By: Mr Lucian Ion
Created on 20th September 2011
Top plastic surgeon Mr Lucian Ion talks us through the best anti-ageing facial treatments at every stage of life
Everyone ages differently so I like to be able to offer my patients a range of options for facial rejuvenation. This incorporates both surgical and non-surgical procedures, because the ageing process is too complex to restrict to one or two approaches.
If you’re renovating a building, you don’t think “I’ll either paint it or I’ll do structural work”, you have to combine the two to get the results you want. It’s the same with human beings.
It is now possible to use 3D imaging to work out some of the characteristics of how someone’s facial shape changes as they age, and to create an idea of the end result from a particular treatment. This allows us to help people in a much more accurate way.
It is also the case that you have to offer people something that fits their specific ageing pattern and their preference. For example, there might be somebody for whom surgery really would be the best option, but they don’t want surgery. So you do the best you can with the non-invasive alternative, and they accept that it won’t be quite as dramatic a result.
However, the face does age along certain broad patterns, so there will be some procedures that are generally more suited to certain age groups.
At this age, skin quality is generally still quite good, so Botox treatments can help significantly to improve the fine lines and wrinkles that usually begin to appear. Botox can also help to reposition the brow and to soften the frown, so that alone can give a very good rejuvenation effect.
It is also worth looking at the eyelids, to see if there is any heaviness there. This is a problem that is common later on in life, but in some people it happens early and that can be very ageing so they might benefit from an operation to lift the upper eyelid.
If someone has a problem with the lower eyelid at this age, in terms of bags and puffiness, that’s usually genetically determined and is a problem with the development of the mid-face, and the support to the lower lid.
You could operate to reduce the puffiness in the lower lid, but it is also possible to build up the mid-face, to create a stronger projection of the cheekbones, which is in itself quite rejuvenating and at the same time will also help to give that support back and mask any puffiness under the eyes.
Your 30s are also a great time to start looking at some of the gentler treatments to deal with sun damage as at this stage it can be easily dealt with.
Firstly, I would advise the addition of sun block into your daily skincare regime – you need to keep your skin in good condition, otherwise you’re spending all this money on anti-ageing treatments and damaging the results at the same time.
For more serious damage, there are treatments like chemical peels and the Obagi protocol, which help to restore youthfulness and reduce an uneven skin tone. If there is significant sun damage then the Fraxel laser could be an option to improve the appearance of the skin.
Now you start seeing changes that aren’t so readily addressed with a non-surgical option.
You may well start to see more signs of ageing around the jaw line – it may be that the person has put on or lost a lot of weight, or that they have been yo-yo dieting all their life, and the skin gradually gets looser in that area. In that case, a short scar facelift or a neck lift might be the way to give the foundation for a more beautiful face shape.
As we age, the face usually becomes squarer. We lose collagen in the cheekbone area and we gain a bit along the jaw line and in the jowl area. For men that looks OK, because one expects a man to have a squarer face, but for women it can make you look more masculine.
As a result, the aim, whatever technique we are implementing, is to restore the facial oval.
As you move into your 50s, you’re really looking more at what I would call ‘structural rejuvenation’; facelifts, forehead lifts, eyelid surgery. It’s a more systematic approach, which is combined with maintenance treatments such as Botox and fillers.
Sun protection also becomes increasingly important with age – people think the damage has been done by the time they reach 50, but that’s not true. We damage our skin every time we go out in the sun and we have to work uphill even further.
Smoking, of course, is another big factor. There is hardly any point in saying you want to look good if you continue to smoke. It really does turn the skin grey and tired-looking, and I think after the age of 50 it is virtually impossible to be a smoker and still look good.
Scalpel or syringe?
As we advance in age, surgery has a more powerful role. I think there is an argument to say that one day there will be no need for the scalpel, but I don’t think that we’re there just yet.
Non-surgical intervention seems like the simple answer, and we all want a simple answer, but the problem is that ageing is not a simple question.
certainly do a lot more things
without surgery now than you
could ten or 15 years ago, but
I think you have to look at each
patient as an individual and
decide what will work for them.
For some age-related problems,
surgery is the only answer.
For more information and a
full list of treatments offered
at Cadogan Clinic, visit www.
cadoganclinic.com or call 020