Aging Gracefully or Anti-Aging?

By Leta Gail Doerr

There’s a fine balance between aging gracefully and looking older than you truly are. Most would agree that being healthy on the inside — by eating healthfully, exercising, not smoking, reducing stress, and most importantly sleeping at least 7 hours nightly — will result in looking younger on the outside. But when it comes to our face, the perceptions of aging and skincare are as vast as the anti-aging products and procedures available. Regardless of your own opinion, one fact remains; as we grow older, our skin thins and becomes less elastic. Collagen — the supportive tissue that helps keep our skin firm and supple — breaks down and it becomes more difficult for our skin to rebuild healthy cells. This change results in fine lines, wrinkles, sunspots, and a whole host of other skin imperfections that become more visible.

One of the first lines of defense against aging skin is often via a topical treatment. Any number of cleansers, moisturizers, night creams, and serums are available — each touting a focus on firming, softening, smoothing, and adding overall radiance to our complexions. Using the correct products for your skin type will most definitely help your skin to look its best. But topical products can only do so much, especially as we age and the skin does not exfoliate as well. This built up layer of dead skin cells prevents any topical product from penetrating the skin effectively and helping improve your skin’s health. Despite what the advertisements would have us believe, a topical product will not turn back the clock, eliminate lines and wrinkles, or stop skin from sagging. As you have no doubt noticed, gravity is not your friend.

If you’d like to try something that will give you more visible results than what you can get from a topical treatment, what are your options? There are a number of anti-aging treatments — including Botox, chemical peels, laser treatments and fillers — that are revolutionizing the way we manage the aging process. One of the newest anti-aging procedures that is gaining in popularity is micro-needling — also known as collagen induction therapy.

“The premise with micro-needling is that tiny needles are used to create controlled injuries to the skin to kick start collagen production. Further, these micro channels provide a perfect avenue for topically applied treatments to more effectively enter the deeper layers of the skin. As the skin’s repair process begins, and collagen regenerates, the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles are replaced by smoother, younger-looking skin,” says Thomas Rohde, MD of Renew Total Body Wellness Center. “The results last longer and the treatment is considered to be much safer than many others.”

The micro-needling procedure takes 15-30 minutes, and visible changes to the skin develop over the course of several days and weeks as the skin begins the cell turnover process. “Most patients receive a series of two to three treatments, spaced four to eight weeks apart,” says Dr. Rohde. There is minimal downtime — most people can return to work the next day. Everyone will see positive results, but these results will vary from patient to patient.

Platelet Rich Plasma
In addition to micro-needling, adding a process known as Platelet Rich Plasma, or PRP, to micro-needling, gives even better results. “Using PRP, a patients’ own blood is drawn and separated using a specialized process to separate the red blood cells from the plasma. Your concentrated plasma contains many healing factors that attract your body’s ultimate healing force to the area, your stem cells. The result is that we can stimulate your own body’s healing and repair mechanism during the needling process, by allowing these healing cells and factors deeper access into your skin through those micro channels. Further, if you elect, we can also inject the PRP into specific problem areas like under eye bags, deep folds, laugh lines and lip lines using specialized micro-cannulas. These deeper injections draw those healing factors into these difficult areas in order to create collagen in the most needed areas,” says Dr. Rohde. “By using a person’s cells, versus a manufactured agent, the process is better tolerated with no chance of an allergic reaction, performance is predictable, and the skin is often tighter and smoother than the micro-needling process alone.”

Micro-needling and other advanced procedures should only be done by a trained physician or technician. There is a risk of infection or skin damage from using at home “kits” or having procedures done by someone that isn’t qualified. Define your own beauty and decide for yourself what aging gracefully means for you.

For more information on micro-needling or other treatments, please call 217-864-2700 or visit Dr. Rohde is fellowship trained in Anti-aging Medicine by the American Academy of Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine. He is the founder of Renew Total Body Wellness Center and he practices a personalized approach to the evaluation of your body’s function to understand the root cause of your symptoms by asking “why” rather than just treating the symptoms. Renew Total Body Wellness is located at 3798 E. Fulton Ave, Decatur.