You don’t feel like you are getting older but the upper portion of your face may be showing some signs of aging. Frown lines, forehead wrinkles and a heaviness in the eyebrows are among the more common indicators of skin that, thanks to reduced elasticity, may be succumbing to the triple impact of the environment, gravity and accumulated years. Worse, the effect can create an impression of discontentment or even anger--which may be completely at odds with how you feel.
But the good news is that procedures such as brow lifts
(also known as forehead lifts), Botox
injections and dermal fillers
can improve your appearance and reduce the signs of aging.
According to the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS), a forehead lift or brow lift addresses sagging brows and deep furrows between the eyes. Usually done between age 40 and 65, it generally involves removing part of the muscle that causes vertical frown lines between the brows and tightening or removing the loose skin.
A brow lift can take place in a hospital, free-standing medical facility, or office-based surgical suite. During the surgical procedure, incisions can be placed at the hairline (pre-trichial incision), behind the hairline (a coronal incision), or in some cases, above the brow or in the mid-forehead creases. Another option is endoscopic surgery, using several small (half-inch) incisions made just behind the hairline. You and your surgeon can discuss which technique is best suited to your particular situation.
Once the surgery is completed, your forehead will be taped and your head loosely wrapped. Your surgeon may also temporarily implant a small tube to drain any excess fluid or blood. After the initial wound healing is completed (5 to 10 days), sutures or clips will be removed, although complete healing may take several months, noted the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.
Another option to address prominent forehead creases, brow furrows or eye lines (crow's feet) is using Botulinum toxin (Botox) -- a sterile, purified protein produced from the Clostridium botulinum bacteria. Injecting Botox into facial muscles weakens or paralyzes them for several months, according to the AAFPRS, temporarily reducing or eliminating previous skin creasing while avoiding new ones.
The advantages of Botox include:
- less time to administer (generally takes a few minutes).
- immediate return to work or normal lifestyle.
- minor local irritation, redness, bruising, or swelling lasting just a few hours.
Although it may take several days for Botox to have an effect, the results last three to six months. At that point, further treatment may be elected.
Plumping up areas of the forehead with skin volume dermal fillers is another strategy for regaining a youthful look. Dermal filler materials include injectable collagen (an animal protein filler) or implants from human collagen matrix or ePTFE, a nonresorbable synthetic polymer material.
Injection therapy takes about 5 to 15 minutes, according to the AAFPRS, while filler implant insertions take about an hour, depending on the number and extent. The early swelling subsides within 24 to 48 hours, although it may take several weeks for implant swelling and irritation to disappear.
Be sure to help maintain your refreshed and renewed appearance by using sun protection and following a healthy lifestyle.