Medical Treatment of Wrinkles

There are 100s of over the counter treatment for wrinkles, including creams, lotions, potions, ointments and pills- some border on quackery and others are simply hoaxes. The internet is full of chemicals for wrinkling and it is hard to know what is real and what is fake. Without any scientific data to back up all the claims made by cosmetic industry, it is very difficult to judge the effectiveness of these therapies. In general, most cosmetic products smell nice but hardly have any medical benefit.

Wrinkling is part of the aging process and no one has been able to reverse or prevent aging. All present day treatments for the treatment for wrinkles are temporary- there is no cure for wrinkling. There are both medical and surgical options to treat wrinkling. The medical options are varied and albeit somewhat cheaper than the surgery-but in the end wrinkling does recur with both.

There are also some prescription medical products which may help treat wrinkling and these include:

Retinoids: These vitamin A derived products are probably the most effective therapy for wrinkling and a variety of other skin disorders. The products are available both as a cream and as a pill. Creams have to be applied regularly and for a long time before one may see any result. Sometimes, it may take months and years to see the benefit. All topical Retinoids can cause skin irritation, redness and peeling of skin. These transient side effects usually resolve as one gets used to the product.

Once the topical retinoid is applied, sun exposure should be avoided as it can worsen the skin discoloration. A sunscreen is an absolute must and must be worn for at least 6-12 months.

The use of topical vitamin A products is safe but all women of child bearing age should avoid pregnancy during this time period. The drugs are associated with birth defects.

Most individuals who use Retinoids claim that the resulting skin is much tighter, smoother and wrinkle free. The products are expensive to buy. Tretinoin (Retin-A) and Tazarotene (Tazorac) are the available topical Retinoids.

Chemical peels: The mildest chemical peels are alpha hydroxyl acids. These include glycolic and lactic acid. Both of these are available over the counter and have been used to treat wrinkling. They have to be applied for a long time-sometimes years. However, both these products are ineffective in reducing wrinkling and are not worth the expense and time. Most users of these peeling agents are unsatisfied with the results.

There are also stronger chemical peeling agents such as salicylic acid and trichloroacetic acid (TCA). These acids also have to be applied for a long time before any discernible effect is seen. TCA can also cause permanent skin discoloration and scarring. TCA in higher concentration also stings and may require some type of anesthesia during application. The use of stronger chemical peeling agents to treat a completely benign skin disorder is questionable as the potential to cause complications is always present. Even when they do work, they only affect the very fine lines on the face.

Antioxidants: Numerous other vitamins have been associated with wrinkling. Almost every cosmetic cream contains or postulated to contain some type of vitamin. All anti oxidative vitamins like Vitamin A, C and E have been claimed to reverse wrinkling. These products have to be applied everyday for years and only a modest response is seen in a few individuals. Only the very fine lines near the lips disappear. The long standing frown lines and creases nears the cheeks remain unaffected.

Camouflage: There are many products which can hide the finer wrinkles. None of these creams can erase the wrinkles. The products are expensive over the long run.

Cosmetic products: There are many cosmetic products which claim to reduce or reverse wrinkling. All the reports are anecdotal. Many of the cosmetic products contain a wide range of chemicals in small amounts. The usual chemicals include vitamins, anti oxidants and alpha hydroxyl acid. Because of the exorbitant claims by the manufacturers of these products and without any clinical data, it is hard to determine what their true value is. Like all things in life- buyer beware.

Because wrinkle treatment has evolved into a major business, read about the condition and understand what you have. If you really want to have treatment for your wrinkles, discuss this with a reputable dermatologist or plastic surgeon.

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