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Correcting Lip Wrinkles

December 23rd, 2009

Lip wrinkles or “smokers lines” are the lines that radiate out from the lip margin.   They can be the result of aging, sun exposure, smoking, and /or genetics.   They often may make a person look older.   Women generally dislike them because their lipstick runs into the wrinkles, giving a pronounced pursed look.  As I mentioned earlier this week, skin resurfacing may reduce these wrinkles.   What is the downside?   Invariably there is bleaching of the skin, which more often than not requires make up to conceal.

Fortunately there are other choices to reduce lip lines.   Injectable materials have made a dramatic contribution in the area of treating these wrinkles.

Filler materials are currently the first line of defense.   Products like Restylane, Juvederm, and Perlane are a few of the ever-increasing number of filler type materials on the market today.   They are injected under the skin and actually fill in the lines.   These newer products are based on a hyaluronic acid formulation, a natural component of your normal skin.   Interestingly, when lip lines become apparent, there is frequently a loss of lip size or fullness at the same time.   Not only can the lines be corrected, but the lips can be restored to more youthful size and shape, as well.

I am less satisfied with a couple other products that are available.   Botox injections that are used to reduce wrinkles for the lips, significantly changes the way in which your lips move and I think it looks very strange.   I do not recommend Botox into the lips, but it can be effective to reduce forehead wrinkles.

I do not recommend having Radiesse injected into the lips.   The material is too stiff and firm to offer a smooth and natural looking lip.  The manufacturer of Radiesse does not recommend using this material for injection into the lips, however it is often used elsewhere, such as in the marionette lines or pre-jowl area.

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Buyer Beware!

December 21st, 2009

There are some products or procedures I cannot sell or should I say, my patients will not buy once the have received all the important information.   We have all seen the commercials for medication that list all the horrible side effects.   I often wonder who would consider taking this medication when fully aware of the possible problems.  One of these procedures is skin resurfacing, which is plagued with complications.

Skin resurfacing is the process where the outer layer of the skin is removed and allowed to heal.   The outer layer of the skin can be removed with a sanding wheel (dermabrasion), strong organic acid (phenol peel), or coherent light beam (laser resurfacing).   When it is done properly, the procedure dramatically reduces wrinkles, removes age spots, and reduces pre-cancerous lesions form the skin.  For the procedure to be effective, the necessary depth of the treatment may result in a change in the pigment producing and/or storing cells in the skin.   Depending on the depth, this pigmentation irregularity can look unsightly and usually causes a bleaching of the skin.

Recently in the news, Sammy Sosa has been observed sporting a significantly lighter facial skin color than when he was playing baseball.  There has been much media speculation about this.  His explanation attributes the change to bright lights and facial cream (most likely hydroquinone).   I believe his lighter facial skin color may also be explained as the result of facial resurfacing and perhaps combined with his decreased sun exposure in retirement.

It has been my observation that virtually all patients who receive an effective treatment, experience some degree bleaching of the skin, once healing is complete.   Bleaching refers to the permanent lightening of skin color in the areas of treatment.   For instance, a patient who has had skin resurfacing for upper lip lines will end up with lips that are lighter than their surrounding facial skin.   Some women feel that wearing makeup to camouflage the difference in skin color is a reasonable trade-off.   It is my experience that once my patients learn about the side affects, they usually do not choose skin resurfacing, due to skin lightening.   There are several other options that are available for patients to consider.   I will discuss those options later this week, so please check back.

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