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Perhaps you’ve heard the old expression: you’re never too young to learn. But, what about adults in their ‘40s, ‘50s, and ‘60s who want to reverse the remnants of bygone facial expressions – the repetitive folding of skin – that have created permanent and unsightly frown lines, forehead furrows and crow’s feet?

Well, opinions about using cosmetic facial procedures to prevent the natural aging processes are beginning to raise more than one drooping eyelid after an article appeared online in a September issue of Jama Dermatology, which stated that it’s “rarely too early” to begin the “conservative and thoughtful use of neuromodulators (i.e., Botox), fillers and noninvasive energy-based treatments.”

Dr. Kenneth Arndt, a Boston-area dermatologist and co-author of the article, said early injections of Botox can prevent wrinkles from ever forming in adults.

“If you slow down the use of these muscles beginning early in adult life, the lines never develop,” he said “Rather than going backward and fixing something that’s there, you can inhibit it from starting in the first place.”

Arndt, an adjunct professor at Dartmouth Medical School, backed up his statements by referring to a 2006 study involving two identical twin sisters, one of whom used Botox regularly for 13 years and the other who didn’t.

“The study shows pictures of them 10-15 years later and one has a smooth and attractive forehead and the other has the expression lines you’d expect with someone with normal aging,” he said.

Crow’s Feet Treatment Approved

Botox, made from the botulinum neurotoxin, was recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat crow’s feet, known scientifically as lateral canthal lines and believed to be the result of repeated muscle contractions over a lifetime. First approved by the FDA as a cosmetic treatment in 2002 for temporary reduction of frown lines – wrinkles between the eyebrows, also called glabellar lines – Botox has also gained clearance to treat migraines headaches, underarm sweating and eyelid spasms.

While the FDA approval was announced this month, cosmetic facial plastic surgeons have been using Botox for years to smooth the crow’s feet without the federal go-ahead.

The FDA announcement on crow’s feet came after a study of 833 adults conducted by the drug’s manufacturer, Allergan, Inc. of Irvine, Calif., in which participants were randomly assigned to receive Botox or placebo injections. Participants treated with Botox displayed greater reductions in crow’s feet.

Anti-wrinkle effects from Botox typically last four 4-6 months. Possible side effects include eyelid edema, a swollen eyelid resulting from fluid buildup.

Botox works by temporarily paralyzing facial muscles, making wrinkles appear less prominent. The drug is a purified form of the botulinum toxin.

Strong FDA Warnings

Labels warning of Botox also contain the strongest the FDA has to offer – a boxed safeguard – that says the effects of the toxin may spread from the area of injection to other areas of the body, causing symptoms similar to those of botulism. The FDA notes, though, there has never been a confirmed serious case of botulism from Botox when used at recommended levels.

But, even Botox has its limits and few physicians would advocate treating infants, children and teens. However, when frown lines and wrinkles do become noticeable, considering Botox may be more than a reasonable enough option to inhibit progression a decade later, according to some.

Others may not agree with altering their bodies to stop wrinkles in their tracks. Plus, procedures can cost around $300 to $400 or more per injection and may be beyond what a young adult can or should spend.

Personal appearance can be so important to some people that they will go to great lengths to maintain a youthful look. Whether or not you feel fit for Botox, cosmetic surgery – no matter how minimally invasive the procedure – should be a personal decision and not one made at the encouragement of family, friends or co-workers – no matter how well-intentioned they may be.

Quick-Fix

Botox and dermal fillers like Juvederm, Restylane, and Radiesse can reduce those lines or other wrinkles that you may have begun to see in the corners of your eyes, across your brow or around your lips.

Many of these products can be injected under your skin in less than a half-hour. The good news is the results can be instantaneous. In the time it takes to go to lunch, you can erase those unsightly signs of aging.

Allow a certified plastic surgeon to thoroughly review your medical history, discuss procedures and expectations, and give you an honest and objective evaluation of your appearance. To learn more about procedures that fit you, contact the Rejuva Center in Albany, N.Y., at 518-308-4119, or visit www.rejuvacenters.com to schedule a pressure-free consultation.

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