By Dermatology Consultants
Take on precancerous changes
If you have pink, rough, flaky spots on your face or other sun-exposed areas, they may be a type of precancer called actinic keratoses (AKs). A small percentage of AKs will turn into Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC), which is the second most common type of skin cancer. AKs can be a very subtle finding and are nearly always the result of many years of sun damage.
The benefits of treating AKs include not only preventing skin cancer formation, but also improving skin quality (texture and pigmentation). Treatments fall into one of two categories:
- Spot treatment (performed with liquid nitrogen/cryotherapy)
- “Field” treatment – treatment of a broad area (various methods, including creams and light-based treatments)
You can think of the above options as either weeding the garden (spot treatment) or spraying a weed killer on the entire lawn (field treatment). Speak to your dermatologist to assess for precancerous change and to create a treatment plan. As always, utilize sunscreen and other sun-protective measures to prevent further sun damage
Augmenting facial structure
The skin is not the only part of our body that changes as we age. Fat pads and the bone structure underneath the skin are responsible for many of the folds and transformed facial shape that comes with added years. Fat pads in the cheeks will descend and create loss of volume and jowling. Bone structure undergoes predictable changes that can result in effects such as sunken tear troughs and a less prominent jawline. In general, facial proportions descend and create an inversion of the “triangle of youth”.
The good news is that we are now living in 2020, with the existence of injectable fillers. These fillers provide a non-invasive way of restoring facial structure. Far and away the most common type of filler material is hyaluronic acid (HA). HA is a naturally occurring molecule found in the joints, eyes, and skin. It has been used as a temporary filler with effects lasting anywhere from 6 months to 2 years. HA fillers have been on the market for several years and are generally very safe (there exists a small incidence of complications, as with any procedure).
By age 40, most individuals have already experienced some change in facial 3-dimensional structure and could benefit from treatment with fillers. Your dermatologist can assess if you are a candidate for fillers and discuss the treatment in further detail.