Dr. Chandra Prasad of JCMG Laser & Vein provides his must-haves for younger, healthier skin.

The knife is no longer the only option for aging gracefully. Traditional thinking has always been, “When I look old, I’ll try to undo it with a face-lift or cover up my imperfections with great makeup.” However, today we can slow the aging process with modern interventions. You should rarely need to have a face-lift.

When I first evaluate someone at the JCMG Laser & Vein Center MedSpa for aging concerns, I always start with a thorough education of how the face ages. We always address three basic concepts with our patients: you must understand that the skin is aging, that the face is forming wrinkles from repetitive facial expressions, and that there is volume loss in the face. When you address all three of these issues, you will achieve outstanding results, but, more importantly, your face will be healthier. One of my favorite things to say is that healthier skin is more youthful skin.

Dr. Chandra Prasad

Four Must-Haves

I always begin a new patient’s journey in anti-aging by emphasizing healthy skin, and I have four “must have” products to recommend. The first is for protection from the harmful effects of sun exposure. Everyone understands that ultraviolet rays will cause premature wrinkling and brown spots, and an increase in the risk of skin cancer. Recent studies have shown that up to 80 percent of aging problems are caused by sun exposure, and newer evidence suggests that the combination of infrared heating of the skin and ultraviolet radiation is far more damaging than previously thought. Infrared alone will increase the redness in your face and worsen melasma in some patients. That is why I recommend that everyone use SkinMedica’s Total Defense and Repair Superscreen. It is the only protective agent that blocks infrared radiation, and, on top of that, it contains a proprietary brown spot reducer and zinc oxide and titanium dioxide to protect you from ultraviolet rays. It is, in my opinion, the single best sun protector on the market today.

The second must have is SkinMedica’s TNS Essential Serum. This product combines an industry leading 94 percent active growth factors with anti-oxidants, emollients, and skin smoothers. This product alone will strengthen and thicken the dermis, the growth layer under the skin. It has a 97 percent overall satisfaction rate with users at three months. I recommend this product to anyone interested in counteracting time — I feel it is the single best anti-aging product in today’s market.

The third must have is called HA5. HA stands for hyaluronic acid. It’s a natural water attracting substance found in the skin. HA holds moisture and thereby maintains the supple feel and healthy look of your skin. The real key is to have HA produced naturally in your skin. As we age, our skin’s production of HA begins to reduce. This will lead to looseness and irregularity of the skin surface. HA5 contains five topical products that will immediately leave your skin smoother and more hydrated, but the real power of this product is that it will stimulate your epidermis to produce more HA over time. This combination of effects leads to your skin looking better, but it also starts changing the epidermis back to what it once was.

The last must-have is retinol. SkinMedica’s Retinol Complex combines several products to deliver a superior result to retin-A alone. Retinol complex will reduce fine lines and wrinkles, fade brown spots, and leave the skin with a smoother texture by increasing the shedding of dead cells.

Fighting Back Wrinkles

Facial wrinkling is one of the most common issues patients see me for. When you make certain facial expressions repetitively, your skin will begin to form what I call “dynamic wrinkles.” Botox cosmetic will stop those facial movements and lead to a reduction in the appearance of the wrinkles. When the wrinkles are very deep, I remind patients that it may take several cycles of Botox in order to remove them completely. When properly planned and customized, your Botox will look very natural and complement your beauty. Botox has a very precise duration of about three months, and you must be diligent in continuing your treatment if you want to have the best results.

While Botox is a very common intervention for deeper wrinkles, you may also have other wrinkle and laxity issues. Depending on where the wrinkles are, I’ll recommend one of a few treatments. We have a variety of machines, such as lasers, radiofrequency devices, and Ultherapy, that can achieve tremendous results when used properly. Chemical peels are another great way to rejuvenate the skin and slow the aging process. Peels can be tailored to your specific needs such as tightening, brown spot reduction, and creating a fresh look to your skin for the weekend.

The last piece of reversing aging is replacing the lost volume from the face — this changes your face to a more flattering structure. As you age, fat will slowly diminish from various parts of the face. Common areas of loss include the temple area, cheeks, lips, and around the mouth. Unfortunately, this loss accelerates in the peri-menopausal years. Common phrases I hear are, “My face looks tired” or, “My eyes look sad.”

Cosmetic fillers frequently receive a lot of bad press due to celebrity misadventures. However, they can work — I always tell patients that the best filler is the one that no one notices. People just notice that you look nicer and more youthful. I use several different types of filler at the JCMG Laser & Vein Center MedSpa, but I always tell people that it is not a case of one versus the other, but rather using them all appropriately to give you a more youthful appearance.

Aging will always continue. You start combating it when you’re still young. But, if you start early and use the best products and procedures, you will maintain your youthful appearance and age as gracefully as possible.