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The lowdown on wrinkle treatments

Kori Ellis is an editor and writer based in San Antonio, TX, where she lives with her husband and four children. At SheKnows, she writes about parenting, fashion, beauty and other lifestyle topics. Additionally, Kori has been published i...

Get rid of wrinkles

Not all of us choose to age gracefully. Instead, many women decide to get a little help along the way to stay looking younger. Botox, peels, lasers ... it's all so confusing. If you have been considering getting some sort of wrinkle treatment from dermatologist or plastic surgeon, here's the lowdown on several common wrinkle treatments that are available today.
Botox injection

Botox

Botulinum toxin (Botox) is a toxin produced by bacteria. In large doses, Botox can cause botulism. However, in small doses, Botox can be healthy and safe for cosmetic purposes.

Botox injections are used to improve the appearance of forehead creases, crow's feet, lines between your eyebrows and other wrinkles caused by repetitive facial expressions. An injection of Botox weakens muscles in these areas to improve the appearance of wrinkles.

Within 24 hours of Botox treatment, you will begin to see improvement in your wrinkles. You can return to work the same day as the procedure and Botox results usually last about six months. The United States average cost of Botox injections per site in 2005 was $382, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.

Collagen fillers

Fillers

Collagen injections are the most popular filler associated with wrinkle treatment. Collagen is injected directly into your wrinkles to fill them in. Several forms of collagen are available, the most common of which is extracted from cow tissue.

Effects of these bovine collagen injections normally last about 8-12 weeks.

You can also get injections using collagen from own skin which is harvested from your body during a previous plastic surgery procedure, such as a tummy tuck or face lift. The collagen is extracted from the skin removed during the surgery. Some doctors believe that the injections using collagen from your own skin, referred to as Autologen injections, have permanent effects on wrinkles. This, however, has not been proven.

Bovine collagen injections normally cost $500 to $800 per session. Autologen injections are much more expensive.

Chemical peels

Chemical peels reduce the appearance of wrinkles by removing the top layers of skin through a chemical product.

A chemical solution is applied to the top of the skin by a dermatologist. Chemical peels vary in depth. They can be very superficial micro peels, or more evasive techniques such as medium or deep chemical peels.

With micro peels, there are very little side effects outside of some redness for those patients with fair or sensitive skin. Micro peels normally cost under $80 a session. Medium peels are a little more intense normally only take one 30-60 minute session. A full-faced medium chemical peel costs around $2,000.

Deep chemical peels can be done under anesthesia in a doctor's office or hospital. With a deep chemical peel, there will be discomfort, redness, swelling and oozing for several days until your skin becomes crusted over. You won't be presentable in public for a couple weeks.

About 7-10 days after the procedure, the dark crusty skin will flake away and you will be left with healthy, smooth, yet red skin. It can take up to 3 months for the redness to go away. Deep chemical peels are very severe and cost upwards of $4,000.

Microdermabrasion

Microdermabrasion is like sandblasting your skin. It removes superficial skin layers to reveal healthier, younger looking skin below. It is effective in improving the appearance of wrinkles and acne scars.

Professional microdermabrasion usually costs about $150-200 per session by a dermatologist. Many patients have sessions every three to six months for maximum results.

You can also purchase microdermabrasion products for use at home in the form of special creams and scrubs. These products are intense exfoliators, using crystals to remove the dead skin layers and reveal new, healthy skin underneath. These home treatments can cost anywhere from $30 to $200 per jar.

Laser resurfacing

Laser resurfacing

An increasing popular wrinkle treatment is laser resurfacing, also referred to as laser peel or laser vaporization.

Different types of lasers can be used, including C02, Erbium and N-Lite lasers. Carbon Dioxide (C02) lasers are more effective, but require more recovery time. In about 14 days, you can be seen in public but redness may last up to three months. N-Lite laser treatment is the least effective but require little recovery time at all.

C02 laser treatment can cost in excessive of $4,000 for a full face treatment. Erbium is normally around $3,000, while N-Lite is $1,500.

Photorejuvenation

Intense Pulse Light (IPL) treatments using photorejuvenation are more commonly used to treat the appearance of age spots, acne scars, freckles and other skin discolorations. However, IPL can also have a positive effect on wrinkles because it improves collagen production, skin texture and skin tone.

During IPL treatment, the doctor places a prism over the area. Then, quick pulses of light are sent through the prism to treat the skin. This is an in-office treatment, which normally requires six sessions performed at three-week intervals for maximum results.

IPL therapy ranges from $300-500 per session, depending on how many pulses of light are used. IPL photorejuvenation is not effective on all skin types and is best for those with fair, non-oily skin.

When deciding on the wrinkle treatment that is right for you, consider the severity of your wrinkles, the recovery time and cost of the procedure. Schedule an initial consultation with your dermatologist or plastic surgeon and ask the doctor plenty of questions before making your final decision.

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