There are intrinsic and extrinsic causes
of wrinkles. Intrinsic
causes occur with normal aging and genetics. Extrinsic causes of
wrinkles include sun exposure, smoking, and environmental factors
such as pollution.
Ultraviolet rays of the sun penetrate into the skin and break down
collagen and elastin fibres in the dermis. This sun damage causes
the dermis to thin and lose its supporting structure and wrinkles
What creams are used for wrinkle treatment?
Tretinoin cream penetrates into the skin to help reverse sun damage.
It exfoliates the surface skin and stimulates the production of
new collagen which helps slow down the development of new lines
and wrinkles. Antioxidants, such as Vitamin C, attack free radicals
and help reverse sun damage caused by ultraviolet light. Alphahydroxy
acid creams cause peeling of the superficial layer of the skin and
stimulate the growth of healthy, new cells. Sunscreen prevents further
sun damage and should be worn daily.
What procedures are used for wrinkle treatment?
Usually a combination of the following procedures are done to give
the best cosmetic improvement for wrinkles.
Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a special treatment
for sun damage that uses a photosensitizing agent called Levulan®
(aminolevulinic acid HCl) that is applied to skin and then activated
with a light source.
The Levulan® is absorbed by actively proliferating cells such as
sun damaged cells. The light source used may be a visible blue light,
intense pulsed light or laser light. It activates the Levulan® in
the targeted cells which are then destroyed. Sun damaged cells peel
away. Skin texture is improved, pore size is reduced, fine lines
and wrinkles are improved, and skin appears smoother, brighter and
healthier. Sun damage on the face, neck, shoulders, back, chest,
hands, arms and legs can be treated.
The skin is cleansed and Levulan® is applied and left on for 60
minutes. It is then activated by a light source, usually the Blu-U®,
for a few minutes and then washed off. Three to 5 treatments, 2
to 4 weeks apart are usually required. It is often used together
with intense pulsed light to boost the effect. There may be a feeling
of warmth or occasionally a mild stinging, but it is well tolerated.
Patients are more sensitive to the sun for 36 hours after treatment
and must avoid direct light. There may be mild swelling around the
eyes for 1 day, and redness and peeling for about 7 to 10 days.
Mild cleansers and moisturizers are used until peeling stops. Sunscreen
is mandatory. If there is a history of facial cold sores, antiviral
medication is prescribed to prevent a recurrence. Photorejuvenation
for sun damage is evident within a week of treatment, with minimal
Intense pulsed light
IPL technology is a non-invasive, safe, and effective procedure
that improves the appearance of aging skin and gives it a more youthful
look. Since it treats sun damage without disruption of the skin's
surface, there is no recovery time and patients can return to regular
activities right after treatment. In addition to treating the face,
the neck, chest and hands are commonly treated as well.
Photorejuvenation using IPL consists of a very bright, controlled
light that is absorbed by various components of the skin. The colours
in the light are attracted by the red and brown spots in the skin
and by the collagen tissue. The body's healing mechanism takes over
and absorbs the reds, sloughs the brown spots and stimulates the
production of new collagen. The light is customized to your specific
skin condition and colour to effectively improve the cosmetic appearance
of your skin. It will appear smoother and younger-looking, with
improvement of texture, fine lines and wrinkles.
Dark goggles are worn to protect your eyes from the bright light.
A cold gel is applied to the skin to help the absorption of light
and keep the skin cool. The pulse of light feels like a small sting,
but it is well tolerated. The treatment takes about 30 minutes.
Usually 5 or 6 treatments, 3 to 4 weeks apart, are required to see
maximal results. Improvement is natural and gradual. You must avoid
tanning while undergoing treatment.
If you have red, blotchy skin, you will probably have some temporary
redness. If you have brown age spots or freckles, they will appear
darker for the first few days and then peel off. Immediately after
treatment, most patients can carry on with their normal activities
and must use sun protection. If you are prone to facial cold sores,
antiviral medication is prescribed to prevent a recurrence.
What are wrinkles?