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Are We Pushing the Antiaging Envelope?

Many are hoping getting Botox injections in their 20s and 30s can stop aging before it starts.

Anatomy of a Wrinkle continued...

But buyer beware, there is no surefire way to prevent aging. "It's not appropriate to prevent all signs of aging. If someone says, 'I don't want any muscle in my face to move because I don't want to age,' that would be inappropriate and unnatural," Few says.

"I think we are seeing a lot more patients coming in earlier on," agrees Renato Saltz, MD, a plastic surgeon at the Saltz Plastic Surgery in Salt Lake City and Park City, Utah. "This group of patients in their 20s and 30s that do take advantage of noninvasive plastic surgery will see a much different type of aging than older generations," he says, adding that sunscreen use alone, which is utilized by younger people today more than ever, will make a huge difference in the visible signs of aging. Exposure to ultraviolet light from the sunlight accounts for many signs of premature skin aging, including wrinkles.

Maintenance Is Key

Foad Nahai, MD, vice president of the ASAPS and a plastic surgeon in private practice at Paces Plastic Surgery in Atlanta, likes to start his younger patients on an aging maintenance program.

"We start by giving advice on skin care including exposure to sun and smoking, and then I ask if they are using anything on their skin," he says. Depending on the answer, he may prescribe retinoids and alpha-hydroxy acids that have some rejuvenating effects.

Both products help get rid of dead skin, revealing a fresher layer of skin.

Wrinkle Checkup

"I have patients smile and frown for me and if they have deep lines, I may suggest that Botox could help their appearance, but it will also have a preventive effect over the years," he says. "Getting Botox now may prevent lines from becoming very deep and, in turn, stave off the need for more aggressive treatments such as facelifts down the road."

"In the long run," Nahai says, "the need for invasive major facelifts will be much less because the current generation of 20- and 30-year-olds will not allow their faces to get to the stage that today's 50- and 60-year-olds have," he says.

"It's too early to go under the knife, but we have needles, creams, and potions you can do and use that will not only delay the inevitable, but will also improve on what is now a youthful appearance," he says.

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