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The Truth About Wrinkles: A Plastic Surgeon Addresses 7 Common Wrinkle Myths

Woman Pulls and Frowns at Wrinkles on Skin in Mirror

There are a few factors that conspire to create our wrinkles. As our bodies age, the fat pads in our faces fall, and our skin becomes thinner: collagen and elastin break down, and are not replenished at the levels they were when we were younger. This process is often accelerated by environmental factors like sun tanning and smoking.

While the process is relatively straightforward, there are a number of unfortunate myths that have taken hold about skin aging and how wrinkles are treated. Today, Dr. Henry Garazo is addressing common half-truths and myths to empower you to prevent and treat wrinkles effectively.

Myth: I only need to wear sunscreen when I’m spending lots of time outside.

If you wear sunscreen when you’re planning to be outdoors for a long time, that’s a step in the right direction. Preventing sunburn and direct UV exposure is very important. But, if you want to prevent early skin aging, sun protection is for more than just special occasions. I recommend wearing sunscreen on exposed skin as a daily habit (even on overcast days) to protect your skin from sinister UVA rays, the kind that work behind the scenes to accelerate aging.

When you are outdoors, add complementary sun protection measures: wear wide-brimmed hats, sunglasses, and UV protective clothes; seek the shade; and try to avoid spending time outdoors during peak sunlight hours.

Myth: I can wait to treat my wrinkles after they are visible.

Prevention is the most powerful tool for avoiding wrinkles: an appropriate skincare routine can put off signs of aging and the need for more intensive procedures—plus you’ll get better results when you opt for anti-wrinkle treatments down the road. So, whatever age you are, I recommend starting a medical-grade skincare regimen now to prevent unnecessary skin aging.

If you start before wrinkles have taken hold, your skincare routine doesn’t have to be complicated to provide substantial future benefits. The key is using a high-quality moisturizer and sunscreen, and reapplying sunscreen to maintain protection.

To double down on environmental protection, you can add antioxidant ingredients like vitamin C to your regimen. To focus on fine lines and wrinkles, add retinol to promote cell turnover. And many patients like to begin visiting our office for “baby BOTOX®” in their 20s or 30s to stop wrinkles before they start with low doses of neuromodulator.

Myth: We inherit our wrinkles from our parents.

While everyone’s skin loses some volume with aging, your wrinkles are largely influenced by environmental factors. Yes, your anatomy resembles your parents’—but the development of wrinkles can progress more quickly depending how much your lifestyle involves exposure to UV light, cigarette smoking, air pollution, poor nutrition, and a sedentary routine. Use sun protection diligently, eat more vegetables and healthy fats, and exercise if you want to slow the formation of wrinkles, no matter your genetic makeup.

Myth: Wrinkle treatment is only affordable if you’re wealthy.

We can’t overstate the importance of the preventative measures mentioned above when it comes to wrinkles—and prevention with skincare and a healthy lifestyle needn’t be expensive. Talk with your aesthetician, dermatologist, or plastic surgeon about skincare essentials; with their help you can formulate a plan that meets your skin’s needs and fits your budget.

Further, professional wrinkle treatment can vary in cost: microneedling, chemical peels, and Botox are all less expensive options that have truly noteworthy results, especially when used on a regular basis. While a facelift is our primary means of treating wrinkles surgically, these non-surgical options are often able to meet our patients’ needs when wrinkles or skin laxity are in their early stages.

Myth: Face rollers and gua sha massagers help smooth fine lines and wrinkles.

While traditional gua sha is applied to the body in Chinese medicine to improve certain medical conditions, claims that at-home facial tools improve fine lines and wrinkles are based on individual accounts, and not scientific evidence.

Massaging your face (like the rest of your body) is good for you, to be sure: it encourages lymphatic movement and helps your body eliminate toxins, increases circulation, helps relax tense muscles, and can impart an immediate glow. But you will likely be disappointed if you rely on non-professional massage tools, like face rollers or gua sha, to treat wrinkles.

Myth: Vaping won’t give me wrinkles.

Vaping, cigarette smoking, and other forms of nicotine use are known to constrict blood vessels and deprive the body of oxygen, thus leading to premature skin aging. While it’s now common knowledge that smoking will give you wrinkles, vaping is no exception as it too compromises your lung function.

The longer you use nicotine, the more effects you will see in your skin—and there’s no simple way to reverse the effects, no matter how good your skincare routine is or how routinely you get Botox. The only way to stop accelerated aging is to quit vaping or smoking. If you are ready to quit, know that there are resources and medications that can ease the process; talk with your doctor, or explore online resources, like these from the CDC.

Myth: Botox is the best injectable for treating wrinkles.

Not all wrinkles are best treated with neurotoxins, like Botox. Dermal fillers are better for “lifting” and smoothing deeper wrinkles and folds, especially those around the mouth, like marionette lines, smile lines, and lines at the corners of the mouth. Vertical lines above the lips can be treated with either Botox or dermal filler, depending on the patient. It is true that Botox (or another neurotoxin such as Dysport®) is still our first choice for dynamic wrinkles in the upper face: the “11s” between the eyebrows, crow’s feet at the corners of your eyes, and forehead furrows.

Visit Plastic Surgery Services in Hagerstown for anti-aging options

At Plastic Surgery Services, board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Henry Garazo and our medical aesthetician are here to help with personalized answers to your questions. From medical-grade skincare to injectables, facelifts to Botox, we offer safe and effective solutions for wrinkles that are chosen specifically to get results with your skin. Call 301-791-1800 or contact us online to schedule your consultation today.

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