To our knowledge, Jennifer Lopez and Gwyneth Paltrow — two celebs in their 40s whose faces look as if they haven't aged a day since 21 — haven't gone under the knife for the sake of flawless skin. Their faces aren't pulled back like masks and their eyes appear to be in the same location they were 20 years ago. But that doesn't mean their youthful glows are simply the result of genetics and a macrobiotic diet, though we're sure luck and healthy habits play a major role.
Beauty experts say it's quite possible Lopez, Paltrow and countless others have benefited from skin enhancements, which is a polite way of saying, they haven't had major work done, but few women get to 45 (Lopez's age) with so few wrinkles, fine lines and signs of hyperpigmentation if they haven't regularly taken their cars into the shop for maintenance.
"There are several reasons why women are looking better for longer," said. Dr. Chynna Steele, a dermatologist and founder of Steele Dermatology. "Lasers and procedures can be part of it, but so is skincare products, and fillers are also a major component. In general, it's all about addressing very small, minor signs of aging before they get worse and worse, and become major signs of aging. It's a lot easier to do things to keep the skin looking young, firm, and healthy than to try to fix it once it looks old, saggy, wrinkled, etc."
Here's the lowdown on nine in-office procedures that experts say work wonders.
Before you step foot into a dermatologist's office, Dr. Jill Waibel of Miami Dermatology & Laser Institute says there is one crucial step you should be taking at home — and we all know what that is, right? "When you're in your twenties, wrinkles may not be your top concern but this is the best decade to maximize preventative measures to slow down the aging clock," Waibel said. "When someone is in their twenties, it's a great time to start a good skin care regimen including tretinoin and using sunblock 365 days of the year."
Cosmetic treatments recommended for this age group include:
Excel V laser: The pulsed dye laser of Excel V laser reduces redness of the complexion, as it stimulates new collagen formation, Waibel said. "Cosmetic procedures should be tailored to the individual patient and often the first issues that emerge during this decade are brown (pigmentary) and red colors (blood vessels) dyschromias of the skin surface mainly due to sun damage."
Vascular lasers may be used in combination with IPL (photofacial) or BBL devices in the same treatment. These remove brown spots and sun damage for optimal skin health in your twenties. "These procedures are lunchtime procedures with virtually no downtime — perhaps a bit red for a couple of days but fine to cover with makeup," Waibel said. "Starting these procedures early — especially the BBL — has the ability to repair the appearance of aged skin, delay and help prevent signs of skin aging."
Chemical peels. In order to maintain good skin texture and tone over time, Steele recommends regular chemical peels, which work by deeply exfoliating the skin's outer layer (a lunchtime peel), outer and middle layers (medium peel, which requires seven to 14 days to heal) or middle layer (deep peel, which will take between 14 to 21 days to heal). The regenerated skin that appears from beneath the old layer is smoother and less flawed.
Botox and fillers. Botox and fillers can address very early signs of aging that you see in the late 20s and 30s, Steele said — including that pesky line between the brows we develop from frowning. "When you're young you only get the lines when you frown, but as you get older the lines become sort of 'etched' in your skin where they are there even when you're not frowning," Steele said. "With more time, they become more deeply etched. The best use of toxin is to treat these lines before they become etched — soften the movement so that you don't pull so hard on the frown muscles. For major celebs who never seem to be aging, they started early with toxin to soften muscle movements with frowning and squinting to prevent forehead lines and crow's feet from ever really developing in a significant way."
Fraxel laser treatments. "The thirties bring noticeable signs of aging, which include skin discolorations as well as wrinkles (crow's feet, frown lines, smile lines)," Waibel said. "Uneven skin color, dull texture, mildly loose elastic skin and fine lines may be significantly improved with non-ablative fractional (Fraxel) laser treatments. One or two Fraxel treatments per year can return your skin's glow."
1927 nm Thulium microablative fractional laser. This laser is best for pregnancy and hormone-related blotchy brown patches on the face — known as melasma, Waibel said. "Melasma is a chronic skin disease and the laser can improve but not cure this condition," Waibel said. "These fractional non-ablative laser treatments are light treatments that help to boost and build up collagen production and prevent signs of aging. The stimulation of collagen helps smooth out wrinkles and fine lines early, and work to prevent them in the future."
"By the forties it is all out war against aging," Waibel said. "Aging gracefully requires two to three visits to your dermatologist per year. Sometimes our genetics and healthy lifestyles keep our skin looking beautiful, but for most women some reparative work occurs during this time. In addition to good skin care, sunblock daily, neurotoxins and fillers, more aggressive laser therapy can give us that dewy, youthful skin of our twenties."
Fractional ablative laser treatments. These work best for individuals in their 40s who are already showing signs of aging and other texture irregularities.
Ablative fractional resurfacing. This treatment is made of laser light that is broken up into separate beams that treat a portion of the skin's surface, Waibel said. "These beams send microscopic columns of energy into the skin that destroy the 'old looking' skin and the subsequent healing produces fresh skin that looks and feels softer and smoother."
Fractional lasers. These lasers give way to dewy skin by inciting new collagen production. They may cause minimal tightening because there is some aspect of collagen production. "Though these treatments do require some downtime, they have the ability to treat and tone skin and get skin back to a youthful state," Waibel said.
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