Audrey Beidleman isn’t one for sitting around. She prefers to maintain her trim physique with regular workouts and fitness classes. “I never thought I’d be as active as I am at 61,” says Beidleman.
But while she felt great, Beidleman didn’t like the face she saw in the mirror. “I hated that it was showing my actual age,” she says. “It may be vain, but I wanted my face to look the same way I was feeling.”
Beidleman is hardly alone. “People are not only living longer, they’re living healthier and more active lifestyles,” says Dr. Glenn DeBias. “So it’s only natural that they want to improve what they’re seeing in the mirror. Your face is the first thing people notice.”
As the medical director and founder of the Institute for Laser and Aesthetic Medicine in King of Prussia, DeBias can’t stop the aging process, but he can recommend a number of effective nonsurgical procedures to lessen its impact. “A shift has occurred from the old days, when it was ‘cut and pull’ to get that dramatic response on your face,” he says. “Today, people don’t want to do that because there’s a risk involved, and it’s something you can’t go back and reverse.”
DeBias recommends a number of incremental, noninvasive procedures over time. “Aging occurs slowly, so we should rejuvenate slowly,” he says. “Maintenance wins the race today.”
Beidleman made her first appointment with DeBias two years ago. To help tackle her lines and wrinkles, he employed ActiveFX, something DeBias developed in 2005 as the world’s first fractional CO2 procedure. It takes a mere 10 minutes to perform the laser procedure, which essentially resurfaces the skin, improving its texture and eliminating unwanted pigmentation. It also remodels and rebuilds existing collagen, which is crucial to regaining a more youthful appearance.
DeBias says the procedure feels like hot sand blowing against the face, though topical numbing cream and an air-cooling device keep discomfort to a minimum. After some initial swelling and redness, women can resume wearing makeup within four days.
“It’s like having a sunburn,” says Beidleman, who recently completed her fourth treatment. “The fine lines and wrinkles have improved. It’s lifted my jaw line, and my pores have gotten smaller.”
With ActiveFX, the heat of the laser on the face prompts a reaction as if there’s an injury to the skin. The body responds with collagen-building repairs. “It’s just enough heat to improve the imperfections on the face that come with aging,” says DeBias. “I do an average of 30 of these procedures a week, and I believe it produces the best results.”
Another heat-technology procedure, Pelleve also builds collagen. “The skin isn’t being resurfaced, so there’s no downtime,” says DeBias.
The 20-minute procedure reduces fine lines and wrinkles, and improves the skin’s laxity. “ActiveFX and Pelleve are the one-two punch,” he says. “Patients come in every six months for the ActiveFX, and then they come in monthly for the Pelleve for more collagen building. The younger the patient, the less they have to do.”
Botox and fillers like Juvéderm and Restylane are quicker fixes. “These procedures buy you time,” says DeBias. “They’re not building collagen or tightening the skin. They have to be done artfully, so the intended result is achieved.”
Intense pulsed light is another popular technology these days. “It’s not a laser, which utilizes a single wavelength of light,” says Dr. Victoria Cirillo-Hyland of Cirillo Cosmetic Dermatology Spa in Bryn Mawr. “IPL uses multiple wavelengths to treat many problems involving the face, from reducing redness due to rosacea to improving fine lines and helping diminish pore size.”
Another bonus with IPL: Treatments require no major downtime. That said, Cirillo-Hyland often uses two or more technologies—a technique she calls combination therapy—to help patients achieve a desired result with greater efficiency.
“There are so many treatments available,” she says. “Patients can choose what they’re comfortable with, in terms of downtime and the amount they want to invest financially.”
• 110%: Increase in minimally invasive cosmetic procedures from 2000 to 2010
• 18%: Decrease in surgical cosmetic procedures from 2000 to 2010
• 11.6 million: Minimally invasive procedures performed in 2010
• 5.3 million: Botox procedures performed in 2010
• $10.1 billion: Money spent in the United States on cosmetic procedures in 2010