Facial Cosmetic Procedures: Are They Right for You?

These days, more and more Baby Boomers – and even early Generation Xers just hitting their 50s – stare at the sags and bags in their aging facial skin and seek ways of restoring that youthful look, according to Sonoa Au, M.D., of Advanced Dermatology, P.C.

“Search for the ‘fountain of youth’ is ongoing and universal,” says Au,

The most popular procedures are non-surgical applications to smooth wrinkles, tighten skin and enhance skin tone. “More and more patients are seeking treatments that are pain-free, low-risk and involve little downtime,” Au says.

To meet demand, companies have been scrambling to develop increasingly effective, non-abrasive technologies. Clinical studies of these devices have been limited, but experts point to a new generation of radiofrequency and ultrasound systems as having some success in tightening loose facial and neck skin non-surgically.

Au uses a relatively new device, the hand-held ThermiSmooth™ laser, with the ThermiRF™ computer, to deliver radiofrequency waves that precisely heat the skin in various areas of the face. ThermiSmooth™ was first approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration in December 2015 and is now being used to remove wrinkles and tighten skin under the eyes and around the eyelids, forehead, mouth and neck.

The success of any of these non-surgical procedures, though, depends on the right candidate and patient expectations.

The “right candidate,” according to the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery, is one, who has only “mild to moderate” skin looseness and wrinkling and does not require more extensive skin lifting and skin removal through cosmetic surgery.

The author of a 2010 article in the Journal of Clinical Aesthetic Dermatology said patients should be aware that the results of these non-surgical, cosmetic approaches oftentimes tend to be more subtle than dramatic and may not take full effect for a period of several months or more.

Meanwhile, Au’s advice to those wanting to maintain that youthful look for as long as possible: “Start early.” She offers these tips:

  • Don’t smoke — ever.
  • Always wear proper sunscreen outdoors. Sun damage causes premature aging and wrinkling of skin.
  • Regularly apply an oil-free moisturizer to your skin as early as in your 20s.
  • Consider using retinol-based skin-care products several times a week by the time you reach your 30s.
  • As you age, increase use of rich moisturizers; opt for a nondrying cleanser – rather than soap and water – on your face.
  • If wrinkles and saggy skin really bother you, talk to a dermatologist about eliminating the problems when they first appear – in your 40s and 50s. If you do nothing until you are age 60 or older, non-surgical approaches are less likely to achieve positive results.

Sonoa Au, MD, is a board-certified physician and a fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology. Advanced Dermatology P.C. and the Center for Laser and Cosmetic Surgery (New York and New Jersey) is one of the leading dermatology centers in the nation, offering highly experienced physicians in the fields of cosmetic and laser dermatology as well as plastic surgery and state-of-the-art medical technologies. To find out more, visit






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