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Side by side after and before of aging skin and sagging jowl and chin treatment

10 Non-surgical, anti-aging treatments that actually work,* according to science

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  1. Sunscreen to prevent signs of aging
  2. Topical retinoids (especially retinol) to battle aging daily
  3. Botox® Cosmetic for dynamic wrinkles
  4. Dermal fillers for static wrinkles
  5. Non-surgical facelifts for a long-term anti-aging treatment
  6. Silhouette InstaLift® thread lifting for sagging skin
  7. Radio-frequency (RF) microneedling for skin tightening and rejuvenation
  8. Ultherapy® for skin tightening
  9. Fraxel® DUAL laser treatments for skin rejuvenation
  10. Fractional CO2 laser treatments for anti-aging through skin resurfacing and tightening
  11. Conclusion

In the world of beauty, there are many claims that this or that product or treatment is an “anti-aging” one. The term “clinically proven” can also be over-used. So, what are anti-aging beauty treatments that actually work? What does the science really have to say about these methods to ‘turn back the clock,’ so to speak?

In this article we’ll delve into some ‘real’ anti-aging treatments that most likely will deliver results.*

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1) Sunscreen to prevent signs of aging

SkinMedica Total Defense + Repair SPF with Daily Physical Defense Sunscreen Lotion and Lytera 2.0 Skin Pigment Brightener on display in our Surrey skin care clinic

There is no good anti-aging treatment out there that will work without the daily use of sunscreen on your part. Sunscreen, along with sun avoidance, are the main preventative ‘weapons’ in the battle against visible signs of aging. These include wrinkles, brown spots, sagging skin, rough skin texture, dryness and even skin cancer.

Several medical professionals will tell you that sunscreen prevents aging, since it has been reported in multiple studies. For example, this clinical study showed that daily use of sunscreen resulted in 24% fewer signs of aging than a control group that used sunscreen by discretion. The study also says that, “the daily sunscreen group showed no detectable increase in skin aging after 4.5 years.”

Not only that, this medical article states that, “about 80% of the facial aging is attributed to sun exposure.”

On that note, remember that tanning is NOT cool. It is a sign of DNA damage. It also indicates that your immune system is trying hard to recover from UV damage. If you tan, you can bet you will appear more advanced in age as you grow older.

Learn what makes a good sunscreen here.

Buy quality sunscreens here.

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2) Topical retinoids (especially retinol) to battle aging daily

Male applying skin care product in mirror on face

In any good skincare routine, there will likely be the use of topical retinoids. Retinoids are various forms of Vitamin A. The one mentioned in the skin care industry most often is called “retinol.” And, retinol’s effectiveness as an anti-aging treatment has been studied multiple times over, such as described in this scientific article.

Retinol helps with skin cell turnover, a process that our skin does naturally, but that slows down as we age. This is why young people seem to have such flawless, fresh, glowing and ‘new’ skin all the time. Their body is making new skin cells more rapidly. One of the most effective helpers to keep skin looking young as we age, is retinol.

Retinol can be quite strong, and should be used with the advice of a doctor, whether used as an anti-aging treatment, an acne treatment, or otherwise. Never use retinoids while pregnant.

Learn more about retinoids here.

Buy scientifically-proven retinol here.

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3) Botox® Cosmetic for dynamic wrinkles

Vancouver Botox doctor injecting eye wrinkles in Surrey

Botox® has many uses in the medical and cosmetic world. For anti-aging treatments in particular, it is most known for doing wonders when it comes to flattening wrinkles on the forehead, between the eyebrows and around the eyes. In over 16 years, it has been mentioned in 4700 peer-reviewed medical articles, such as this one.

Botox® results last about 3 – 4 months.

Botox® is a wrinkle relaxer. It relaxes muscles so that they are not able to move as much. When they don’t move, your face can’t make facial expressions as easily. This is how it can prevent the formation of static wrinkles, and the appearance of dynamic wrinkles.

Dynamic wrinkles are the wrinkles that show when you smile or raise your eyebrows, for instance. They are different from static wrinkles, which appear when your face is fully at rest. This brings us to our next anti-aging treatments…

Learn more about Botox® here.

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4) Dermal fillers for static wrinkles

Vancouver cheek lift injection with dermal filler closeup

Dermal fillers are made of medically-safe ingredients that, often, can be metabolized by the body, in time. For example, they can be made of hyaluronic acid (HA), which our bodies produce naturally. They can also be made with substances such as:

  • Polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA, a long-lasting filler, sold under the brand name Bellafill®)
  • Calcium hydroxylapatite (CaHA, sold under the brand name Radiesse®)
  • Poly-L-lactic acid (PLLA, sold under the brand name Sculptra®)

Or otherwise.

While they each have their own mechanism for working to reduce static wrinkles, they can all be thought of as volumizers. They add volume to an aging face where it is losing fat pads, collagen and other skin supporters. Skin needs something to ‘hang on’ to, in a sense. The fillers give skin that ‘platform,’ causing it to appear young(er).

Depending on the type of dermal filler used, their anti-aging results can last between 6 months to 5 years.

Each type of dermal filler should have its own clinical studies behind it, and you can ask your injector for these studies, if you are curious about them. This study, for example, explores the effectiveness of hyaluronic acid (HA) based fillers.

Learn more about dermal fillers here.

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5) Non-surgical facelifts for a long-term anti-aging treatment

MD Codes non-surgical facelift with Botox and Juvederm before and after - available in Vancouver - Surrey Clinic
Example of an MD Codes non-surgical facelift with Botox® and Juvederm®. Image courtesy of Allergan.

