If there’s just one question on the subject that my patients often ask themselves – and me – it’s this one!
Whether you have already undergone aesthetic medicine or surgical procedures, or if you are considering doing so in the near future, it is probably something you have asked yourself. As a surgeon, you should know that – with your satisfaction and well-being in my sights – it is my main goal.
Injections, tensor threads, or a facelift… regarding the treatment of skin aging, how can natural results be achieved? And above all, what is a « natural » result? Is yesterday’s natural the same as today? Are some approaches, techniques, or procedures better than others to achieve this result? Is aging addressed in the same way for men and women?
To better address this, it is first necessary to understand, for instance, the aging mechanisms of the skin and subcutaneous tissues, their impact on the skin and face, as well as changing fashions and patient expectations.
The mechanisms and effects of skin and facial aging
From a clinical and anatomical point of view, skin aging can be divided into two: intrinsic aging – which is inevitable, unfortunately (!) – and extrinsic aging which is the result of a range of external, environmental factors.
Facial aging is a combination of these genetic and environmental factors and can vary considerably from one individual to another.
So, what happens exactly?
- The skin changes as a result of chronological aging and hormonal fluctuations. The production of collagen and hyaluronic acid gradually decreases. The skin thins, dries out, and loses tone; marks and wrinkles appear more easily. The subcutaneous fat atrophies and « migrates » creating hollows and, therefore, shadows (tear trough, temples…). Its texture changes. Under the combined effects of a decrease in dermal density, fat loss, and gravity, the face seems to sag, the folds are accentuated – particularly around the nasolabial folds – and the contours become blurred.
- In parallel, the subcutaneous muscle and bone tissues also age. The face muscles remain contracted resulting in the appearance and deepening of dynamic wrinkles (frown lines, forehead wrinkles, or the platysmal bands in the neck).
- Under the effect of repeated sun exposure, signs of photoaging and lesions can be observed: brown spots and more visible small blood vessels. UV also accentuates wrinkles and loss of tone.
- Chronic stress, an unbalanced lifestyle (diet, lack of sleep, smoking, regular consumption of alcohol), and pollution accentuate the effects of natural aging.
Overall, there is a change in the very nature of the skin, contours, and volume of the face with the loss or migration of fat and a tendency to « sag ».
« I don’t want it to show »
A natural result means restoring harmony to the face but also body and mind through a holistic approach.
For patients, it often involves correcting negative aspects – a severe, sad, anxious, or tired appearance – that do not reflect their inner feelings of well-being or vitality, or the image they wish to project and convey to their family and friends.
It is never a dramatic change. It must be noticeable… without being seen. And it is even more so the case in France, the cradle of the « French Touch », where it indeed means being the same but better, far from the stereotypical or standardized faces conveyed by American celebrities or social networks.
And even though the aging mechanisms are the same, every face ages differently. Following an interview, a detailed analysis of each face, and a comparison with previous photos, it is then possible to make the corrections or improvements to achieve a natural result, with or without surgery, or both.
A global, accurate, and individual approach
It is essential for me to get to know my patient and question them about their motivations and what the problem is. A trusting relationship must be established.
A detailed assessment of their face, both during movement and at rest, is then necessary. I will thus be able to identify the positive points regarding the expressiveness of their face, its charm, then the more negative points, as well as its morphotype, any potential asymmetry, and even small dominant defects.
It provides an overall view as a face needs to be treated as a whole to avoid the coexistence of signs of youth and aging, which can result in a somewhat unnatural, odd, or even strange appearance. To do this, we actually treat the cause (loss of fat tissue in the cheeks, for example) rather than the consequence (deepening of furrows), as everything is connected.
Analyzing a face also makes it possible to adapt to the needs of the patient and their specificities to keep as far away as possible from clichés to beautify and enhance each face individually and provide the right treatment in the right way.
- In terms of hyaluronic acid injections, small quantities can be enough depending on the area/problem, or conversely, it may be necessary to work on several areas to rebalance the volumes and restore radiance.
- In terms of botulinum toxin injections, a natural effect is a face that can still move and express itself, and positive expressions are emphasized (widening of the eyes, smile).
All this is only possible with excellent command of the techniques and procedures and a surgeon continues to train throughout their life.
Finally, in my opinion, an artistic vision is an intrinsic part of the profession of a surgeon so they can accomplish their work and guarantee a natural, elegant result.
A combination of techniques
If the treatment is global, we increasingly opt for a combination of techniques – a blepharoplasty combined with injections, peels with mesotherapy, or even aesthetic medicine to maintain a facelift, etc.
It is thus possible to act on the various components of aging, enhance the results of each treatment, and sustain the benefits.
Counteract the first signs of aging
The more we take care of our skin’s health, even from a very young age, with a suitable daily care routine, a healthy lifestyle, and avoiding sun exposure as much as possible, the more we maintain and protect its beauty. This can also delay the need for surgery, for example.
The search for something natural, subtle solutions for which the results are compatible with daily life has thrust aesthetic medicine and its non-surgical techniques into the limelight. Peels, injections, laser treatments… these « tools » help regenerate the skin, as well as prevent and combat premature signs of aging.
During the consultation, I will take the time to examine you and can recommend treatments or procedures adapted to your needs, your expectations, your constraints, and… your personality.
For a natural result you will like.