruising, or bleeding during or after this treatment. Patients usually return to daily activities right away. Patients typically need three treatments, spaced about one month apart, to achieve optimal results.
Another option for patients with mild crepiness is a combination of microneedling and diluted belotero. Dr. Fabi performs the microneedling first, which creates micro-channels in the skin to boost collagen production below. She immediately follows this step with some diluted belotero to add hydration to the skin and improve the results.
Sabrina Fabi, MD explained that combination treatments, specifically customized to the precise needs and goals of the patients, produce the best results. Although a surgery known as brachioplasty (arm lift) offers more dramatic improvement, many patients are hesitant to undergo that procedure due to the lengthy scar left behind on the underside of the arm. Many patients opt for a less invasive treatment and are typically quite pleased with their results.
Cellulite: A Widespread Concern
According to Dr. Fabi, as many as 95% of women experience a degree of cellulite throughout their lives. Many choose not to seek treatment, since many topical remedies and even devices touted for cellulite treatment are not very effective and are usually temporary.
Dr. Fabi assures women dealing with cellulite that there is a treatment that may last up to five years and it is available at Cosmetic Laser Dermatology. Cellfina is the only treatment approved by the FDA to treat the dimpling associated with cellulite. In addition, Cellfina often produces subtle volume or lift to the buttocks.
Cellfina is performed using local anesthetic and takes about 45 minutes to complete. After treatment, patients may experience some bruising and tenderness for about 10 days. Patients will also need to wear a compression garment for about one week, to reduce swelling and promote quicker healing to the area. Visit pubmed.gov to read more about Cellfina.
A Correct Diagnosis Means a Successful Treatment
One problem women run into when seeking treatment for cellulite is that the condition is often misdiagnosed. Cellulite is characterized by dimpled skin, which occurs when the fibrous bands below the skin’s surface constricts and pulls a small area of skin inward. Cellfina releases this band, allowing the tissue to reposition naturally for smoother skin. A single Cellfina treatment may produce significant improvement in the appearance of cellulite that may last up to five years.
Many people also attribute symptoms like skin laxity, excess fat, volume loss, and stretch marks to cellulite. However, these concerns require a different treatment approach to produce a positive result. Only a skin expert, such as a board-certified dermatologist, will be able to pinpoint the issues and create a customized treatment plan to achieve the best result.
Each of these skin concerns needs to be handled in a different way:
- Dimples – respond best to Cellfina. There is an injectable treatment, Qwo, coming early 2021 to provide doctors and patients another option in dimple treatment.
- Excess fat – should be addressed using a fat reduction treatment like liposuction or CoolSculpting.
- Volume loss – requires a transfer of fat to the area, or injections of Radiesse or Sculptra if fat is not available.
- Skin laxity – should be treated with a nonsurgical skin tightening device like Ultherapy, ThermiTight, or a laser designed for this purpose.
Dr. Fabi mentioned another treatment that can help enhance the appearance of the buttocks, in addition to other areas of the body. CoolTone is a new body sculpting device that uses electromagnetic muscle stimulation to tone areas like the backside. Since the gluteus maximus (buttock muscle) is one of the largest in the body, targeting this area may produce dramatic improvement.
Schedule An Age-Defying Treatment Today
Don’t invest in your face and leave your body to betray your true age. With many effective treatments available today, you can maintain your youthful appearance from head to toe. To learn more about any of these procedures, contact Cosmetic Laser Dermatology to schedule your consultation.