“As we age, the skin of our hands becomes thinner, and you can almost see the muscles and veins underneath,” says Dr. Victoria A. Cirillo-Hyland, medical director at Cirillo Cosmetic Dermatology Spa in Rosemont. “This is a condition known as lipoatrophy, or loss of fat beneath the skin.”
Other changes in the hands that give away a woman’s age include unsightly brown spots and wrinkling. The sad fact is that your hands age faster than your face, unless you constantly wear gloves, as was fashionable in Victorian times. While people tend to be vigilant about applying sunscreen to their faces, they often neglect their hands, which are exposed to ultraviolet rays year-round, especially while driving.
“Thanks to newly approved products, it’s now possible to literally turn back the hands of time,” says Cirillo-Hyland, who recommends a combination of treatments using fillers like Sculptra and Radiesse, intense pulsed light therapy (IPL), and Pixel laser resurfacing. “In essence, you fill with Sculptra or Radiesse, you remove brown age spots with IPL, and you resurface with a laser to improve the texture of the skin.”
For years, Sculptra has been used for cosmetic procedures outside the U.S. Now the FDA has approved it for restoring facial fat, making it the first product of its kind for this condition.
Radiesse is currently FDA-approved for treating nasolabial folds, the “marionette” indentations between the nose and corners of the mouth that deepen with age. A safe dermal filler made of calcium-based microspheres suspended in a water-based gel, it works below the skin’s surface to support and stimulate the growth of collagen.
At Cirillo Cosmetic Dermatology Spa, patients typically receive one or two vials of Sculptra, and one or two syringes of Radiesse, to replace the loss of fat in their hands. Sculptra is a synthetic injectable material known as poly-L-lactic acid, which doesn’t harm the body and is biodegradable. Previously, it was widely used in dissolvable stitches and soft-tissue implants.
After the first treatment, the areas of injection may swell and give the illusion that fat has been restored. However, it takes time to gradually correct the loss of body fat in the hands, and further treatments are typically necessary.
If brown spots are present, Cirillo-Hyland uses IPL, which emits multiple wavelengths of light to treat the spots. Without damaging the skin, the light penetrates the subsurface layers and is absorbed by the blood vessels. The heat impairs the vessels, and the body begins the natural healing process. “We apply a cooling gel before IPL treatment to reduce discomfort,” says Cirillo-Hyland.
For the finishing touch, she uses the Pixel laser to restore a silky-smooth texture to the hands. Pixel skin resurfacing is based on the principle of microthermal treatment zones. The laser pulses trigger the skin’s natural healing process, stimulating the growth of new, healthy tissue. One or two treatment sessions over three to six months are typically required.
“Patients say the procedure is gentle, and they are thrilled with the results, which last for years,” says Cirillo-Hyland.
Another marker of time and wear on a woman’s body, stretch marks are visible reminders of childbirth and excess weight. Exercise and a surgical tummy tuck can “flatten” the belly, but nothing (other than a one-piece swimsuit) can conceal the road map of scars.
Cirillo-Hyland discovered a new treatment for stretch marks purely by accident. “I was treating a patient for cellulite and, in the process, her stretch marks were less visible,” she says.
After three pregnancies, the patient had unusually deep stretch marks. Cirillo-Hyland found that the radiofrequency treatment used to reduce cellulite helped, especially when used in combination with a laser designed to improve skin texture.
“It’s the best treatment for stretch marks I’ve seen in 15 years,” says Cirillo-Hyland. “The skin is never going to be 100 percent like it was before, but you’re going to have at least 50 percent improvement.”
The treatment is painless, but patients do feel heat. It takes up to three days to recover completely. “It takes from two to four treatments to get the best results,” Cirillo-Hyland says.
Unlike many laser treatments, this one is safe for women with darker skin, including African-Americans.
While the Main Line has no shortage of dermatologists or wellness spas, the Cirillo Cosmetic Dermatology Spa was the first to combine professional medical supervision with a whole-body approach to age management.
A Harvard and Penn grad, Cirillo-Hyland has been at Bryn Mawr Hospital since 1993. She opened her Rosemont spa in 1994 as a credentialed alternative to those without an on-site dermatologist. “I believe that skin care, whether non-surgical or cosmetic, should be administered only under the careful oversight of a dermatologist,” she says.
Cirillo Cosmetic Dermatology Spa also offers waxing services, makeovers, eyebrow tinting, permanent hair removal, tattoo removal, acne treatments, and a full menu of facials and massages.
Cirillo Cosmetic Dermatology Spa is located at 919 Conestoga Road, Building 2, Suite 105, Rosemont. Visit cirillocosmetic.com or call (610) 525-5029.
BOTOX (Botulinum Toxin Type A) Injectable muscle relaxant that temporarily reduces facial lines and wrinkles.
Cosmoderm (Collagen) Natural protein facial filler used to plump lips and wrinkles.
Restylane Injectable facial filler.
Juvéderm Injectable gel for correction of moderate to severe facial wrinkles and folds.
Radiesse Calcium-based microspheres that provide long-lasting fill-in for facial folds and wrinkles.
Sculptra Injectable poly-L-lactic acid used to replace lost facial and hand fat.
Laser therapy Tightens loose skin, improves skin texture, and minimizes wrinkles, scars, age spots, birthmarks, spider veins and tattoos.
Pixel A laser that creates microthermal heat zones, removing the epidermis and triggering new, healthy skin tissue.
Plasma therapy Stimulates collagen below the skin surface, improves complexion, and reduces acne, scars, stretch marks and facial wrinkles.
Radiofrequency cellulite reduction Promotes tightening of the skin on the face, neck and body.
Sclerotherapy Treats superficial spider veins.
IPL (intense pulsed light treatment) Reduces fine lines and pore size, improves skin texture, and treats pigment problems like rosacea, freckles and age spots.
Laser hair removal Permanent reduction of hair growth on the face, arms, legs, abdomen and bikini area.
Microdermabrasion Polishes skin to restore a fresh, youthful complexion.
Peels Minimize wrinkles, age spots, color variation and acne scarring.