Kenneth Beer, M.D. is a board-certified dermatologist and dermatopathologist in Palm Beach, Fla., and the director of scientificskin.com, an online skincare company. He is also the director of The Cosmetic Bootcamp, which trains physicians in best practices for cosmetic medicine. Dr. Beer is an instructor in dermatology at the University of Miami, and he is an A.B. Duke Scholar at Duke University. He obtained his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, and received his dermatology and dermatophathology training at the University of Chicago. Visit Dr. Beer's office at palmbeachcosmetic.com.
 
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Seniors and Cosmetic Procedures -- How Old is Too Old?

Monday, 03 Oct 2011 03:35 PM


As Americans live longer, they often remain active and healthy well into their 80s. Despite skin damage from the sun and intrinsic aging, many seniors want to look as good on the outside as they feel on the inside. More and more, they are turning to cosmetic products and procedures to accomplish this goal.
Fortunately, there are many low-risk options that are effective and perfectly safe for older folks.
Cosmetic surgeries that would not have been contemplated for an 80 year old in past decades are now an option because the 80 year old of today is healthier and can look forward to more years of active life.
One basic starting point is the state of health that a person is in. The more vital, fewer chronic medical conditions, lower number of medications taken, the more likely a person is to be able to tolerate a significant procedure. For a 75 year old that is thinking about getting his or her face lifted, if they have no significant health risks, I think it is well within reason to have this procedure. But it is important that the surgery be performed by someone who has done a lot of them in an environment equipped to deal with any situation that might arise.
Several of my patients have had facelifts, eyelid surgery, and neck lifts into their late 70s and they do fine provided they are healthy when they began the procedures.
Non-invasive cosmetic procedures are rapidly becoming popular among people who are 70 and above. One major reason is simple: Many older folks have been getting injections of Botox and wrinkle fillers for 15 years. They are now older and they continue to get the treatments.
Another reason for the upswing is that these procedures (which use Botox, Dysport, Radiesse, Sculptra, Perlane, Restylane, Juvederm, and lasers) is that their popularity is increasing across all age groups. This is happening because skilled physicians have learned how combine the procedures to get impressive results.
Combining lasers, such as the fractional CO2 laser, with fillers and botulinum toxins (Botox) can improve not only the surface of the skin but also the volume and wrinkles. I have patients in their 80s who routinely get cosmetic procedures done and they look and feel better than many of their peers.
Lasers are a key part of cosmetic procedures for mature patients. Many of these people have a great deal of sun damage in addition to their wrinkles. For patients of any age with wrinkles, I use either the Fraxel or CO2 laser. The Fraxel uses several sessions of light resurfacing during which a laser stimulates new collagen and skin growth. The CO2 laser is more intense and typically requires only a single session. The CO2 laser requires about a week of down time for patients, whereas the Fraxel only causes a few hours of redness.
Other lasers that we use in my practice can be used to treat broken blood vessels or brown spots. We often combine several lasers to produce optimal outcomes.
Topical products also play a large role in skin care for older patients. With increasing age, damage accumulates and the skin becomes less radiant. Topical products, used appropriately, can help reverse the damage.
There is ample evidence that Retin-A (tretinoin) can reverse fine lines and age spots. If one were to select a single product to use, this would be it. I have developed a line of skin care products to complement my office practice (www.scientificskin.com) that combines ingredients selected to help the skin stay hydrated and radiant. Whether used alone or in conjunction with procedures mentioned above, the products I developed will help your skin look and feel better.
Before undergoing any procedure, it is important to have an understanding of the risks, benefits, and alternatives. More and more seniors are interested in cosmetic procedures. Given the changing demographics of the country and the improvements in cosmetic products and procedures, I think this trend is likely to continue.
For more information from Dr. Beer on this issue and wide range of skin health topics, go to: www.palmbeachcosmetic.com.








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Monday, 03 Oct 2011 03:35 PM
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