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Smoothing Out the Traces of Time

Posted April. 17, 2005 23:24,   


Flowers are blooming and you just went outdoors for the whole day. You look at the mirror and your face, which has been exposed to ultraviolet rays the whole day, looks terribly coarse. You take a closer look and you see small wrinkles by your eyes, nose and mouth. You ask yourself, when did so many wrinkles appear? Just as flowers that bloom unnoticed, wrinkles in your face also take place silently.

Skin Begins to Age from One’s Early 20s…You Should Regularly Use Sunscreen-

There are three reasons for wrinkling. The first reason is loss of elasticity due to aging. The second is the continuous retraction of muscles, and the third reason is pressure caused by weight.

It is difficult to prevent wrinkles that are naturally caused by the contraction of facial muscles as your facial expression changes. Hence, in order to lessen wrinkles, you should go on a diet to lose weight and lift some pressure from your skin to slow down the aging of skin.

Skin begins to age from one’s early 20s, and one can prevent skin aging from UV rays by making a habit of attentively wearing sunscreen.

Massage your face two to three minutes daily and softly, without using too much pressure.

When you look for solutions on the Internet, you will find various facial massages and exercises that claim they can “get rid of wrinkles.” Massages are supposed to be done in the opposite direction of gravity, so one can reduce the pressure of weight in one’s skin. In other words, you start your massage from the lower part of your face to the upper part. You start by massaging under your eyes, then move to your nasal area and come back to your eyebrow area.

Medical perspective, on the other hand, expects a different effect from facial massage. After undergoing a surgical operation, one needs massage around the area of operation. This is done to facilitate the circulation of lymph, which will help eliminate waste matter and regenerate tissue. Correct facial massage technique will facilitate the circulation of lymph and blood and infuse vitality into the skin.

Nevertheless, excessive massage will needlessly irritate the skin and cause aging. It is recommended to softly massage your face two to three minutes daily with the tips of your fingers. You should always use massaging cream to reduce irritation.

There are exercises using facial muscles that claim they will help people “lose facial weight and reduce wrinkles.” It is effective to get rid of wrinkle-causing habits such as frowning too much. However, if you consciously contract and relax your facial muscles too much, there is the danger of creating deeper wrinkles.

Inserting gold thread under the skin, and laser surgeries, are also becoming popular-

Recently, surgery techniques that insert plastic or gold thread under the skin, between the inner skin and the fat layer, are gaining attention. This thread-inserting surgery first started in 1997 in Russia and has spread to Europe and Japan. The French actress Catherine Deneuve is said to have inserted over 100 meters of thread throughout her body.

After topical anesthesia, a needle inserts a thin gold thread 0.1mm in diameter under the skin. New tissue grows around the area of the thread and pulls other skin tissue around it. It usually takes a “net” pattern of threads, one centimeter apart, to pull back the whole face. The results become apparent three to four months after the surgery and will last for five to six years.

Plastic thread with small spikes may also be inserted with the gold thread for faster results. However, inserting threads under the skin does not stop skin from aging, so another surgery is needed when the results are gone. In addition, it is difficult to insert thread where skin is not deep, so thread-inserting surgery is not used to eliminate wrinkles around the eye area.

Gold thread is used because it does not oxidize inside the body and there are few side effects. The surgery takes about an hour, and no scars are left. Nonetheless, the cost of surgery is quite significant, costing about 10 million won to insert three to four meters of gold thread under the face and neck area.

Laser surgery is also used to peel off a thin part of the outer layer of skin. New tissue will grow in the peeled off area. But this surgery is not suitable for office workers since one has to cover one’s face for about a week after the surgery, and it takes over 10 days for the skin to heal. Even so, the results are quite satisfactory, and it is being used often nowadays.

Collagen injections are convenient and free from side effects as well, but results only last for six months-

Wrinkles in the sides of the mouth, and wrinkles running from the side of the nose down to the sides of the mouth are difficult to eliminate with surgery. In these cases, collagen is injected into the skin after peeling off the outer layer of skin with chemical products. Collagen is a protein that bonds cells tightly together and amounts to 70 percent of the corium. Collagen rapidly diminishes from the body in the 40s and causes skin to lose elasticity and creates wrinkles.

Collagen injections are convenient and free from side effects, but after six months the body will absorb it and the results will vanish. There are other methods, such as placing artificial skin under wrinkles, which will permanently eliminate wrinkles.

One can reduce and prevent wrinkles by applying medicine to the skin. Regular applications of tretinoin ointment will recover the elasticity of skin tissue cells. For women in menopause, estrogen, a female hormone, in the form of an ointment is recommended. Alpha-hydroxy acids extracted from plants are also effecting in prevent skin aging

(References: Severance Hospital Dermatology professor Lee Gwang-hoon, Samsung Seoul Hospital Plastic Surgery professor Bang Sa-ik, Dr. Kim Won-seok from Kim Won-seok Clinic, Dr. Kim Jong-hwan from Mirae Clinic)

TK Sohn sohn@donga.com