Patients seeking nonsurgical or less-invasive, temporary treatments for elements of facial aging have an increasing array of options. These are still considered minimally-invasive (not non-invasive) approaches, typically meaning that needles are involved, but no surgical incisions are made. These modalities include chemodenervating or temporary paralysis of the muscles of facial animation, materials to fill wrinkles or contour irregularities, chemical peels or dermabrasion to resurface and rejuvenate the skin surface, and laser treatments to smooth, depigment, or tighten the skin of the face.
Botulinum toxin A, or Botox, is a temporary treatment of moderate to severe frown lines between the brows. Botox must be injected around the muscles of facial expression with a small needle, and may only be administered under the supervision of a physician. The treatments typically last four months. Facial fillers refers to a variety of substances that can be injected into the soft-tissues of the face to fill wrinkles or contour irregularities. These vary from those that last only several months, to those that are permanent. They can provoke a reaction from your body's immune system, and some require pretreatment to rule out allergy to the material. Talk to your plastic surgeon to find out what filler might be best for you. Chemical peel is a catch-all term for a family of substances that help to resurface the skin of your face. "Peels" are liquids that are applied to the surface of your skin and produce a mild chemical burn. The resulting healing process results in smoother, softer, more uniformly-pigmented skin. Dermabrasion operates on similar principles. The superficial layers of aging skin are removed by means of a small, abrasive rotating drum. The skin is then allowed to heal, and is typically smoother and with fewer fine lines.
Finally, laser therapy directs laser light to the skin from a probe. When used correctly, lasers can help tighten the skin, and may smooth and resurface the skin of the face as well. None of these methods is as dramatic as the facelift procedure, and they may not be appropriate if you have deeper, well developed wrinkles and loose skin. However, they are less invasive and involve a shorter and easier recovery.