When Botox and dermal fillers are used together in a single session all over the face, this procedure is called a “non-surgical facelift.” It is a popular alternative to surgical facelifts, because fewer complications can arise. Not to mention, there is virtually no downtime involved.

Non-surgical facelifts, especially when using the clinically-studied MD Codes™ method, can achieve a younger, more refreshed, welcoming face on many individuals. The length of time these anti-aging results can last depends on the type of ingredients used in the procedure.

For more dramatic anti-aging effects, or for cases that are ‘too far gone,’ a surgical facelift may be a better choice.

Learn more about non-surgical facelifts, here.

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6) Silhouette InstaLift® thread lifting for sagging skin

You may have heard of a surgical or non-surgical facelift. Or you may have even heard of PDO thread lifts. But, the latest in lifting the cheeks and lower face is with Silhouette InstaLift® threads. These threads use bidirectional cones. This means they not only ‘pull’ as they hold aging skin into place, they also induce collagen production around the threads. This gives them even more effect.

The Silhouette InstaLift® is the only type of thread lift approved by Health Canada, likely because it is clinically proven to increase collagen in the skin while also lifting tissue. It is also FDA-cleared.

Results of a Silhouette InstaLift® thread lift can last about two years.

Learn more about the Silhouette InstaLift® here.

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7) Radio-frequency (RF) microneedling for skin tightening and rejuvenation

Before and after images of Infini RF hot microneedling procedure for skin laxity - available in Vancouver

Radio-frequency (RF) microneedling, such as with the Infini™ RF, works to tighten and rejuvenate skin. It does this by creating tiny holes in the dermal layers with stainless steel microneedles, and then heating them up with radio-frequency energy. The Infini™ RF has been clinically studied around the world, to show its high effectiveness on wrinkles.

The Infini™ RF heats at the tip of its needlepoints. This is so that injury only happens in focused areas deep in the skin. Thus, the upper skin is left intact, which reduces healing time and side effects. Meanwhile, deeper skin layers begin to regenerate collagen through the healing process. Eventually, these new skin cells make their way to the surface of the skin.

The full effects of a series of RF microneedling anti-aging treatments can take a year or longer to show up.

Maintenance treatments are recommended every 6 to 12 months, since the body will continue its aging process after an initial set of treatments.

Learn more about the Infini™ RF here.

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8) Ultherapy® for skin tightening

Ultherapy jawline contour - sagging skin lifted non-surgically - female skin tightening patient

Ultherapy® is a form of micro-focused ultrasound (MFU). However, this brand name is known as the “gold standard” in skin tightening. It is the only Health Canada licensed procedure to lift skin on the neck, eyebrows and under the chin without surgery. It has the backing of 50 clinical studies, and 90 peer-reviewed papers.

The heated ultrasound waves from the Ultherapy® device are delivered deep into the dermis, right down to the fat layer. This is deeper than where lasers can reach. The heat stimulates collagen production, which then offers a skin-tightening effect.

Results begin to show 2 to 6 months after this anti-aging treatment. Usually, only one session is required (it depends on the case). Thereafter, maintenance treatments are recommended every 1 – 2 years.

MFU is a less painful, and a more accurate treatment than high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU).

Learn more about Ultherapy® here.

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9) Fraxel® DUAL laser treatments for skin rejuvenation

Fraxel Dual before ad after photo of hyperpigmentation treatment - available in Vancouver at Surrey skin clinic

The Fraxel® DUAL is a laser for treating sun damage (like brown spots or freckles) and mild wrinkles and lines. Its technology is backed by over 50 clinical studies and has been filed for more than 17 patents.

This technology uses fractional laser beams, which create many tiny ‘holes’ in the skin. These micro-injuries then force the body to start producing fresh, new collagen. As they do, they force out the old, dead skin that has been damaged by the sun.

After 4 – 8 weeks of one session, you can be left with 15 – 20% new, fresh skin. Then a new session is required, to continue to see results. After 3 to 5 sessions, spaced every 2 to 4 weeks, the full results of the treatment should begin to show in about 6 months.

Learn more about the Fraxel® DUAL here.

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10) Fractional CO2 laser treatments for anti-aging through skin resurfacing and tightening

Before and after of CO2 laser treatment for sagging skin - available in Vancouver

A fractional CO2 laser is a much stronger treatment than what the Fraxel® DUAL can provide (though, they each have their ideal use-case scenarios). By being ‘fractional,’ the CO2 laser also creates many tiny holes in the skin. However, these holes go deeper than the wavelengths provided by the Fraxel® DUAL.

When creating these micro-injuries deep in the skin, the body begins to push out old skin, while creating new skin. With a fractional CO2 laser, a skin tightening and skin rejuvenation effect can take place.

A fractional CO2 laser is considered the ‘grand-daddy’ of non-surgical, anti-aging treatments. It usually only requires 1 – 2 treatments to see results. However, healing time can take at least two weeks, with residual redness lasting about 3 months, before results begin to appear.

Fractional CO2 lasers are sold under many brand names, and have been generally studied as a very effective lasers to treat a variety of skin conditions, including wrinkles and laxity. For example, see this research article, as well as this one.

Learn more about fractional CO2 laser treatments here.

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Scientifically-proven anti-aging treatments don’t always require surgery!

As we’ve seen above, there are several scientifically-proven anti-aging treatments that actually work, without requiring big, surgical commitments. In addition to clinical studies to back their claims, there are also several before and after photos of excellent results that they can produce. These photos are often available online, or through practitioner offices.

*Results can not be guaranteed and can vary from person-to-person. This is because each person responds differently to anti-aging treatments, even when they are clinically-proven.

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