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Warding Off Wrinkles: Ask the Dermatologist

Dermatologist Nicole Rogers, MD, answers your questions about minimizing wrinkles and keeping them at bay for as long as possible.

Question:
I am a 51-year-old woman and I'm currently in the process of losing weight. I'm noticing that the front of my neck looks wrinkly. What can I do to fix it? Could being more consistent with my moisturizer make a difference?
Answer:

There are several options. Adding a topical retinoid may help, as well as undergoing certain tissue-tightening or laser treatments. The new radiofrequency-based devices, such as Exilis, may give you some positive results. If the main problem is wrinkles, the newest fractionated laser, Fraxel Dual, may help the most. However, there is no substitute for a good facelift and neck lift!

Question:
I am 42 years old and I have fine wrinkles on my forehead. Is there any way to lessen or remove these wrinkles?
Answer:

Yes. Botox is probably your best choice because it will cause these muscles to relax. Repeated motion is what causes these fine lines to form. So if you are never moving them the lines will never form.

Question:
What do you think about the effectiveness of laser treatment for wrinkle removal?
Answer:

Fractionated lasers work best for addressing fine lines and wrinkles in the skin. They are very effective!

Question:
I'm 50 years old, and I've used several popular OTC skin care products. But after a few months with each, I haven't seen much improvement. Once I start a new skin care regime, how long will it take before I see positive results? Is it different for different age groups? Am I using the wrong products? How do I know?
Answer:

If you are using OTC products they are not prescription strength. I would recommend seeing your local board certified dermatologist for more powerful anti-aging treatments.

Question:
What are the best kinds of OTC products for under-eye crow's feet and occasional puffiness?
Answer:

Eye creams with caffeine in them can help reduce under-eye puffiness. Topical retinoids (vitamin A derivatives) can also be helpful. Be careful when using retinoids around the eye because they can cause irritation. Botox is an excellent choice for crow’s feet because it will help prevent the formation of these lines.

Question:
Can drinking caffeine cause me to develop more wrinkles at a younger age?
Answer:

No. There is no link between caffeine consumption and wrinkles. The best way to avoid wrinkles at a young age is to stay out of the sun, not smoke, and eat a diet full of antioxidant nutrients.

Question:
Can I tighten my skin somehow without having surgery? I'm 63 and the lines between my nose and the corners of my mouth are becoming more pronounced.
Answer:

Yes. You can try undergoing radiofrequency-based laser treatments, such as with Exilis, to help improve tissue tightness in the cheeks. Also, hyaluronic acid fillers such as Juvederm or Restylane may soften these lines.

Question:
I have rosacea. Can tretinoin cream help resolve both rosacea and wrinkles?
Answer:

In theory, it can. But be sure not to irritate your skin by excessive use of tretinoin cream. You may flare your rosacea if you're not careful.

Question:
I'm 57 and I live in Hawaii. I used to lay out in the sun a lot when I was younger. Now I have wrinkles on my neck and chest. How can I get rid of them? The creams I've tried have only made a very small difference.
Answer:

The next step would be to have some laser resurfacing done, such as with the new dual wavelength fractionated laser. It offers excellent results with minimal downtime or discomfort.

Question:
If I use skin products that contain caffeine -- to prevent wrinkles on my face -- will the treatment eventually stop providing any noticeable results?
Answer:

Caffeine is a helpful skin care ingredient, but more so for helping with under-eye puffiness than actually addressing wrinkles. But I would not expect the effects to wear off unless you stop using it.

Question:
Is it good to use a loofah on your face? If so, how should it be used and how often?
Answer:

Loofah is a plant sponge harvested and dried for use in cosmetics. Many people use it in skin care for its exfoliating effects. If you are using a loofah for the first time, you should not use it more than once or twice a day to be sure your skin doesn’t get irritated.

 

Question:
I have deep winkles on my face. When I smooth them with my hands the skin underneath looks cratered. What could be the cause and can I do anything to repair the damage?
Answer:

If your wrinkles are that deep, the best recommendation may be to get a facelift from a plastic surgeon. However, if you are looking for non-surgical options, undergoing treatment with a fractionated laser may be helpful. That, as well as hyaluronic acid fillers, can be helpful in smoothing out deep lines.

