As you age, your skin begins to lose collagen -- the firm, elastic protein that helps make babies' skin so soft and smooth. Menopause will often accelerate this process, leaving your skin looking thin and drawn. While these changes on your face can be masked with makeup and a good night's rest, your hands and neck aren't so fortunate. What can you do to restore a more youthful appearance to these areas? Read on to learn about some advances in cosmetic dermatology that can help you achieve a uniformly young and healthy look.
For your neck:
There are several treatments -- from the minimally invasive to the more serious -- that can reduce loose, elastic skin and take years off your appearance.
- Botox for loose skin
Although you might associate Botox with the treatment of frown or smile lines on your face, it can also be very effective in treating loose or sagging skin on your neck. Botox works by blocking the impulses from one nerve to another. When this treatment is targeted in areas with excess skin, it can help tighten the collagen bands that hold this skin in place and effectively shrink the skin.
Botox treatment for your neck is quick and simple -- however, it is not a permanent fix. After a few months, your Botox treatment will begin to wear off, and you'll then need to decide whether to have more Botox or to choose another option.
This newly FDA-approved treatment involves the use of an ultrasound machine to help stimulate the collagen-producing glands in the deepest layers of your skin. By targeting these areas with concentrated heat, your dermatologist can help jump-start your body's production of new collagen as well as strengthen your existing collagen. In many cases, you may need only one ultherapy treatment, although your dermatologist may recommend a follow-up treatment if you have a substantial amount of excess skin.
- Neck lift
The most intensive way to eliminate excess neck skin (as well as the most effective option for cases that don't respond to Botox or ultherapy) is the traditional neck lift. This surgery generally requires the doctor to make several small incisions behind the ears to help tighten up and trim away sagging skin. Your doctor may also choose to perform some minor liposuction on any excess fat in the area.
For your hands:
From soaking in a hot, soapy sink to pumping gasoline, your hands do it all -- and after several decades of doing it all, may begin to show some wear and tear. However, some of the treatment methods discussed below can also help your hands look more supple and soft.
- Laser treatment or chemical peels for age spots
Exposure to the sun and elements can cause your hands to take on a mottled appearance as your skin's pigment concentrates in certain areas. However, these spots are fairly easily treated by using a laser (similar to the lasers used to remove tattoos). If your spots are more recent or minor, you may also be able to have a chemical peel to remove the top few layers of skin and allow new, clear skin to shine through.
- Ultherapy for bony hands
In addition to stimulating the collagen-producing glands in your face, ultherapy can also help the skin on your hands become more plump and elastic. Many patients have reported substantial improvement of the skin on their hands after only a single treatment.
- Fillers for veins
If your hands have visible or prominent veins, you may be able to have a dermatological filler injected into the skin around these veins, to plump up the area and make these veins less prominent. Although this treatment can be effective, over time your body will break down and absorb these fillers, so you may have to have the procedure repeated several times per year.
For more information, contact the staff at a cosmetic dermatology clinic in your area.