Wrinkles, sagging skin, and discoloration are all a natural part of life. That’s because the production of proteins like collagen and elastin declines with age—as do many other processes that are vital to a youthful, line-free face.
Unfortunately, there is no Fountain of Youth, and seemingly ageless celebrities like Keanu Reeves probably don’t have a decrepit portrait of themselves stashed away somewhere. But we can mitigate the signs of aging. Spas around the country offer many services that target the marks of time, from spider veins to crow’s-feet. If you’re curious about anti-aging treatments and how they work, read on to learn more about four common types.
If you're worried about spider veins ...
Spider veins are visible clusters of blue, red, or purple blood vessels that usually appear on the face or legs. They’re caused by a variety of factors, including heredity and jobs that involve a lot of standing. They increase in frequency with age and are more prevalent in women, especially those who have experienced the hormonal changes associated with pregnancy or menopause.
Though spider veins generally don’t cause ill effects, many people would rather get rid of them for aesthetic reasons.
One method of spider-vein removal, sclerotherapy, is considered the gold standard. A licensed professional injects a solution into the spider veins to irritate their interior, causing them to scar, collapse, and gradually fade from view.
For a less invasive procedure, opt for a laser treatment, during which an intense beam of light penetrates the spider veins to destroy them without any incisions or needles.
Neither treatment offers instantaneous results. Instead, clients will see the blood vessels fade over several months.
If you're worried about lackluster skin ...
Because traditional facials are customized to the client’s needs, an aesthetician may be able to address aging concerns with an exfoliant (like a microdermabrasion or peel), products infused with vitamin C, and a collagen mask. However, the skincare industry has created even more high-tech services to treat signs of aging:
The IPL photofacial features intense pulses of light that improve the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, age spots, and veins. How? In targeted cells, the light energy turns into heat energy, which can stimulate collagen production and destroy the melanin that causes age spots.
Fractional laser skin resurfacing, often offered under the brand Fraxel, uses laser energy to penetrate the skin and resurface its outer layer. This damage triggers the body’s natural healing response, firming the skin, minimizing the look of pigment spots, and increasing collagen production.
At the beginning of a platelet-rich plasma facial, a medical practitioner draws a small amount of blood from the client. The blood is spun in a centrifuge to separate out the platelets, and the platelet-rich plasma is then injected into the face. This treatment is designed to spur collagen production, skin tightening, and overall rejuvenation.
If you're worried about lines and wrinkles ...
Fine lines and wrinkles develop on the face with age, but they can be exacerbated by repetitive motions like smiling or frowning. There are many cosmetic injections available, each of which has been FDA-approved to treat a different set of lines and folds.
Botox is a form of botulism toxin that, when injected by a physician, paralyzes facial muscles to prevent them from forming lines. Botox Cosmetic has been approved to treat crow’s-feet (also known as lateral canthal lines) and frown lines between the eyebrows (also known as glabellar lines). Results can last up to 30 days.
Dysport injections also rely on a form of botulism toxin, and can help improve the appearance of glabellar lines for up to four months.
Injectable dermal fillers are a little different from Botox and Dysport: they treat wrinkles and other signs of aging by filling in creases and sagging areas.
Juvéderm XC smooths the facial folds around the nose and mouth—commonly known as laugh lines, smile lines, or marionette lines—that can become more pronounced with age. Its effects last up to one year.
Juvéderm XC Voluma helps to restore fullness and roundness to cheeks, which tend to lose volume and look sunken as the years go by. Its effects last up to two years.
Restylane has also been approved to treat laugh lines. But it and Restylane-L have another application: restoring fullness to thinning lips. Its effects last up to six months.
If you're worried about droopy eyelids and bags ...
The sagging of both eyelids can be a normal part of the aging process (and is often hereditary), but it’s more common among men, smokers, and fair-skinned people. Drooping eyelids don’t have to be treated unless they impair your vision, but some people find them aesthetically bothersome.
Blepharoplasty, or an eyelid lift, is a surgical procedure that repairs saggy eyelids. Usually performed as an outpatient procedure, it involves a local anesthetic and an incision, through which the doctor removes excess skin, muscle, and fat. Once healed, patients report reduced eyelid drooping, puffiness, and bags.