Question:
Does dermabrasion work as well as microdermabrasion? What’s the difference?
Answer:

Dermabrasion is a surgical treatment, and is a much more invasive treatment than microdermabrasion. It involves the use of a wire brush, an ablative laser, or sandpaper to remove several layers of the skin. It may result in pinpoint bleeding and can require one or more weeks to heal completely. It has been used for acne scarring and deep wrinkles.

Microdermabrasion is much less invasive and can be performed by non-medical personnel, such as an aesthetician. Afterward, there could be slight erythema (pinkness) to the cheeks, but minimal downtime otherwise.

Question:
Can doing facial exercises help relieve wrinkles?
Answer:

The short answer to this is no. In fact, the reason we use Botox (botulinum toxin) in the field of dermatology is to reduce the movement of facial muscles so that their overuse will not create fine or deep creases in places like the glabella (between the eyebrows) or across the forehead.

Question:
What are your best anti-wrinkle tips you could give a teenager? I'm 16 years old, and I wear sunscreen every day. But I don't use any moisturizer because I don't know which would be best for me. I just want to prevent wrinkles and aging for as long as possible.
Answer:

It is never too early to start using a topical retinoid or retinol. These vitamin A derivatives can help normalize the skin cells and repair damage from UV rays. They are used extensively in dermatology as a treatment for acne in teens and women and men of all ages to help prevent skin aging. Neutrogena and RoC both have excellent anti-wrinkle creams on the market.

Question:
Can tea tree oil help with wrinkles and lines on the face? What else does this oil do that is beneficial?
Answer:

Tea tree oil is considered an essential oil, obtained from the leaves of Melaleuca alternifolia trees. It has been investigated for its potentially anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, anti-microbial, anti-viral, and anti-parasitic properties. The research is still limited for demonstrating its ability to fight off wrinkles.

Question:
What is the best kind of foundation for a 69-year-old woman with wrinkles and dry skin?
Answer:

Unfortunately, as we age we have less moisture in the skin. So we need to choose very emolliating and softening foundation products. Try to avoid products that look caked-on when applied to your skin.

Question:
I just turned 40 and I'm starting to see more wrinkles. I've been told by a skin care specialist that I should not use tretinoin because my skin is thin and it would only make it thinner. But when I read articles about fighting wrinkles, usually tretinoin is recommended. What should I do?
Answer:

The reality is that tretinoin makes your stratum corneum (the top-most layers of the skin) more compact, not thinner. This means the older skin cells will be sloughed off and replaced by younger, more translucent cells. It is normal to have a little flaking or peeling while using tretinoin. What is not normal is burning or irritation. If this happens it means you are using too much, too often.

Question:
I'm 47 years old. What key ingredients should I look for when buying a facial moisturizer to prevent signs of aging?
Answer:

The two most important elements to your skin care regimen are SPF (daily, in the morning) and a topical retinoid at night, such as OTC retinol creams (like Neutrogena anti-wrinkle night cream, or RoC). Or you can get a prescription-strength retinoid from your dermatologist.

Question:
Are there any foods or beverages that are beneficial for preventing wrinkles?
Answer:

Most dermatologists recommend foods that are high in antioxidant activity, such as dark red berries, green tea (rich in polyphenols), and omega-3 fish oils. However, the results may not be as impressive as other interventions like being cautious with sun exposure, using topical tretinoin, or undergoing fractionated laser treatments.

Thank you for joining us for WebMD Ask the Dermatologist. Be sure to come back on May 10 at 1 p.m. ET, for our "Best of Ask the Dermatologist" event, when we revisit the most popular Ask the Dermatologist questions from WebMD users like you. Sign up if you'd like an email reminder the day before our next event.

WebMD Ask the Specialist Transcript

Reviewed by Nicole Rogers, MD on April 12, 2012

The opinions expressed in this section are of the Specialist and the Specialist alone. They do not reflect the opinions of WebMD and they have not been reviewed by a WebMD physician or any member of the WebMD editorial staff for accuracy, balance or objectivity. WebMD is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health provider because of something you have read on WebMD. 

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