Nick Lowe (Professor of Dermatology) gives expert video advice on: Does haemorrhoid cream reduce wrinkles?; What is the most effective non-invasive treatment for reducing wrinkles? and more...
Do anti-ageing creams work?
Some anti-aging creams undoubtedly do work and some work less well or not at all. It depends on the ingredients. The prescription strengths of anti-aging creams like RetinA and Tazarotene which have to be obtained through a physician, preferably a dermatologist, work and have been proven to work by a wide variety of skin testing procedures. They will improve the skin, reduce wrinkles, and tighten the skin, and improve collagen formation. Some of the non-prescription creams, including my own creams, contain slightly smaller amounts of those active agents. And they will rejuvenate, but they take longer and they will not have the same effect. None of the non-prescription creams will work quite as well as the prescription creams, but many of them will work.
What are the best anti-ageing ingredients?
The best anti-aging ingredients are really combinations of several ingredients. One is combinations of Vitamin A derivitive, which are known as retenoids, and these are often combined with ingredients such as the Vitamins A and C and E as a combination and a set of ingredients that will both rejuvinate and protect. What these agents do is that they increase the production of the outer skin layers, so they improve skin turnover and they make that skin production more normal, where it's been previously damaged by things like sunlight. They restore and reduce the damage that has been done by sunlight, and in additon they help to produce new collagen under the skin, so they both improve the outer skin as well as the under skin surface.
Does haemorrhoid cream reduce wrinkles?
Haemorrhoid cream may reduce a few wrinkles, probably by very short-term moisterization and hydration. That is, they plump up the skin which is the reverse of what they do to haemorrhoids, and it just temporarily smoothes the skin. It's purely a temporary remedy.
Are there any face exercises that reduce wrinkles?
Unfortunatley facial exercises do not help wrinkles, they actually make them worse. That's one of the things we discovered when I was doing the original research on Botox. Botox relaxes the muscles, the so-called hyperactive muscles, the overactive muscles of the fact that makes lines. If we reduce those muscles, it reduces the lines. I am not a supporter of facial exercises.
What can I do everyday to reduce wrinkles?
The best daily routine for reducing skin damage and wrinkles is a daily broad spectrum effective sunscreen. My own creams will contain sunscreen. Use that and replace that if you're washing or wiping it off. Use a good moisturiser at night and a moisturiser that contains some of the rejuvenating repairing ingredients that we've talked about. If you need, in addition, a special eye cream that contains the same ingredients, use that in addition to a face cream. When you're using your sunscreen don't forget to protect your face, your neck, your chest and the back of your hands and your forearms. That is, anywhere that's exposed because all of those will age.
What is the most effective non-invasive treatment for reducing wrinkles?
We have a wide range of non-invasive treatments for the aging skin now. And my message, both to patients as well as physicians that I'm training, is combine, combine, combine. We combine things like fillers to replace lost volume. We combine that with Botox to reduce overactive muscles that create lines. We combine those with lasers that will rejuvenate the skin surface and the areas below the surface - the intense pulse lights will improve the skin's surface. Radio frequency will tighten the skin. We've got some newer lasers now that both tighten as well as rejuvenate and heal very quickly, one of these examples being the Fraxel laser. So the answer is, combination therapy is the best anti-aging program that's non-invasive.
What is a facial peel?
Facial peels are sometimes effective for certain situations. They're very effective when they're combined with other things like creams, sunscreens, microderm abrasion and some lasers. They're useful for things like blotchy pigmentaion, very fine lines, and they're also useful for some peels if you've got acne and if you've got some very small surface scars from acne. My message with peels is to go to a trained professional who can show you evidence of their training because some peels, even in the best of skilled hands, can give problems.
What is a dermal filler?
One of the ways our faces age is by losing volume. We lose the subcutaneous fats, and that migrates. We lose the volume in our lips. Therefore, one of the ways we can restore that face is by restoring volume with fillers. Fillers are injectables of substances that plump up and replace that lost volume. They can be made of a variety of ingredients. The one ingredient most commonly used at the moment are the hyaluronic acid ingredients, of which there is about two or three reliable ones in this country. In addition, we have a variety of fillers that stimulate the skin to produce new collagen. This would be a filler called new fill. We're working research wise on a new injectable cellular filler that stimulates new collagen. There's going to be new progress on fillers. We do have a wide variety of fillers, most of which are good, some of which are not good. It's very important that you go to a physician injector who knows the skills in this area.
What is botox?
Botox is an interesting medicine that's injectible, and it basically blocks the release of a muscle activating chemical, so it stops the activity or it reduces the activity of muscles. It has to be injected into muscles into the face, and we can use it in the neck if you know what you're doing. That can rejoice what we call those overactive muscles. Some of the most common sites for overactive muscles are the forehead muscles, the muscles around the eyes. We can pull the mouths down with overactive muscles here and give ourselves bounds on the neck with overactive muscles here. So by selecting sites for the injection of botox, the trained specialist can actually target those muscles, reduce the lines, and it has been shown with recent research to actually produce facial rejuvenation. So botox can be preventive, or it can be a partial preventive for facial aging.
What is IPL?
IPL stands for Intense Pulsed Light, and it has the effects of reducing surface redness, surface discoloration - in other words brown spots, sun spots - on the face particularly. It could be also used on the neck and on the chest, although it must be used with very careful testing in those areas. It can also be used on the back of the hands. It's an alternative to some lasers. One of the problems with Intense Pulsed Light, or IPL, is that it's suggested that you get very few side effects from it. You can indeed get significant side effects, including skin burns and discoloration. And it's very important that you go, in my opinion, to a physician-specialist-led clinic where the staff are trained in the use of pulse light, and where we know how to take care of the complications.
What is laser therapy?
Some alternatives to IPL are some of the blood vessel lasers, the brown spot lasers, and the hair removal lasers. I find that in some situations, in some patients they work better than the IPL, and in other patients the IPL is more appropriate. In other patients I will combine some of the lasers with the IPL, so we mustn't forget the use of selective lasers. IPL is not a broad sheet for all patients, it has to be used selectively.